I don’t like to admit when I’m wrong.
Before I entered the baby sphere, people told me all sorts of things. I took their words of “wisdom” with a grain of salt, as I do with most advice, instead knowing that our baby would be different. Our baby would sleep by herself through the night from birth. Our baby would never cry. Our baby would give smiles from week one, crawl at three months and walk at nine months. She’d keep herself entertained for hours and would never get sick. Our baby would not be an asshole toddler like most toddlers – and if she was, I could pretend she wasn’t ours. (I still might do this… I haven’t yet decided.)
These are the things I told myself as my belly grew and the panic took hold. How do you prepare for a child when you’ve never given thought to having a child?
You tell yourself lies.
Through these past eight months, there have been some truths to what people said, some surprises (mainly pleasant) and a new validity to life in general.
As one of my friends put it: “I feel like I’ve been sitting in a prison cell for the past eight months.”
“Except there’s no solitude,” I added. “At least in a cell, you can go to the bathroom or sleep whenever you want to. Can you imagine?”
Sercretly, I was horrified that prison sounded mildly more relaxing than my everyday life… no bills, no responsibilities, no hurling myself in front of inanimate objects, trying to shield my daughter from her own curiosity and pain.
One of the hardest (and maybe quite shallow) truths I’ve discovered is that our place has become a toy depository. From dog toys to Sophie’s toys, they litter our floors day in and day out, despite the colorful organizational cubes I have for them. Since we just sold her crib and bought a twin mattress to set up a Montessori room, I realized that the mattress is high enough that if she fell off of it, she could do some real damage. So until we can teach her boundaries, in addition to the toys, there are lots of pillows.
And once the toys started to flow, so did the dishes. We have somehow broken our no-dish-in-the-sink rule. And piles of laundry rule. And while Alex is gone all day, you’d think I would have nothing but time to make this place spotless. Yet, I don’t, and I shouldn’t care, but I do.
A cluttered home makes me feel crazy. So I am trying to adopt a new mentality, one that will keep me from going insane: surrender.
Since alcohol isn’t possible, I am channeling my inner Wayne Dyer and radiating love and happiness and the ability to just let go. I give love to all the plastic toys from China and the more eco-friendly ones from the USA; I salute the dirty Vitamix that gets used 45 times per day; I look at our bags of clothes and stacks of books still left to be donated outside our back door. I continually trip over them every morning as I try to haul Sophie in her car seat down to the car or schlep her and the groceries upstairs, where I always catch the car seat on a bag or a box, sending the grocery bags on my arms sliding down and hitting the ground in the process. (Why the fuck haven’t they made grocery bags that stay on your shoulders???) I always kick and side step and fight back the urge to scream from the top of my lungs. If only I could have someone watch Sophie for five minutes, so I could haul all this crap away and not have Neruda fly up and down the stairs with the speed of a hummingbird.
So, surrender. Yes, I must surrender. I try and remember this as I let go a string of curses every five minutes; as I look around and realize that while worrying about all the things to get done, I haven’t done anything. I try and remember to surrender as Alex walks in the door and I shout, “Thank God!” and grab a novel and a glass of water and sit down on the couch, where I may or may not move for the next few hours. (Bring on the awful reality television.)
This is my life, but this won’t always be my life. I will soon look back over this first year with such nostalgia, it will probably leave me short of breath. That’s probably because I will still be carrying Sophie around in the Ergo, long after she’s not supposed to be carried around.
For today, I am going to go play with my daughter. I’m going to pick up food from Native Foods and start on a delicious soup with all my new yummy produce from Fresh Picks for tomorrow. I’m going to work on relaunching reafrey.com so I can ramp up book publicity for Power Vegan and hope as many people will buy this book as Harry Potter (a girl can dream).
I am going to kiss my husband long and hard, because today is our three year anniversary. I am going to marvel at how I ever got through a day without him, and feel pleased that I won’t ever have to.
We are a team. We are a family.
And I love every second.
HONEY LEMON FACE SCRUB
While food recipes are great, sometimes it’s nice to shun expensive scrubs and make your own. If you have honey, lemon and some sugar, you can make a moisturizing scrub that will leave your skin clean and dewy in no time.
1 tbs. honey
1 tbs. sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
1. Mix all ingredients together until well combined.
2. Apply to face and work hands in a gentle, circular motion.
3. Rinse well and pat dry.