Ordinary tomorrow.
November 16, 2009

There is a certain drudgery in the work of motherhood.  It is a sort of dull and familiar repetition, a pattern of lackluster chores with no foreseeable end.

Our day begins around six in the morning.  Charlotte wakes up and I nurse her.

We spend the next four hours making faces and noises at one another.  I nurse her.  I bathe her.  I nurse her again.  I file down her fingernails.  Then I nurse her for good measure.  I change a few diapers.  And nurse her.  All the while, we make faces and noises and we giggle and coo and babble about how lovely she is to her reflection in the mirror.

The day continues like this.  I rock her to sleep.  With a side of nursing her.  While she naps, I fold clothes.  I pump milk.  I e-mail photographs of her to relatives or to Donald at work and I go on a scavenger hunt for the five billion burp rags I’ve left lying around the house.  I scrub the bathroom.  I clean the litter box.  I collect the mail.  I pump some more milk.

When she wakes up, I trim her toenails.  And nurse her some more.  I launder her clothes.  After some nursing.  I wash dishes.  Then I nurse her.  I pick up the toy she dropped.  We nurse. Then I change a few more diapers.  There is nursing.  We walk around the house and the yard about a dozen times, learning new shapes and colors.  AND DID I MENTION THE NURSING?

We play with blocks and read nursery rhymes.  Mindless, boring, same-as-yesterday nursery rhymes.  We make some more faces at each other and we rub our noses against crinkle squares.  We talk about what we did today and what we will do tomorrow.  I try to suck some snot out of her nose.  And, of course, there is the nursing.

In the evening, we lay her down in our bed before we climb in ourselves.  (After I nurse her to sleep, that is).  I fold wipes to place in the warmer.  I gather dirty laundry for tomorrow.  I pump milk.  Then I collapse into bed, already half asleep.

All of the toil and the world shrinkage can make you crazy.  It really can.  Friends ask me all the time how I like this thing called parenting and I tell them the truth: sometimes I feel like somebody is giving me a lobotomy with an ice cream scoop.

But I also tell them the other truth, which is this: yesterday, for the very first time, Charlotte reached for me.  Somebody else was holding her and she leaned towards me.  To a stranger, it might have looked like a baby’s arms were flailing wildly about for no reason whatsoever.  But to me, it looked like my sweet girl was asking for her mother.

And I swear, in that moment, I knew that all the drudgery, the routine, the for-the-love-of-all-that-is-holy-this-is-going-to-drive-me-insane (let’s be honest: it happens) was well worth it.  In that moment, I could not wait to do it all again tomorrow.

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  1. By Lindsey on November 16, 2009

    exactly. :)

  2. By *emilie* on November 16, 2009

    yep. also agreed.

  3. By gretchen from lifenut on November 16, 2009

    Geez, I just wrote a ridiculously long comment on this subject. You would have had to change the name of your blog to Becoming Sarah and Rambling Gretchen. I deleted it though.

    My epic comment boiled down to one point: This Will Never End For You. And that’s good and hard and daunting and awesome.

  4. By Sarah on November 16, 2009

    Hmm… if you are with your sweet Charlotte everyday, why do you pump?

    I hated pumping.

    And I love her name. Charlotte.  It’s so Regal.

  5. By Sarah A. Schlothan Christensen on November 16, 2009

    Gretchen - Rambling is always welcome =)

    Sarah - I pump for a couple reasons.  First of all, my supply is not adjusting well.  I overproduce and as a result of not pumping and just assuming that my body would figure it out, I wound up with an antibiotic-resistant case of mastitis a couple months ago.  It took me nearly five weeks and a billion doctors’ visits to finally beat that infection, so I pump to ensure that I do not encounter that again.

    More than that, though, I pump so that I can donate my milk to a milk bank.  Because I have Crohn’s disease, I have a very healthy diet and a very healthy lifestyle.  I produce almost a quart of extra milk a day, so I figure that if I am not going to use it, and it is perfectly good milk, then somebody else who needs it should benefit.  If only one baby out there gets the milk they need because I took the time to pump while Charlotte napped?  It will have all been worth it.

    Thank you for the compliment about her name =)

  6. By Cambria Copeland on November 16, 2009

    I hear ya on this one.  I stopped nursing almost two months a go, but my busy 16 month old continues to keep me on my toes.  Be prepared…  It gets busier and perhaps more mundane. 

    But, soon Charlotte will do more than she already does, if you can imagine it.  Not only will she be into every cabinet imaginable, her arms becoming seemingly longer as you rearrange your home to accomidate her curiosity, she will also become a tornado,  Yes, you will pick up the toys, put them neatly away and magically they appear in the living room when your back was turned putting away that last teddy bear. 

    Or, she will get into her dresser drawers and put her newly cleaned clothes into the dirty laundry hamper because that’s where they go, right?  This is my particular favorite.

    Doesn’t sound mundane, but it’s the same every day, except for the days you let it get out of hand.  And you will get frustrated with the constant mess and a frustrated baby who is trying so hard to communicate her needs and wants in so many ways.

    Trust me, though, your heart will fill with love and swell with pride even more than it already does now.  The moment you notice that she is playing with her teddy bears by herself, looking through books and identifying the animals, pretending to eat from an empty bowl and the day she learns to give kisses you will be so proud you wont know what to do with yourself and all the frustration and boredom, if you will, goes way. 

    Props to you on the nursing for the milk bank!  I never produced enough to do this, but I admire those who can do this.  Keep up the good work.

    I love your blog! You are a wonderful writer.

  7. By Bex on November 16, 2009

    I hear you. There is nothing like being there for those perfect, precious moments. But those utterly repetitive moments in between sure make it difficult. I really do think I’m going crazy sometimes. What did people do before the Internet?

  8. By The Urban Cowboy on November 16, 2009

    “...obotomy with an ice cream scoop.“ EXACTLY…but it’s all worth it.

  9. By Moms sanity is making a comeback on November 16, 2009

    Oh so true :0)

  10. By mommica on November 16, 2009

    Just wait till she says “I love you mommy.“ :) Nothing. Like it. Ever.

  11. By Elly on November 16, 2009

    I really love how the ordinary can be so amazing :) I’m jealous of your ordinary and so very delightful days!

  12. By Alicia on November 16, 2009

    I remember the first time my son reached for me. He was playing while I was putting dinner in the crock pot. He starting whining a little as I was trying to toss it all in as quickly as possible. When I saw him reach for me while I was just letting him whine for a moment I felt terrible for not dropping everything the instant he started crying

  13. By Jess on November 16, 2009

    Totally agree! My daughter nursed every hour on the hour, for 45 minutes of that hour while she was awake. I didn’t know it was possible to nurse a baby so much! Little did I know that she was building my milk supply :) But those smiles…. those were quite enough to make the drudgery worthwhile :)

  14. By Sarah on November 17, 2009

    That is Fabulous! So often I hear the opposite..not enough milk.  I would have loved to donate to our local milk bank, but turns out I have travelled to Africa in the last ten years, and occasionally share a parking space with a man who got a tattoo.


  15. By Heidi on November 21, 2009

    BUT DO YOU MISS WORK? (This is a serious question. Laughable, maybe. But nonetheless earnest.)

  16. By Tabitha (From Single to Married) on December 02, 2009

    This gives me hope.  I hear about staying home and while I haven’t decided exactly what I’m going to do work wise, I do worry about going crazy while home with a baby all day.  But it’s nice to hear that it’s worth it and that it isn’t all mind-numbing.  :)





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