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Good Stuff #3: Grandmas, Biological and Otherwise

8 Jul

Grandma Lewis

If it weren’t for the fact that Seabass’ Grandma Lewis is in town right now, I may have been found under a bridge somewhere with a shopping cart and a pet rat, claiming I shot JFK.

Today is a tough day following yesterday’s tough day – and the cumulative toughness is getting to me.  But it’s not getting to Grandma Lewis.  In fact, I don’t think she even registers toughness.  Seabass can cry in her ear from sunup to sundown and she takes it in stride.  “His crying doesn’t bother me,” she says.  I swear she’s a lunatic, but I’ll take it.

This is her first grandbaby, so the lengths to which she’ll go for him are really something.  Earlier today, I had to hand the wee screaming C off to her in order to prepare a slap-dash lunch for friends coming over.  She picked him up and the yelling traveled from the kitchen back to his nursery where it trickled down to a bare whimper and eventually to silence.  A few moments later, I walked back to witness her trick for quieting him and found her bending at a back-breaking angle over the crib to let him suck her knuckles.  I think she would have kept doing it so long as he would have kept sucking.  Apparently, she was more than happy to do it.  Almost like it was a privilege.

It’s still difficult to picture myself as a mother, so imagining myself as a grandmother is nearly impossible.  But I see in both Grandma Lewis and Oma Johnson an insanely high threshold for pain that appears to be biologically specific only to grandmothers.  When Oma Johnson stayed with us for 3 weeks in June, she was up and at ’em every time Seabass so much as blinked funny.  (I’m pretty sure she could hear him blink, even on the baby monitor.)  “Mom, don’t worry about it – I’ll go,” I’d say.

“You sit.  I’ll handle this.”  And then she’d sashay off to coo and rattle cute nonsense into Seabass’ ear while I was left to eat my flavorless breastfeeding gruel or whatever in silence.

Oma Johnson

It’s not just biological grandmothers who have this super-human endurance, though.  A dear friend who lives two doors down and is like a second mother to me just loves – LOVES – baby C and will walk up and down the street with him for hours just so Jake and I can have an adult conversation that doesn’t cover the color of the baby’s poop for once.  One time she did this up and down the alley next to our house for 30 full minutes while C  let loose with a full-forced, purple-faced, tongue-waggling shriek, just so we could eat a meal in peace.  “Did his crying bother the neighbors?” I asked after she returned.

“Nah,” she said, shooing us with her hand, as though we were crazy to be bothered by infant death screeches.

The next day, one neighbor asked what I was eating to make C cry like that.  Another shared that they had to turn their TV volume to the maximum to drown out his crying.  So much for walking the alley.

But that’s just it: the grandmas don’t care.  It’s like they don’t hear it.  Seabass could be Rosemary’s baby, and they’d all find him charming and “feisty.”

All I have to say is thank goodness.

Good Stuff #1: HUSBAND

1 Jul

I have a single friend who recently revealed that she is thinking about having a baby via a sperm bank donation.   At the time she told me, I was still pregnant.  I hadn’t yet experienced any of parenthood’s highs and lows. I think my response to her at the time was nothing more than a hearty good luck and a smile.

Just two weeks into motherhood, though, I called her up and had her come over under the guise of showing off the baby.  My real motive, however, was to exhort her not to go forward with the sperm bank plan.  And why?  Because having a baby without a father is downright kamikaze.

Although I’ve always believed that children need the love and security of both a mom and a dad, practically speaking, if it weren’t for the love and security Jake has shown toward me, lil Seabass may have ended up on someone’s doorstep by now.

Hyperbole, of course.  Mostly.

I’ve had Seabass alone during the day for about three weeks now, and I can’t describe the sense of relief I have when Jake comes home from work.  The sound of his key in the lock at 5:30pm heralds the first full breath I take all day.  It means that the baby will calm down in new, different arms and hear a new, lower voice.  It means there will be fresh energy restored to our home.  It means there will be a shoulder to cry on when I’m bouncing on the exercise ball and trying to breastfeed but Seabass just refuses to eat.  And it means there will be new ideas to try when every response to “WHAT NOW?!?” has been worn to the nub.

So, I gave my whole opinion to my crazy friend, half expecting her to look at me askance and ask when I’d become June Cleaver.  But she didn’t.  She sincerely thanked me for the tip.

It may have had something to do with the fussy, grunting, back-arching Seabass in my arms.  Just a guess.