Sunday, January 15, 2012

When putting on a clean pair of sweatpants is considered victory.

I used to be a high heel-wearing, tequila-drinking, fishnet-rocking, mohawk-styling derby mama. And the sheer velocity with which I downshifted to parenting a newborn has given me whiplash. The night we got the call from Child Protective Services asking if we could take a placement in the morning, I was on the deck of a sushi bar cracking a third bottle of wine. We finished our sushi, toasted our new arrival and drove home. We got a ladder from the shed and went up to the attic, dragging out garbage bags of baby stuff and doing load after load of laundry. I crawled into bed at 2am, bleary eyed, for a few hours of sleep. Now, it's nothing like giving birth - I will give you that - but I can promise you I was a bit worse for the wear the next morning.

And then, suddenly, I was handed a 2 day old infant.

We have spent the last 4 weeks together, this beautiful child and I.....he asleep on my chest or wiggling in my arms or pooping on my couch, while I have struggled to get my bearings. It's been a while, and frankly there are a lot of things I can't remember about newborns. Because I have not had the benefit of 9 months to read every parenting book cover to cover so that I am fully aware of what to be expecting, I find myself with new questions and challenges every day.

The first thing I need to know is, how long after bringing home a newborn do you stop feeling like you have the flu? New parents, back me up here.... your body clock is all screwed up, you are always tired and disoriented, your eyes ache and your arms feel heavy and your back and neck are sore from sleeping in weird positions. You haven't eaten a regular meal with utensils since the new arrival, and the idea of wearing anything dressier than sweatpants is incredibly unappealing, if not impossible. Driving is ill-advised, but how else are you going to buy more diapers or find wipes that won't cause a rash or see another adult who wants to talk about something - anything - other than feedings and poop?

I wasn't expecting to be quite so tired - it was a total surprise. I always attributed new parent fatigue to birth and breastfeeding, but it turns out that you don't have to possess a functioning uterus to feel like you got hit by a truck while caring for a newborn. As a foster parent, I supposedly came into this role fresh as a daisy, rested and fed and watered and ready - and I am a total mess. I have been in a pair of ratty yoga pants and a tank top for four weeks straight. Embrace the post-partum, that's what I say. Even if you didn't have anything to do with the partum-ing.

But today I am taking control.
I am putting on a clean pair of sweatpants, and making myself a hot meal and eating it with a fork.

That's right. You heard me.
A fork.

I am totally rocking this parenting gig.

No comments: