Further thoughts on growth: I have my mind back! Well, for now. I can remember things, and expand on ideas. I can read books and contemplate their themes. I can imagine paths for myself, with different futures and adventures. I can make lists of things to get done, and adopt new routines. That last one is the real thriller. I can adopt new routines. I am not an old person set in her ways. I can bravely learn about cloth diapers. I can decide that his bedtime routine will look like that. I can remember that since he is napping I should go do xyz real quick and move things forward throughout the house. Keeping one corner of an eye locked on my baby I can invent new activities based on his increasing skills! Now that he suddenly likes the Bumbo, I can prop him on the counter and cut up things for dinner, hanging some links and a toy from the cabinet door above. These things may seem simple, but after the intellectual famine that is pregnancy (and the first three months of infancy, really) these realizations hold the same excitement as zero gravity. It may be short lived, but I am savoring it.
So in the interest of riding this train as far as it will take me, I have been scrapbooking, researching ancestry, reading thought provoking family blogs such as "Enjoying the Small Things" and "Lesbian Dad", both providing me with windows into lives that are different, but not so different than mine. For example, an excerpt here re: Baby-Help Books by LD:
"The “For Fathers Only” sections in the chapter “Postpartum Family Adjustments” made me want to chuck the book out the nearby window. Subsection titles include gems such as
“Keep the nest tidy” (duh!),
“Be sensitive” (what else are you going to be?!),
“Guard against intruders” (must use martial lingo! must! this is manly business!),
“Take charge of the siblings” (I say again, duh!), and
“Become a shareholder” (this is to remind Dad to actually hold the baby, yep, actually hold the baby).
Is anyone this stupid? Could this actually reflect any facet of reality? Don’t answer that! If the answer’s yes, I don’t want to know. Okay, one last look at the accident before we drive on past. From “Be sensitive”:
Dads, be aware of your wife’s needs. As one mother confided, “I’d have to hit my husband over the head before he’d realize I’m giving out.”
Don’t even let me get started on the “More Keys to a Better Marriage Adjustment” section.
The most articulate response I can muster to most all of the “For Fathers” material is: What the fuck? If I’m living in a wacky, Northern Californian, left-wing, feminist-liberated, queer-friendly haze, then lord love me and leave me there! Because none of that stuff, but none of it, would do anything but patronize and insult any men friends of mine. If it doesn’t, it should! And woe betide the wife of the man who is genuinely enlightened by any of this. "
YA! I am so surprised that we are still told to hold men's hands through this whole thing, because of course the implication is that it is supposed to come naturally for us. I'll tell ya, even with drugs, nothing about pregnancy or birth felt natural to me. I kept telling myself that this had been going on with women for as long as there were women, no need to panic... comfort provided? Um, zero. Now, thats not to say that it doesn't feel natural to many women, I'm sure it does. Caring for Ben once he was born felt natural to me, besides breastfeeding, which felt more like learning how to operate heavy machinery, or work a stick shift. I'm sure there are women out there who felt like caring for an infant felt like being a fish out of water. All I'm saying, is that we are entitled to the same learning curve, and men don't even have to do any of the beginning part. We all have an adjustment to go through, nobody's getting out of that.
My husband is one of those who thankfully, does not need to be taught how to roll up his sleeves and get in there. But I tend to be the kind of person who is going to hand it to him anyway, so if he wants to roll up his sleeves first, he better get to it. I absolutely do not apologize for asking for help when I need it, and I need it. Why be on a team if you don't want to pass the ball? Anyway, beyond that, he is a fabulous partner. He has his moments, when overwhelmed, as I do as well. When neither of us wants to do this anymore, and wants the other one to do it. Five more minutes, please, just five more minutes. Not perfect, but on even-ish ground here at home and I'm so glad.
See? Thought provoking. She gives me plenty to chew on, just like Kelle over at "Enjoying the..." and that keeps my thought-wheels turning and in that way, makes me feel healthier.
I have a book club that I make it to about half the time, but I credit them with making me read Maya Angelou! One of those books you want to take everywhere with you just so that you can look at complete strangers with that casual aloof "Oh, ya, of course I read Maya Angelou and never ever US Magazine" look. It used to be a total lie, but now its only a half-truth, as I actually DO read Maya Angelou, and love her! Now I can add her to Amy Tan under my list of authors I pull out when I want to impress someone and kick my tattered and dog-eared Twilight books under the couch. Movin' on up!
All this learning and reading- I only have four and a half more months until I am 30! Apparently I have quite a bit to fit into this last leg of my 20s.