About two weeks before Birdie was born someone on Instagram commented on my choice of white nursery curtains, “you’ll regret white,” they advised (unsolicited, per the usual), “they will get covered in poop!”
I was 400 weeks pregnant, had poured my heart and soul into our nursery, and had no time for that negative curtain energy. I was livid. I spent the next week(s) muttering around our house like Harry from Home Alone totally put off that someone dare criticize my curtain color choice. THE NERVE. Maybe their baby just pooped on random things in their house, or had poop covered hands at all times, but not my baby! NOT. MY. BABY.
I think it was about ten days into new motherhood (or maybe it was twenty? I have no idea to be honest, time is lost on me now) anyway, it was somewhere in the early days when I was painfully exhausted. Birdie still hadn’t figured out days vs nights, I hadn’t figured out I should sleep when she sleeps, showers were hard to come by and even when I did come by them they weren’t all that enjoyable because good God the post shower took so much effort now- the moment I switched off the water I had to go in pad-and-cover mode or else the tops and bottoms of my body would be leaking and the entire point of the shower would be lost. If you know, you know.
Anyway, so there I was, hovering over Birdie’s changing table, holding her legs in the air ready to change her, when I looked up and caught sight of myself in the pretty little gold nursery mirror I searched long and hard for. I remember thinking to myself, wow, you look like death. And also, why in the hell did I insist of having a mirror here? The last thing I want to do is look at myself right now. It was somewhere in between wondering how I had aged ten years in only ten days and almost starting to cry because I really thought I might never sleep again when all of the sudden something shot from Birdie’s tiny little body. It shot long and far. And by “it” I mean her shit. There’s no point in sugar coating it here because no one likes sugar coated shit. It is what it is.
Into the air it flew, soaring a good 2-3 feet, landing just short of my precious white curtains. It missed them by a speckle, a speckle I tell you! The rug, the wall, the changing table, all of it was covered. Except my curtains. I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing here. Tears of laughter and exhaustion rolled down my face. I’d seen this kind of thing happen in movies, but I really didn’t believe it was something that actually occurred. BUT IT DID!
Upon hearing my manic fits of laugher Chris came rushing into the room, “Oh my God, is that?”
“What? How?” His eyes scanned her path of destruction.
I was crying-laughing so hard I could barely speak, “I don’t know. It just shot. All over.”
“How does something so little do all of this?”
We would later realize it was most likely the prune juice that did her in. I was breastfeeding and also drinking a lot of the stuff because of trapped gas thanks to my c-section.
I scaled back on the juice and Birdie scaled back on shooting shit. However, it did happen a few more times. But eventually we learned to never trust the first bowel movement, or rumbling fart. Always give it a minute or two before you go in for cleanup duty. And this, my friends, is some of the advice I always offer new moms. Never trust the first fart. Or if you do, make sure you’re fully protected before you unwrap that dipey.
I’m sharing this today because it’s the week of babies in my world. Several of my friends are welcoming new little bebes into their life. Some it’s their second or third, but for some it’s their first. And I know how hard these first days (weeks… months) can be. Great? Yes. But also so hard. The great moments and hard ones can (and do) coexist.
I remember resting my head on the edge of Birdie’s bassinet just begging her to fall asleep. Praying for her to fall asleep. Praying and swearing for her to just fall asleep. I would go to bed with almost crippling anxiety in fear of what the night would hold. “No Chris, let’s stay on the couch a little longer… we can’t go up yet.” Because “up” was bed. And bed was scary in those early days. You have moments when you actually feel like you’ll never ever sleep again. I blame that on a mind and body lacking sleep and sense.
But you do asleep again. Okay, new mom? If you need someone to tell you it will happen, I will be that someone. And sooner than you think.
And no, I’m not writing this because I think that just because I have a six month old I suddenly have all of this sound advice to share… lol no not at all. I’m just someone who wasn’t always sure I wanted to be a mom, then became one, and found myself loving it and struggling at it at the same time and wondering how is this possible? How am I loving something that is also so damn hard? I’m still not sure. Why do I sometimes miss the newborn days even though I fully remember trying to sleep hunched over with my head on Birdie’s bassinet? No idea. Nothing makes sense anymore and once you accept that the less your mind will stop bugging you about it. (Kinda.)
Except for the “lasts,” my mind will never stop bugging me about those… Because even though I knew her little newborn animal grunts and snuggles on my chest would end far too soon, the lasts of them still snuck away on me when I was least expecting it.
And when you happen to catch your reflection in the adorable little nursery mirror at 5 a.m. try to remember that you don’t look like death, it’s the opposite actually.