Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Baby Days

I wake to the sound of Betsy grunting and squirming. I've learned that these are like a ticking time bomb. If she isn't fed soon, she'll explode into squawks, then red-faced screams.

I lift Betsy from her cradle in the corner and carry her back to bed with me. She's wrapped like a burrito, and we're both a bit milky and damp. Crawling back into bed is just exactly what I want each morning, and now a hungry baby gives me good reason. We snuggle down together, and I watch Betsy's sincere, intent face as she has her breakfast, her cheeks chugging away.

After breakfast, Betsy gets  a fresh diaper and outfit. Which she probably poops on immediately. I change her. If she's fussy, I hold her. If she's hungry again, I feed her. If she becomes calm and opens her eyes, I am distracted by her. Soon it's noon and I've barely gotten my teeth brushed.

By the time the kids come home from school, Betsy's becoming a bit grumpy. The world she now lives in is a big, overwhelming place. Actually, she and I both tend to frazzle by the end of the day. I hold and jiggle her as I supervise homework and play dates. The kids, some of whom have become skilled swaddlers and jigglers, take turns holding the baby. But a truly incensed baby is beyond their skill, and after a few minutes I have to step in. I soothe and bounce Betsy back to sleep. As soon as I set her down, another kid snatches her up and then she's fussing again. I'd love to close out the whole world and just hold my baby all afternoon. I'd also love to set her down for more than ten minutes at a time.

Until today, I've had the luxury of doing all this while Grandma makes dinner and gives the other kids attention. Mark's mom flew home this morning after a whole week of spoiling the kids with eclairs, ambrosia, and cheesecake--actually those were all in one day. The newborn visits from our moms always make for sweet memories. And they remind me how lucky Mark and I are. Our mothers each had six children and taught us to love, nurture,  and enjoy each new life in our family.

Today I decided to make rolls for dinner. I thought I was so smart by starting them in the early afternoon before the kids got home and while Betsy was relaxing in her swing. Moments after I began the rolls, she started to cry. I wrapped myself in the Sleepy Wrap I borrowed from a friend and inserted Betsy. In my haste, I had wrapped the whole thing a bit too high and tight. No matter, I thought. Until Betsy leaned back her head to scream and we ended up face to face. And that's how I made the rolls. With a tiny banshee screaming in my face.


  1. Those "ticking time bomb" moments are why I can't sleep with a baby in my room. I actually prefer not to know it's coming until they're in full banshee mode.

    But yours is the cutest banshee I've ever seen. I adore the shape of her bellowing mouth.

  2. IT's a good thing she's so dang cute then!:)

  3. This sounds just like a post I wrote when my boy was newborn! Except he was my only so I was able to indulge in those wonderful cuddle moments....I'm with you on wanting to catch the baby before the timebomb goes off full blast...

  4. And a beautiful banshee she is.

    Lucky to be able to nurse horizontally. It gives me problems if I do. Lucky for me, I have mastered the art of sleeping while sitting up in my rocking chair.