Thursday, August 23, 2007

Baby-Time

I'm pacing back and forth in front of Starbucks with 3-month old Lucas strapped to my front in the bjorn. "Sleep, baby, sleep," I'm chanting. It started as a lullaby but now sounds more like a command repeated over and over. The cafe beckons me to come in, take a seat, have a tea, get a moment to write in my journal, regain my sanity. I peek under Lucas' sun hat and see his eyes closing and don't waste a second bolting into Starbucks.

Of course, the jazz blaring from the speakers jolts him awake, so I am reduced to the automatic Mommy bounce that takes over at times when sleep or tears are close. Bounce, bounce, bounce, I go... rock, rock, rock, I go... as I pretend to peruse the sale items. Eventually, I feel his arms fall limp against me and know he's finally drifted off.

I make a beeline for the cashier but three people have annoyingly formed a line in front of me. Hurry, hurry, hurry up, I seethe at the lady whose complicated drink order has two of the barristas consulting. I growl at the inconsideration of the man who appears to be buying a drink for everyone in his office. Please, I want to scream, I only have a half hour.

You could set your watch by Lucas' half hour naps, and I take advantage of every minute. I am fully aware that I am one of the lucky ones, whose baby actually has some kind of rhythm and loves to sleep. My life is split up into roughly two and a half hour segments, in a pattern of feed-change diaper-play-wind down-sleep, rinse and repeat. The segments drag on incessantly, filling my day, one cycle after another, until I am standing on my porch with my babe in my arms doing what I swore I would never do... watching and waiting for Daddy to come home.

I've never had so much time in my life and I've never had so little. I horde my few minutes when he's napping, meticulously planning what I will do with them during our awake times. And I drag out the other parts of the cycle to fit the chores in. Fold laundry while he's on the change table squealing at the ceiling fan. Put him in the bjorn to vaccum, both of us sweating in the process. Narrate the mundane to make it sound interesting to him. "It's not hard," I tell people who ask me about new motherhood, "it's just constant."

Maybe I sound ungrateful. Here I have this beautiful healthy little one and I'm whining about the boredom. There are moments, of course, where I know I am the luckiest person alive. The moment when his face breaks into a smile as he transitions from sleep to wake just at the sight of me, the way he stares at me full of satisfaction as he chomps at my breast, the giggles, the tickles, the wiggles - of course, I love it all. But, call me selfish, I also love my Venti half-sweet vanilla African Red Bush tea misto when I finally get to order and consume it ever so carefully while my boy snoozes on my chest.

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