Heaven is …

my husband rubbing my neck while I enjoy Dooce archives.

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The miracle of Thanksgiving

Chris, Max, and I went to my parents’  house in Longview, TX, for Thanksgiving. It’s roughly a four and a half hour drive from our house in Austin, but it can easily balloon to five and a half or even six when traveling with a baby. Max is still eating every three hours, but luckily, we are able to give him bottles on the road. We usually manage to make the  trip with only one stop for a feeding.

However, there was an unscheduled stop in Jacksonville, TX. Max had been fussy in the car, due to boredom and the sun getting in his eyes at times, despite my best efforts to shield them. I finally got him to sleep just as we got to Jacksonville, after many hummed renditions of Brahms’ “Lullaby”.

I was just about to tell Chris how Max had fallen asleep with one of his legs in the air when I noticed something protruding from his diaper. You see, lately, Max has started pooing only once a week. (We have told our doctor and it’s nothing to worry about.) While it is nice to have so few poopy diapers, there is usually a copious amount once the poop does land. Of course, he waited for his weekly poop until we were on the road in East Texas. Add to this the fact that we were not expecting another weekly poop, because he had just had one on Monday.

So, I took a closer look at the substance protruding from the diaper. It was getting dark out, but the light from the IPhone revealed that there was poo oozing from the diaper. Due to the fact that he had fallen asleep with his leg in the air, it had not soiled his outfit or the carrier. Also, I would not have seen it otherwise and I couldn’t smell it for some reason.

Horrified, I stage-whispered to my husband, “Hey, Chris, there’s poop coming out of his diaper!” Due to the semi-calm whispering tone of my voice, my husband at first was unsure about the urgency of the situation. We were soon in the parking lot of the post office, grossing out unsuspecting folks dropping off their holiday mail.

The only reason I can think of that my son would fall asleep in such an unprecedented position, thereby allowing us to save his outfit, his carrier, and our sanity on that long, cold drive is The Miracle of Thanksgiving. So, all ye citizens of Jacksonville, TX, take heart. When you smell that weird odor still lingering around the post office, you are actually getting a whiff of true holiday magic.

OCDisastrous

Since my teens, I have had a touch of OCD. Well, maybe more than a touch, but fortunately, not the level of Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets. I am able to control it when I want to (while going crazy inside 😉 ), but only to a certain extent.

It started in high school and escalated during my super-neurotic, overachiever state in college. I had to check all of the door locks every night in a certain order. Luckily, we had a small apartment with only two doors, which were in the same room. I hadn’t yet progressed to checking windows and the stove and oven yet. However, I spent an inordinate amount of time checking those two doors. No matter how long I stared I could not convince myself that the damn doors were as locked as they were going to get. Finally, I would convince myself that I could believe my eyes (I’m not really sure how long that took, but it was about the same amount of time every night.) and go to bed.

This continued even after I moved into an apartment of my own with chains and security bars on the door. (Hey, I lived in a college town. Those are candy stores for predators. I’d already caught a Peeping Tom at my bathroom window.) By then, I had started checking the windows. (Yes, Dad, this is what happens when you tell your children too many stories about how every stranger they see is a potential kidnapper. How even the seemingly harmless older couple across the street could be kidnappers and you should never, ever even make eye contact with anyone you don’t know, because you might disappear forever and meet some horrible fate.)

Now that I am living in a house with my husband and child, my routine runs a bit more smoothly. I do check everything, but I only do it once (most of the time). However, I have added a few weird things. For instance, I always check my husband’s deodorant bottle and container of hair product every morning to make sure he has put the lids back on properly. (I don’t want the cats getting in and eating any of that stuff.) However, I am also a multi-tasking mommy these days. I attempted to check the deodorant a couple of mornings ago while also brushing my teeth and moving my compact. (All after about a month of not really sleeping.) Of course, on that one morning, the lid wasn’t on all the way. The deodorant fell, knocking the compact on to the floor, causing me to take both the Lord’s and his Son’s names very much in vain. Blasphemously in vain. Noting that my prayers might get through faster if I would stop insulting two out of the Big Three, I apologized and prayed that my son hadn’t woken up. He hadn’t. Thank God. (And I say that respectfully.)

You’d think I would have learned my lesson from that incident. Oh, no. Yesterday (Again while Max was napping. I get in to so much mischief when he naps.), I just had to make sure the top was securely on the Tupperware container containing the previous night’s brisket, which was now my lunch. I tested it once. Not good enough. Twice. Still not good enough. A third time. The top flies off and the bowl skitters toward the microwave. I meekly replace the lid and put it in the fridge. No more checking. No more blaspheming. My son stayed asleep. I guess I am learning to let go of my fears and neuroses after all. A few more accidents should cure me completely.

The TV is your friend

That whole “no screen time for children under 2” thing? Not workin’ for me. Luckily, I talked to my mother-in-law on Wednesday and she said she let my husband watch lots of TV when he was little. Actually, she thinks that’s why he learned to talk so soon. He is super-smart and definitely not a TV addict, so I feel much better now about letting Max stare for a few minutes here and there while I take a breather.

Baby vigilante or tit for tat

One night last week, my husband was walking around with Max, trying to put him to bed. Suddenly, I hear a cry from said husband, whether of pain or alarm or both, I’m not sure. Since I am a new mom and half asleep, I immediately overreact saying, “What? What???”, sure that the baby has launched himself backwards out of his father’s arms and landed on the floor. I look up to see my husband’s grimacing face and my son’s tiny fist, the nails of which were overdue for a trim, clenched firmly around his father’s nipple. My poor husband probably has some idea now of what it is like to breast-feed at the beginning. Not only that, but it was my son’s first attempt at a “purple nurple.” (Not sure about the spelling of that.) My brothers would be so proud.

Lucky little boy

I am so, so grateful that my son has a wonderful father who will be there for him his whole life. My father left when I was 13 and was never really around after that. In fact, he was never really around before he left. He was usually on business trips and when he was home, he was either asleep or locked in the bathroom. Or we wished he was asleep or locked in the bathroom.

Due to those experiences, one of my goals in life was to make sure my children had a father they could depend on. I know children can do fine without a father. My mother is one of the best women on earth, maybe THE best, and I marvel more and more everyday (especially since I’ve had my own child) at the bravery and sheer guts she displayed in striking out on her own and taking care of us. Luckily, she was only on her own a few years before my stepdad showed up, but she sacrificed a great deal for us before and after her remarriage and I will be forever grateful. Due to that example, I knew children could be great with a single parent and I might have gone that route if I had had to wait much longer for my husband.

Fortunately, my Prince Charming came along and now I have my beautiful baby boy. I finally have everything I really wanted (except possibly more kids, but we’ll wait a couple of years at least before we do anything about that). My baby boy has a terrific daddy AND he gets to have my mom for a grandmother. And those two are not the only wonderful family members he has. I think my son is set. (No pun intended.)

Super-Husband

I swear my husband can do everything. Everything. The only things I have discovered that I can do that he can’t are give birth and breast-feed. I am also better at planning meals and shopping. That’s it. I swear. He either knows how to do everything or he figures it out, seemingly effortlessly. He removes a poo stain from a onesie as effortlessly as he mows a lawn or installs a new garbage disposal. He is Super-Husband.

You’re thinking, “This is wonderful, right? This can’t possibly bother her, right?” Well, it doesn’t exactly. I just start to feel a little superfluous sometimes. I mean, there are ways to have babies without a wife. There are ways to feed a child without a wife. What it boils down to is – what the heck am I bringing to this relationship? Especially when I am so difficult to deal with sometimes??? I am so grateful for him and everything he does and I love him so much, but is that enough? Does a super-husband need a super-wife? What is my superpower?

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