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. 

10 thoughts on “6

  1. I hear you on the reluctance to share specifics about parenting. Seems like everything that might be shared that’s real and nuanced has some pitfall and danger sign attached to it and so instead we get the generic watered down stories. I’d love to share how excited I am about going back to work on Monday. In the car yesterday as I was driving home from the stable I came to the realization that indeed parenting is not enough for me. I love that fig is a part of my life. I love the fact she doesn’t have to be my entire life. I’m so glad to go back to work Monday. I can’t wait. And at the same time I realized I could never ever actually say that publically on the Internet. Because it would be taken the wrong way by ninety percent of other people (let’s be real….other MOTHERS). I’d love to share how excited I am about my postpartum body returning to normal so quickly. But I won’t. Because then the wrath of those who are taking longer, or the wrath of other people on the behalf of those theoretical people that are taking longer (which is the weirdest phenomenon which I discovered when I complained about being pregnant publically – people who had never had problems with fertility were certain I was insulting people with fertility issues).

  2. Little Smaug is definitely a better nickname then the conclusion me and Matt came too last night that when fig is wailing she reminds us of the zombies in walking dead lol

  3. I love Little Smaug. What a great nickname and a great story.

    We called T “bug” up until he got his indian name and then we called him Ikusan. Not nearly as awesome as Smaug though.

  4. When our Sweet Pea was tiny, we joked about “not waking the dragon”. Game of Thrones, of course. She preferred to fall asleep exactly as you described and largely still does at age 2.5, although I can finally (it took two years) lay her down and walk away for naps or get up early and she remains sleeping in the family bed. My belief is that parents who have babies that will sleep separate from them just do not understand. It can be a blessing and a curse, especially when both parents are working full-time.

    Little Smaug may still be appropriate in the toddler years. Sometimes I am tempted to wait to bring up the bath/diaper change/car ride/etc. that comes next because she is playing so happily and the dragon is sleeping. 😉

    • Thank god for smartphones, you know? It’s so nice to hear from somebody else with a mandatory snuggler – and it’s nice to hear that one day I can sneak away.

      • My aunt was visiting G and telling me about my cousin and how she only wanted to be held a certain amount of time….and I was like what? Babies like that exist? After two weeks Matt and I can put fig down and not have her immediately wail but most of the time she’s held. Thank goodness for packs and slings!!!!

        • (Although I know it’s early and fig may get less snuggly as she continues to settle. So exciting to see the changes and see what comes next ya know? I might be ready to admit that babies are better then puppies. )

          • They really exist, because every so often you read stories about independent-minded second babies. Someone will have a first like Orion who MUST be held, sleep with his humans, etc, and then a second who’s like “can I have a peaceful crib and some alone time?”

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