Since I last updated, my entire world has been turned upside down and all of the rules have changed. I went down the proverbial rabbit hole and have emerged. I wouldn't say I emerged "victoriously", because let's face it--the baby wins pretty much every battle these days. He is well fed, well-rested, and well-tended to. I can't say the same for Joe and I, but we're on a pretty steep learning curve so I have to assume those details will work themselves out.
For three months now, I have been living in an alternate dimension of my own life. The "new normal" involves never eating a meal when I'm actually hungry, carrying around a chunky little ball of need like an extra appendage at all times, and randomly wondering by 4:00 pm whether or not I actually put on deodorant or brushed my teeth that day. Besides my now questionable hygiene, my ass is huge. I had no idea how having a baby would change me on every level. I knew it would change our day-to-day lives, our priorities, and our hearts forever. But I had no idea it would change every single aspect of who I am, almost as if on a cellular level.
Often in the dark of night, as I sooth my son to sleep in the rocker by the sound machine thump-thumping to mimic the comfort of my womb, it's almost as if the sleep deprivation has conjured images of stars and sheep bouncing across my ceiling and I can hear Calypso versions of the ABC song fading in and out over his sweet coos, and I lose hours of time like sand sifting through my fingers.
And then I realize it. This is real life. It is not some trippy, David Lynch-esque dream that I will wake from. This is parenthood. And if I thought pregnancy was a game changer, the aftermath has made that seem like no big deal. My edges feel indistinct and blurry, and Joe reminds me of Edvard Munch's The Scream between the hours of 4:30 and 6:00 am (which the kiddo must sense, because that is when he has decided to start getting seriously salty).
Everything takes forever these days...going anywhere, leaving any place, and settling in all take an interminable amount of time. In fact, this blog entry from start to finish has taken me five and a half weeks to finish writing. I am always leaving belongings behind--burp cloths, onesies, and, on one awful occasion, a dirty diaper. My standard of personal hygiene has become questionable. My number of followers on Facebook has diminished due to a lack of activity paired with the fact that all activity of late has involved pictures of my child in various states of repose and dress (or lack thereof). Apparently not everyone I know gets melty at the sight of Declan's fat rolls on his thighs.
In this alternate universe, I feel like I'm still back in college waiting tables and Declan is the worst customer ever. He doesn't articulate his order, he demands all of my attention just when I'm being pulled in every other direction, and he complains to management when I'm not moving fast enough. And then, just when I think he's satisfied, he has the nerve--the absolute nerve--to spit it up.
I simultaneously wish for and dread the moment the baby will actually be able to talk.