Sick Day: Just Baby, Just Mama
Some days, BabyC is a world-class climber, and I am her partner, spotting her in case she should slip on the crux move.
Some days, BabyC is a rock-and-roll drummer, and I back her up on the rice-in-Nutella-jar shaker.
Some days, BabyC is an explorer on an important expedition, and I am her support crew, carrying her gear and occasionally steering our caravan when she is tempted to explore the street.
Some days, BabyC is a scientist, and I am her assistant, giving her an extra hand when she happens upon the mother lode of Interesting Rocks and can’t carry them all herself.
Most days, BabyC and I are all of these things.
But today (and yesterday, too), BabyC is sick. On top of days of teething discomfort and fitful nights of sleep, she is running a fever, and we aren’t sure why. Regardless, BabyC has told me that she feels just rotten, and as if she’s not sure that I really understand, she keeps telling me, over and over. Today, BabyC is just a baby. Don’t expect more of her, Mama. She does not want to climb or explore; she wants to be held. She does not want to drum or sing; she wants to cuddle quietly. And she wants milk – as much as you can make, and then some.
By 10 AM, I am carrying BabyC around the house, feeling helpless. The dog is diligently following us and the cat is darting between my legs and then screeching to a halt in front of me. How is it that I have been up for 5 hours but haven’t yet managed to feed them? Furthermore, how is it that I haven’t yet had a chance to poop? (Don’t tell me you haven’t been there.)
By 3 PM, we’ve been to the doctor and back. Poor BabyC got cathed for urine collection, which sucked, but like most things, I think it was harder for me than for her. She’s finally asleep, and I feel like I’ve already worked a double shift of manual labor. Being Mama is hard work. Can I call it a day and go home? Oh, right, I am home, and this is what is here.
For today, I’m working on being Just Mama. Most days, I feel compelled to try to be more, but for today, I’m adjusting my expectations. BabyC needs me every day, but today she might demand ALL of me. It brings me back to those early days of her life, when I accepted the full-time job of Mama and let everything else fall away. That time was good training for days like today. It’s time to clear my mind of the clutter of the to-do list and the halfway-finished blog posts and just enjoy the extra snuggles. Today, being Mama is enough. In fact, it is everything.
The good news is that it is gorgeous out. Yesterday, I was lucky to get out for a long run by myself, in shorts and a t-shirt. And when I’m not sure what else to do with this fussy baby, I put her on my chest in a front carrier and we go for a walk. Our neighborhood is full of blooming crocuses and daffodils. There is nothing so hopeful as new bulbs poking through rested dirt.
When we’re on the other side of this, and my little explorer is ready to get back to work, I’ll be ready to back her up again. For now, she’s just my baby, and I’m her mama.