The Dirty Truth about Parenthood

2 Mar

I’m totally frazzled.  My daughter is late.

No, no, not that kind of late.  She’s only 10 months old, for goodness sake!

I suppose I need to back up a bit to explain myself clearly.

When I was late (yes, that kind of  late) and unexpectedly got a bold positive on the first home pregnancy test I’d ever used, I began trying to imagine what parenthood would bring into my marriage.  After my first ultrasound at 9 weeks (despite my mom immediately spilling the beans which caught us in a tsunami of unsolicited advice), I began picturing my husband and myself calmly caring for a happy, peaceful baby.  She wore white, and there was lace everywhere.  Everything I imagined was pure, pristine, beautiful, and quiet.  We’re highly intuitive people, so naturally I thought that we’d somehow predict our baby’s precise needs before she was ever aware of them.

Then I gave birth to our actual daughter.  I’d expected to exclusively breastfeed with ease, but it became clear by day 4 of my daughter’s life that I would need to supplement, at least until my body recovered from my induction.  I had no idea what to do to get her enough food while preserving my chances of breastfeeding.  All I did was count wet diapers and count soiled diapers.  We first determined that we needed to give her a half an ounce of regular formula when she was 4 days old.  Within an hour she started screaming, and she didn’t stop until she pooped several hours later.  After that, we put her on Similac Alimentum formula supplements and I cut dairy out of my diet for the next 4 months.

At night she’d get fussy.  Looking back, I suspect she was just overtired, but she also had typical newborn digestive issues.  I’d do hours of tummy massage and leg bicycling/kicking to help her pass gas and poop.  Her “toot dance” routine had several fun moves and I made sounds to complement the choreography.  Starting at 8 weeks, some of the big kicks and squeals would get smiles out of her.  The toothless grins were cute, but I was more intent on clearing her bowels.  Yes, you read that correctly; I sometimes preferred my daughter’s poops to her smiles.

So much for intuition, quiet, and pristine white lace.  I had no idea what was going on most of the time, but my daughter’s poops and farts helped me to organize the uncertainty and chaos of parenthood.  At three months, when she began pooping thrice every few days, our life came to revolve around her pooping schedule.  Before going out alone to grocery shop, I’d let my husband know if we were on A New Poop, The Poop Strikes Back, or Return of the Poop.  He was terrified of being left alone with an impending bowel movement, so I’d try to plan our shopping schedules accordingly, and had emergency dinners planned just in case.  Our cloth diaper laundry schedule revolved around her pooping schedule, so all other laundry had to be squeezed in between her trilogies.  We started solids at around 6 months, and she began pooping daily.  First during her 6:00 pm bottle, which often meant I was making dinner and my poor husband was left alone with near-certain poop.  But now, at 10 months old, she poops in the morning, with an occasional late afternoon poop.  I blame this  “irregularity” on her recent teething.  I don’t run errands until that morning poop has arrived, and today it’s hours late.  My whole day is thrown off and I’m caught in a Poop 22; we’re out of Greek yogurt, her normal brunch, which she’d normally eat an hour ago, but I can’t go to the store until the poopocalypse has passed.  Buying my first pregnancy test between bouts of nausea was infinitely easier than buying this tub of yogurt.

So this is what motherhood really is.



One Response to “The Dirty Truth about Parenthood”

  1. amberperea March 2, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

    I used to have to time my errands around projectile vomiting after meals when my son was that age. So, yes, the reality is a bit messier than the fantasy. 😉

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