I have a new question to ask God about when I get to heaven: this startle reflex in babies, is it necessary? I'm talking about the reflex that occurs after hours of red-faced screaming has finally subsided into milli-seconds from silent slumber. It is the reflex that takes a temperamental baby from blissful contentment to snow-angel spaz. Of course, said child is now wide awake and resumes screaming. My husband was promising to buy my daughter ponies when I was a week overdue if she would arrive; some days I would find a bona fide dinosaur for her if she would stop screaming. I'm not talking a Fisher-Price, frog-green dinosaur or stealing a heap of bones from the Smithsonian - I'm talking about finding Jurassic Park, bagging a real one and bringing it home for 10 minutes of quiet time!
This is only the fourth thing on this parenthood journey of 2 months that I have been able to laugh about - something that has only recently made me realize why it's such an adjustment. Laughing is my stress release - it's how I handle difficult situations or uncomfortable situations. In these first two months, not much has been funny. People told me before Emma arrived that I should sleep when she sleeps. I would like to add that I also took it upon myself the first couple weeks (and periodically since then) to cry when she cries as well.
And then I'm reminded that this adjustment must be even more overwhelming for her. When we took the car through the car wash this past weekend, my husband affectionately told Emma that it would blow her mind. I can tell you without a doubt that it did. Her eyes were as big as frisbees and her whole body got tense. We talked her through it and she survived, but it really did send her for a whirl. That perspective helps when the screaming gets to be much.
The other three things I have found humor in were when my week-old daughter gave me the finger while nursing. Just what a struggling and overwhelmed new mom wants to see - a vote of confidence from the flopping, squirming, and have I mentioned screaming, set of arms and legs in her hands. I've been told it was involuntary, but I have seen since then a disconcerting personality trait of laughing when we tease her about harassing us on purpose...she's very aware of what she's doing I think.
Then, we had to use the jaws of life (scissors) to get her out a onesie that she had exploded into up the front. Let's take this in shocking pieces. 1) Poop everywhere. 2) Up her FRONT? 3) Cut out of her clothes. This was a two-person job and thankfully my husband was at home. I ran half screaming half laughing into the kitchen with a dangling child looking very pleased with herself held at arms length away. My husband ran to get the extrication device and another onesie succumbed to expelled baby fluid.
Finally, during another screaming incident (see the theme?) we took a walk to help calm Emma and hopefully put her to sleep. In true parenting style, this was our only priority - brief calm in the storm. We did not care to look at the weather channel or even through a glance to the sky. It wasn't until we had walked as far as we were going to go away from the house that we looked up and noticed the storm clouds directly overhead. Black, low to the ground and with some sketchy tentacles dangling. We immediately started wogging (walking/jogging) to get back home. My husband's knee was sore so he added a limp to his giddy-up. It went something along the lines of Wog, Limp, Scream, Laugh, Look, Wog, Wog, Scream, Limp, Look, Laugh. Emma bounced along, either screaming or silently laughing at her parents again or both, and Nick and I convinced ourselves of Worst Parents Status.
There are many things I would like to chat with God about, and I didn't expect that my earlier inquiry about why women have to go through all the changes of pregnancy so dramatically all at once would be so quickly supplanted by the vocal stylings of a little girl. I'm guessing by the time I get up there my list will be even longer and will probably just be answered by a sheet of gold-lined parchment paper of FAQ's. The really important questions get the face-to-face time. That's why I'm starting with "where are the dinosaurs and how do I get one?"