I was talking to a friend – who shall remain nameless unless she wants me to out her – about how much easier it is to write about the gross, scary, sad, or even funny parts of parenting, and she said:
“You can’t be public with things that bring you joy on the internet.”
She’s right, too. Especially with parenting. Any time I have the urge to talk about Orion and how happy he makes me, a little alarm bell goes off in the back of my brain.
Don’t say it like that. Someone will think it’s a dig against working mothers. Or bottle-feeders. Or women who had a natural childbirth. Or, or, or, on and on. People really are snarky assholes.
But this is my life. If I leave out all the details and make my stories so vague they fit any lived experience of American motherhood, they’re kinda shitty stories.
One of the reasons I write journal-type stuff is so I’ll remember it, really actually remember the good parts and the terrible parts, later. There’s no point in writing about what a cheerful little person Orion is – I’ll remember that anyway.
So. Here’s something. It’s sweet, or at least I think it’s sweet. I’m not telling it to try to exclude your experience as a mother, or father, or pet owner, or Childfree vegan, or whatever your life experience is, so don’t shit all over it by pointing out how much harder it was for you, thanks.
One of Orion’s nicknames is Little Smaug. You know how when Bilbo is sneaking around Smaug’s lair, and Smaug’s sleeping with an eye cracked open, and even though Bilbo is invisible, he still freezes like a rabbit when that baleful glare roams over him? Well, Orion is a pretty good sleeper now, but when he was tiny, he wasn’t. The only way he’d fall asleep was if someone was holding him, bonus points if there was a boob in his mouth.
So I’d get all propped up, get the tired, hangry baby latched on the boob and tucked in under a blanket, and I’d pat his butt and wait. One angry little pale blue eye would glare up at me as he nursed, but gradually, it would start to blink shut. Like Bilbo, I’d start to wonder if I was going to get away with it, and maybe I’d quit patting and flip open a book on my phone, or try to pick up a bite of food with my free hand, or lean my head back against the wall and nap.
But lo! Smaug never sleeps, just rests uneasy on his pile of treasure! The little eye would pop open. How dare I do the thing! Shrieks of dismay are sure to follow.
I’d stop doing the wrong thing and go back to patting, and the little dragon would gradually calm back down. His eye would close again, he’d drift off toward slumber, and I’d start to relax again.
The milky blue eye has turned brown, and the little dragon falls asleep much easier these days, but we still call him Little Smaug. We are such irredeemable nerds.