A long, rambling Post.
The One Where I Prove This Blog is Really For Me........
When Arun was a scant 3 weeks old, I started going to the breastfeeding support group at my hospital - it's offered on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month. It was a NoBrainer decision to begin going - the hospital is a mere minutes away, it offered a great resource for breastfeeding and general baby questions, it gave me the opportunity to weigh Arun on a regular basis, and most importantly, it got me out of the house. Over the months, as I watched mother after mother go back to work when her maternity leave ended, I realized that I needed to make some Social Connections while people were actually still attending. To this end, I started asking people to go Mall Trolling on the alternate Wednesdays. At first, this worked out fine because it was winter anyway and our babies were small. Then, as our babies got older, we started getting together on other days to allow said babies the chance to interact and exchange pathogens. Regardless of which day we are actually meeting, my friend S and I refer to it as the Wednesday group because we must lack some sort of creative gene, I guess. Anyway, when I first started doing all of this, I made a solemn vow to myself to not allow this group to become delicious blog fodder. And we all know what the very best, most delicious of all blog fodder is, don't we? The Snarkastically Delicious kind, of course. But I have fought the Good Fight and resisted temptation.
Yes, I have been Patient. And Good. To the very best of my Blogging Abilities. However, I'd like to post just this once, just a little. ........
The Wednesday group met at my house today and in all honesty, was one of the best gatherings ever. It was SO fun and such a DIVERSE mix of folks because in addition to the Wednesday group, I invited some people that I met through blogging....... Amanda (a regular commenter here who I met because of the Dearly Departed blog, The Rabbit Lived) was there with her son N. Bethiclaus (who I met because we both read Amalah) was there with her daughter Alliclaus (Rancid Tangent: Um, is it kidnapping if it happens in your OWN home? Um, like, if I just happened to maybe "accidently" stash Alliclaus away in a closet, do you think Bethiclaus would notice? Is that against the law? Seriously, that child is one of the sweetest, most delicious babies on the Internet. Check her out. I wonder if Mexican-Americans do the arranged marriage thingamabob like the Indians?? Arun's going to be on the Market before you know it. ) But I digress........Of the Wednesday group, S was there with her daughter A.... M was there with her son..... And finally, C was there briefly with her daughter, BUT she was actually there to introduce her husband R - she is going back to work full-time and her husbad is taking the reins. Yep, we have ourselves a SAHD in the group. Which is very awesome - it's sorta like when WASPs say "Oh, but we have a Jew AND a Lesbian in our social circle" to prove their diversity. Now, we can say we have a DAD in ours! Jealous, much?? Anyway, don't underestimate having a SAHD in your playgroup! In the span of ONE playgroup he showed me where I need to tack down some loose carpeting. So, yeah - it was very cool having a SAHD - he had the Dad's point of view on Parenting and the Husband's point of view on Everything Else.
Okay. Here's where I vent a little. Or a lot. Or maybe not at all. Whatever.
M is a bit of a Nervous Nellie. I have always known this and for the most part, don't really care. But this time? It made me feel uncomfortable for some reason. I mean, I am in my OWN home and yeah, it's not child-proofed to the hilt, but I at least keep the liquor locked up, okay? And yeah, I have some homemade toys around - lentils with rice in a water bottle seemed to really bother her, though. When her son was playing with it, she was quick to take it away from him. Um, NONE of the kids there today were in possession of nearly enough Gross nor Fine Motor skills required to get the bottle open. Furthermore, even if they did? Rice and lentils aren't choking hazards. And I do understand that most folks aren't comfortable with the babygate being on the 4th step, instead of the bottom, so I did move that down, at least. It's not the first time that someone, besides M, has expressed Pressed Lips Quietness at how I do things concerning Baby Safety.
I am very torn on the this whole baby safety thing. Maybe I AM too relaxed. For the most part, we have all toxic things locked/out of reach, we're child-proofing doors/drawers and we've stuffed most outlets with those plastic thingies (hello, Electricity!) but we primarily depend on good old-fashioned Vigilence. Arun goes room to room with me throughout the day. We have an open floor plan to our house that doesn't really lend itself well to any sort of Baby Confinement, anyway and since this whole SAHM thing is my Job, I don't mind having a Shadow. Furthermore, in some areas, I think it is SAFER to teach a child a skill under close supervision, rather than totally cutting off the Danger. For example, Arun is a Champ when it comes to stairs - he can safely go up AND down them. However, does he get free rein? Hell No. Make that a HELL NO. But, I do keep the gate at the 4th step with a pillow at the bottom so that he can get ample practice in the meantime. Is this where I mention that he fell once when the gate was still at the 1st step but he hasn't fallen since?
So, I am not sure why, but M's attitude today really bothered me. REALLY.BOTHERED.ME. Perhaps, babyproofing goes a lot further than just keeping your baby safe and that it taps into something much deeper ? A Mother's Worst Nightmare Come True? I do think that M would be surprised to know I am actually a very fearful person. I call it the Rising Paranoia in the Back of Your Throat and FUCK, it's always there. ALWAYS THERE. And as a mother, I see it as one of my primary responsibilities to constantly beat it the FUCK DOWN.
Folks, on a daily basis, I have to tell myself that everything is going to be okay. That my India-born husband is going to be okay even though he travels all the time and is subject to the Risk of Idiocy that comes with having Brown Skin and a Green Passport in this country. I comfort myself knowing that at least he speaks fucking good English and we have a Christian last name, as Curious that may seem (Christians? In India?!?!).
When I get in the car??? I have to tell myself that fatal car crashes are actually rare and how many people do I know that have actually been in one? One. J's husband - which still shakes me to the core. But to that end, I did buy the Ridiculous Carseat for Arun.
When I fly in an airplane??? God, I am afraid. Yes, I just typed that - the person who travels ALL THE TIME and has taken her 10 month old son on SIX airplane trips, coast-to-coast, thus far. Every time the plane TAKES OFF and LANDS, I do a bit of what I like to call Reflection and I renew my faith in God.
When I wake up at 3:00 AM for Whatever Reason and X is out of town??? I have to talk myself from the Ledge that tries to convince me that someone is breaking in to my home. And this happens at least once, every time X is out of town.
The Greatest Fear of All? The one in which ALL mothers are in possession? The fear of dying before your child even knows Who You Are?? Enter J's Husband. Enter my own grandfather, my dad never knew him because he died when my dad was a baby. It is one of the very reasons why I continue to blog even though I will never be a Power Blogger and I will never get tons of "Love you, love your blog" comments. I feel safe blogging because I know that if I DO die tomorrow, I can hold fervent to the belief that someone I know will print all this blather into hard copy so that Arun can see that while I appreciated a nicely executed Run-On Sentence, Good Sarcasm and Foul Language, that I did love him more than just about anything but his Daddy, which is saying VOLUMES because I love his Daddy A LOT. Actually, maybe it's even a tie between those two.
Damn, the list could go on and on and on regarding how fearful I am - I didn't even cover my paranoias concerning raw chicken. The point is, I don't want to pass these Fears to my son. The successful, productive members of our society are not Fearful People. People who are afraid usually accomplish not.much.at.all. I want my son to Live. And for that, I have to constantly stuff my fears deep inside. And I will keep the gate on the 4th step. And I won't buy the toilet lock. And I will hold firm to the fact that we have NO history of food allergies and that even though clams LIVE in the sea, they are not, in fact SEAFOOD. And I will continue to depend on my elbow to determine the water's temperature. And I will let him ride a bike. Someday. And I will get him a passport so that we might go to India where GODKNOWS what sort of germs might lie in wait and where for sure, carseats are not fashionable. And I might, just MIGHT, let him play football, even though I would rather he'd hunker down with some Harry Potter...............
So, this evening when I picked Arun off the floor to give him a kiss and immediately got a pungent whiff of cat food on his breath, what else could I do but laugh?
Frank Herbert, Dune
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.