Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ethan Day

Old hat. Old pro. Been there, done that.

These are some of the things that have been said by folks in reference to the fact that I am now the mother of a fifth child. At first I thought it was just what people say instead of “Holy crap, woman, are you trying to populate your own island?” I would smile and pretend it was true, that I honestly knew what I was doing, and then I thought about it and realized it was true. I kinda do know what I am doing. It’s like stepping into a time machine when I think back 13 years to when Ethan was a tiny babe, to my fear, frustration, and inexperience. I remember him crying all evening, and bouncing him in an unnatural way, not really knowing what to do. I was going through the mommy motions, but I had a lot to learn.

And it was a really huge learning curve. In fact, Ethan believes that since I made all my mistakes on him that we should celebrate “Ethan Day”, where his siblings give him thank you presents for all they have benefited from by me screwing up on him so much.

So (now don't judge me) it is actually sort of good that Jonah is a “fussy baby”. I think if he weren’t, I might easily switch to auto pilot. I first noticed the tendency to tune-out a little in the first few days after Jonah was born (back before the “fussy” set in). It wasn’t that I wanted to ignore him, it’s just that nursing and tending a baby are as comfortable for me as an old pair of maternity pants (I am not back into pre-preggie clothes yet). I can latch a baby in the dark, I can change a diaper on my lap, I can nurse a baby in my sleep and not even know I have done it. I can do dishes, help with homework, fold laundry, and talk on the phone, all with the baby snoozing in a sling on my chest. I have been known to ask Guy in a panic, "Where's the baby!?", only to have him say, "Under your nose."

So, though I am sad that Jonah is hurting, I am finding myself so present for him. When he fusses, I want to sit in the rocker and whisper lovingly in his ear. When he squirms in a wet diaper, I get a kick out of changing him (three times in 20 minutes!). The other day as we got ready to leave, he emptied his belly in a giant splash on the floor (and my legs, and the sling, diaper bag, keys, sandals…). I laughed out loud, and took him to the bathroom where he properly finished the job just inches away from the sink, all over the rug and cabinet door. It was awesome.

I don't even mind our 2AM dances as I sing in his ear to put him to sleep.

Yeah, maybe we should celebrate Ethan Day, and give little gifts of gratitude to Adam, Ellie and Tessa for giving me the chance to hone my mama-skills. I'm not glad Jonah is uncomfortable, but what a blessing that I know how to help him, and can do it with some patience and humor.

Maybe I'll just send Ethan a thank you card. After all, we have yet to traverse the teen-age years. I have lots more mistakes to make!

1 comment:

Rebekah said...

I was cracking up because Ethat wants a day to celebrate him. I do have to say that my oldest sister would agree with him. I think that you are a good mom, and If every child was the same it would be a little boring.