Never in my entire life have I felt Christmas was this long, lonely and boring as this year. My God! It was never-ending! If you have difficulties relating and you’ve just come from your umpteenth family reunion with yet another indigestion, know that we haven’t. It had a lot to do with the fact that it covid is still lurking around (not that I care, but others do), that we don’t drive, that most of my friends go back to wherever they come for the holidays and that we have a toddler on top of that. So when I say the days were never-ending, I really mean it. For 5 days in a row we woke up and watched cartoons, ate American pancakes, played, went outside so Madeleine would sleep or play some more and came inside to continue playing. Of course, there was some napping and some eating involved, but playing pretty much sums it all up. With the exception of 24th, when we met F’s family for dinner and exchanged gifts, there was nothing to do and no one to do it with.
And when the cafés did open on the 27th, Madeleine got a fever spell and we had to stay inside. We played with the train set- I was envisioning Madeleine playing by herself, but instead she would demand “shitte, shitte”, meaning sit down, sit down, played with the bears, played with lego and played with her newly inherited kitchen from her sweet cousin Nora. Yesterday I had a couple of hours of driving and I was so happy to be getting out of the cosy prison, I could have jumped for joy.
This being said, I’ve always had trouble dealing with the holidays. Back when I was a kid it was because there was too much eating and too little freedom to do whatever one felt like doing, now because it’s too much family (when we’re not dealing with a pandemic) and the people you’d rather spend the holidays with are away. And I generally find myself sulking for the shops and the coffee shops to be open, not that I necessarily would go shopping, but I guess I just like to know everything is in place, the way it always is.
Today is kindergarten day and I’m trying to make good use of this “free time” by vacuuming, washing some clothes, baking bread and meeting a friend for coffee. Outside there’s lots of snow and I should really take up skiing, had I just known where to start. 😉
So I got a call from a friend just after I wrote the last entry and she told me she’d laughed so hard and asked me if I’d had Madde all over again had I known it was this hard- or maybe I interpreted her question that way, since I’m even more easily offended these days than usual- haha. And so I thought I should clear up any misunderstandings by writing a bit more about the good stuff this time.
First, I just needed to get the other things off my chest. The things you never talk about, the difficult and embarrassing feelings, the shame, the guilt. I hate pretending and smoothing things over, although I’m a badass at that, too, people with my background tend to be. (Eastern Europeans who grew up with their grandma and spent their whole life begging for other people to love them.)
But now that I did all that, I’ll tell you more about the amazing feeling it is to be a mom. Because even if it never stops, even though she’s in bed and you still think you can hear her cry, even though you go to her room to check up on her and end up waking her up and restarting the whole shebang of her trying to lull herself to sleep, even when you’re so tired you hang up half of the laundry just to discover the other half still wet on the table the day after, motherhood is the best feeling ever! Nothing can even come close to having borne a human being inside you (even though I hated being pregnant most of the time and I’d never do it again!), pressed her out of you (the most painful thing there ever was, even with an epidural!), held her in your arms, fed her, soothed her, stroked her skin, smelled her breath.
At night, she wakes up shivering from hunger and she eats with her eyes closed, while we kiss her cheek or stroke her hair. When she had fever from the vaccine, she would cling to us like a bird with a broken wing, save me, do something, make me better. (That’s when the picture is from, she’d been crying for 4 hours straight.) I’ve never had that before. I mean sure, I’ve had pets as long as I can remember and I’ve loved them to death, but it’s not the same. I used to get upset when people said you can’t compare a dog with a child, but it’s true. Sure, you can love the dog to the moon and back (and I do!), buy him all the fancy toys and the best beef jerky and check on him at night to see if he’s still breathing, hold him in your arms when the fireworks or storms are raging outside, but it’s still not the same as having your own baby. Or anyone’s baby, for that matter. (For many years I considered both adoption or foster parenting, but I’m glad I didn’t have to go through all that paper hell, in the end. Plus it’s so much fun to see yourself or your partner in the baby, I have to admit that!)
In the morning, she wakes up happy and wants to play. You could say it’s her job. It’s so funny to see how dedicated she is to discovering the world! Back and forth, from one toy to another, touching, tasting everything, turning around to see what I’m doing- usually I’m boiling feeding bottles, making milk or brewing coffee- haha.
During the day we play, we go out for walks with the pram, we meet friends, sometimes we visit dad at the office, we sit in the shade and clap our hands, we read books with furry animals you can touch. And we play music, all kinds of baby music- from Brahms to silly tunes I never saw myself listening to, let alone humming! 😉 haha!
When she sleeps, I usually research things she needs and order them online or agree to meet with people selling used baby stuff. A baby has all sorts of expensive needs (haha) and the maternity leave payment is around half the money I used to make before. No, not complaining, just doing my best to keep everybody happy, including mommy. ‘Cause mommy loves shopping and in 5 months she’s just been on one “shopping spree”, at Fretex (Salvation Army Shop)! haha! Don’t let yourself be fooled, I chose silk and designer wear there, too! haha! They have pretty amazing stuff if you’re in the mood for searching, which I can be once in a blue moon, if money is tight. 😉
This corona shit messed up our plans of going to Romania and France to show Madeleine to our families. It’s been lonely to raise a child alone, without anybody offering to even take her out for a stroll. Friends tell me the culture is different here, that people are afraid to offer, they’re afraid they might be imposing, that I should be the one asking for help. But I’m different, too, not only culturally different, but on account of my being so messed up, I’d rather cut people off than ask them for a favor, because the fear of being rejected is greater than anything else. And then there’s my pride. I’d rather die than admit to needing help. 😦
My mother was supposed to come for a month and help us out a bit, like minding the baby a couple of hours here and there, but she tripped on a stool and fell and she’s been recovering slowly for the past week. I really hope she didn’t break anything, they’ve been reticent to go to the doctor’s on account of Covid, but she’s having a scan on Monday. So what can I say, not only I don’t have a lot to look forward to in terms of baby sitting, but I worry about her, too. 😦
But I’m sure it’ll get easier. I’ve just bought baby oat meal and she seemed to like it. This might mean she’s going to be fuller and sleep better at night and God knows that would come in handy. Until then, I’m off to play with her on the mat. She seems to be getting bored of entertaining herself.