Saturday, November 21, 2009

Fly on the Wall

We had painters here on Thursday, and I became aware as I was going about my daily routine with Miss that these men were probably getting a good laugh at my expense. It made me think about what I, and other moms, would look like to the proverbial Fly on the wall while caring for our babies. I tend to talk to Miss, and often to myself, all day long. It's a running commentary on what is happening, what I'm doing, what she's doing, what should I do?, etc (it was as I was in the midst of some conversation with Miss, or rather with myself, that I heard one of the painters chuckle to himself and thus became self-conscious and the thought process that sparked this whole post began). I think probably most moms do this. It's probably a very important part of language development for babies to hear their caregivers speak a great deal. However, I still probably sound kind of goofy to a stranger observing me while doing it - the noises and faces while trying to get her to eat, the funny voices while reading her a story, and any number of other goofy things I do all day long for the purpose of entertaining and teaching my daughter.

The other day I was in the grocery store and had two funny things happen. One thing is that I was walking round with Miss in her Ergo carrier and I heard another baby making some noises and his mom echoing those noises right back as she was browsing the grocery aisle. I smiled to myself because it was a sweet thing to see but also because I hadn't noticed until that moment that I was doing the exact same thing with Miss. Different noises of course, but the same mimicking. A few moments later in a different aisle I was approached by a store employee who said something like, "When I first saw you there in the aisle out of the corner of my eye I didn't realize you were holding a baby and I thought, 'Wow, she must be really cheerful!'" She was referring to the fact that I was continuously bouncing up and down with Miss. She thought I was just bopping along to my own beat, until she realized that I was holding my baby. Then she understood, being a mom herself, and she reminisced to me for a moment about her own days of mothering when her children were babies. It's amazing how strangers can connect briefly because of having mothering in common.

One other thing that I think would have the Fly laughing at me. Diaper changes in our house have come to resemble a WWF match. We went through a phase of wrestling to get a diaper on for a bit a few months ago, and then it seemed to stop. Miss had returned to just lying peacefully and looking up at me, chattering and smiling while I did the business of changing her drawers. I thought I had managed to breeze through the diapering struggles that I hear many other moms talk about. Don't laugh at me. I now know that Miss was just faking me out. Giving me a temporary reprieve. Letting me get comfortable and complacent for a bit before unleashing again the fury of the baby who does not want to be still while her diaper is changed. No matter that she has poo smeared all over her rear and I am trying valiantly to hold her still while preventing it from getting all over her back, her changing table, her feet, the wall. I have found myself doing the most ridiculous things to try to entertain her and keep her attention long enough to make the fastest change on earth. I make crazy faces. I make stupid sounds. Recently I have begun singing in an operatic voice any tune I can think up (mostly just "las" for the words though). I have hit some crazy high notes doing this, which my voice really wasn't made for! She stops moving for a few seconds though. Long enough to laugh at me and for me to get those snaps fastened. If there were a Fly, I'm sure he would be laughing and/or shaking his head in wonder at the crazy lady. But I'd do just about anything for a smile or giggle from my Miss :)

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