Motherhood, version 2.0
Five days after giving birth, I dropped my husband off at the airport and waved goodbye with our two small children. Our baby had arrived right on his due date, which put his birth during the week of our move from Hawaii back to "the mainland." While exciting, this meant that I would be spending a week alone, living in a hotel with two small children and dealing with the gritty details of the move. It's pretty tricky to figure out how you're going to do things like mail heavy boxes or ship a car with two little fireballs in tote, not to mention surviving a five hour plane ride -- or worse, surviving airport security checks.
But it can be done, as I discovered. While exhausting, it's all survivable, and life continues slowly.
Being back in the continental US has been quite amazing and I can honestly say that I haven't had this much fun in four years. Fruit is so fresh and bread doesn't go moldy after a week. The grocery store aisles and parking lot spaces are enormous. There are three Targets within 10 minutes of my house. There is a Sonic. Oh, and have I mentioned that shipping prices for internet shopping isn't ridiculous?
The one thing that is not different is the unsolicited parenting advice that I seem to acquire wherever I go. Maybe it's because I look young, or maybe I'm just not as good at juggling two children as I think I am, but I seem to attract the most obnoxious comments from do-gooders.
With my first child, I was constantly asked by strangers whether I breastfed or bottlefed. Did I use cloth diapers? Did I know that I needed to make sure he always had a shirt on? Did I know that if he felt hot, it was a good idea to take his temperature?
With baby #2, the comments are a little different, but no less ridiculous.
Recently, I left my older child at home with my husband while I ran some errands. In the checkout lane, baby started to fuss (not cry - fuss). While I know there is nothing more annoying to most people than someone's baby making noise in public, I was a credit card swipe from being finished with my shopping and leaving the store.
And then a helpful sales associate walked up to me and pointed to the baby.
"Your baby is crying."
I swiped my card, bounced the baby, and said "yes, he is fussing."
"Your baby is crying," she repeated, as if I had not heard the first time.
"Yeah, I know."
Urgently, the saleswoman said again, "your baby is crying. He's hungry. You need to feed him."
I smiled politely at the woman, grabbed my bag, and said, "thank you for that information," and walked out.
By the time I had walked the four feet to the door, my little bundle of wonderfulness had fallen asleep.
Perhaps he simply takes after his grandfather and just doesn't like shopping.