9.10.2008

Life with Maybelle

A few quick thoughts while Maybelle is napping.

Having an infant around the house has changed my life considerably, as you might imagine. I'm used to being the kind of person who has a full daily planner, with activities mapped out in hourly increments, things efficiently crossed off when they're completed, a busy life full of teaching, research, and administrative tasks. These days my life revolves around a very different set of tasks--mostly lactation and diaper changes, with lots of time spent just looking at the baby. Some days we don't even leave the house-or we'll intend to and somehow not get around to it. This isn't bad, just different. It feels a little weird. I know it's temporary, which is helping me to enjoy it and not get freaked out by the weirdness.

One of the many nice things about breastfeeding is that it provides a lot of time for reading. I just finished rereading Anne Lamott's Operating Instructions: A Journal of my Son's First Year. It was great when I first read it years ago and was even better this time. One of the things she wrote that really resonated with me:

"No one ever tells you about the tedium. (A friend of mine says it's because of the age difference.) And no one ever tells you about how crazy you'll be, how mind-numbingly wasted you'll be all the time. I had no idea. None. But just like when my brothers are I were trying to take care of our dad, it turns out that you've already gone ahead and done it before you realize you couldn't possibly do it, not in a million years."
Things aren't that bad around here--but it resonated nonetheless. And also this:
"Maybe Sam will grow up and be one of the people who can turn some of this stuff around. I will raise him to be the leader of the rebel forces."
And also this:
"People say he's the loveliest baby they've ever seen, even though his hair is falling out. Of course, they also say this to babies who look like water ouzels."

6 comments:

Trey said...

I have to say that I really enjoyed hanging out at your house doing nothing but holding the baby and hacking away on the computer for a couple of days. No eating out, no running around--just hanging out with Maybelle. A great vacation.

Christine McKaskle said...

How odd that I sent you that link to her Writer's Symposium interview in '07 - I had not visited your blog since Wednesday.

I just Googled her Thursday night 'cause I was missing her, if you can miss someone you haven't met.

Guess you and I were "catching a wave" together, so we're still doing a pretty good job keeping in touch - especially for friends who are out of town and both with such life changes!

In fact, I'm impressed how well you're doing at that with a new baby. I remember a college friend who really got hurt by how unavailable I was for a while. Then she had a baby and wrote me to say SHE was sorry she hadn't been more supportive, as she was having trouble finding time to take a shower.

That was my big adjustment - and has been through much of the girls' childhood, as you know.

Love you.

Tawanda Bee said...

Having a newborn was the ONLY time I can remember sitting without an agenda... without that "I should be doing something else" kinda freight train in my brain. THank you for helping me remember.

hazel Ketchum said...

I recommend A.A. Milne "the complete tales of Winnie-the-Pooh." It sounds like you have gone from Rabbit - busy be back soon - to Pooh bear. I think that is a great thing.

Amanda said...

Hi Allison,
Maybelle is lovely!

I am here in my own lactation-centered universe--we just had our second, Lena. I never knew, not even suspected, how wonderful and terrible being a new parent is. And how much those first few weeks cut into the deepest reserves of love, and how trippy it is to walk around dirty and exhausted with milk seeping through your shirts feeling completely, madly in love with someone who weighs 8 pounds and can't carry a conversation.

I had to write because, like you, that exact passage from Lamott's book got me. "Mind-numbingly wasted" pretty much says it all. Do you remember the part about the breast pump yet? (Something about rhinoceros skin!)

Not sure if you remember me--but I've tried to read your blog from time to time and am delighted to read about your life.

Friend from way-back-when,
Amanda Richey

Alison said...

Thanks to all of you for the great comments. And Amanda, it's wonderful to hear from you! Yes, I remember the breast pump commentary--I believe she makes some apt observations about six inch nipples.