I just got done singing my entire arsenal of semi-appropriate songs to a two year old who was refusing to sleep. I start out with "Where have all the flowers gone" and then "Baby mine" from Dumbo. I rounded it out with "Natural Woman" -the Carole King version- which is strangely applicable to our whole trying-to-get-pregnant-but-getting-a-bit-crazy-instead experience in a particularly melodramatic way.
Shit, I would have done the entire Tapestry album if it meant that kid would go to sleep. And never in my life have I been asked to sing. I am...not very good. But tonight I got many "More songs, mama." Poor kid, doesn't know any better.
For a very long time, I didn't think I wanted to have kids. I felt no impulse to breed, I had a nervous feeling around babies, and wasn't much more comfortable around the older versions either. I don't know what changed when. Timmy and I had been together for nearly a decade by the time we got around to even think about trying. And pretty soon, trying became a huge part of my life (not like that, guys!...well, a bit like that), so much of my brain space was dedicated to thinking about getting pregnant, why I wasn't getting pregnant, what was wrong with me, maybe I didn't deserve to have a child, maybe I was a bad person, maybe I am being punished for something and and and...oh the crazy-making spiral.
And then, and then I was pregnant. And spent a good portion of nine moths wondering what version of horrible mother I was going to be.
But that didn't happen. Now, I am not saying I am the best mother, there are nights when I completely refuse to eat dinner at the table. And on hot, hot summer days, I would rather we watch a million hours of television before taking a step out of doors. Once when Alfie was just crying and crying and crying in the car and would not respond to logic or distraction, I turned up the radio very loud until eventually I heard from the back seat "Mama, Mama! Arrow! Arrow!" (We find arrows on signs while we drive around, there are a lot of arrows in the world) and everything was okay.
No, I am certainly not the best, but I love that kid very fiercely and he will never go a day not knowing how much I love him. I have surprise myself by being patient and not really losing my temper (so far). This was my biggest parenting fear. I grew up in a yelling and spanking house. I remember being afraid a lot. I was a particularly sensitive kid, even a light repremand would set me off on a crying jolt. And as a grown-up, I can have a short-temper, especially when I am tired or under-nourished, things that happen pretty frequently to new parents. So, I was worried; worried I would yell, worried that my baby would be afraid of me, worried that yelling would be a huge part of his childhood.
But somehow that hasn't happened. Somehow I have drawn from a well of patience that I didn't even know existed in me. Now, I am lucky, Alfie is a pretty easy kid, mellow and laid-back most of the time, but he has had his share of screaming, whining, terrible baby moments. And it is amazing to me that I have hugged and soothed and sung and smiled through it all. If I believed in magic, this would be it. That little boy has put a spell on me, poured my heart so full of love that it is over-flowing. Being a parent has made me a better person and I was completely unprepared for it. And selfishly completely thirlled to find out I can even be this person at all.