I’m probably cursing myself, but I am still waiting to hear Rachel Marie really lose it. I’m not talking about a brief “waaa-waaa” or her usual grunts and baby squawks. I’m talking newborn wails – the kind I remember hearing at least occasionally with Madeline. Our firstborn wasn’t a big crier either. She was born alert and relatively happy. Now that she’s a toddler she reserves tears for bedtime or for when Mommy says no to TV AND a piece of chocolate AND wearing her Cubs t-shirt for three consecutive days all in the span of an hour. But I also have always been able to meet her needs promptly, especially when she was a wee one who needed to boob. Not so with this baby. Out of necessity little Rae has to wait sometimes. Take this morning. She alerted me first with a grunt: “Hey, Mom, I’m over here in the bassinet and I’m getting hungry.”
“I’ll be right with you, Rachel Marie. I have to help your sister use the big-girl potty,” I said. One more grunt. I think she was saying, “Okay. Take your time.”
And I did, or rather Madeline did. She sat and sat on the potty. She then requested that I get a pot of warm, soapy water for her to soak her foot in while she sat on her throne and waited for nature to come a callin’. (When Madeline had an ingrown toenail, I’d soak her foot in water while she watched a little TV and she occasionally requests this spa-like treatment even though her toe is fine.) Before I could get a pot prepared it was time for breakfast. Madeline requested both juice (AKA a fruit smoothie) and cereal.
Another squawk…a bit longer this time. “Hey, Mom. I’m still here, you know, and I’m not getting any fuller just sitting here like a blob.”
“Oh, Baby Rae. I’ll be right with you,” I said.
“It’s ‘otay,’ Baby Sister,” Madeline piped in.
Tinkle. Tinkle. “Mommy, I peed! Come look!”
Sure enough a basin full of pee! Hooray!
“Waa-Waa.” Rae lets out two brief cries slip. Perhaps they were celebratory cries, but I have an inkling she could care less about her big sister’s pee-pee triumph. She just wants to eat.
“Let me wipe your sister, Rachel Marie, and then I’ll be right with you.”
“Waa.” I think what she meant to say was: “Okay, but hurry up, for crying out loud. You’re starting to test my patience.”
Eventually I pick up the poor child and she immediately latches on to my boob like a milk-thirsty vampire. She gropes my skin and gives a few satisfying grunts. Meanwhile, I unload the dishwasher with one arm, fix Madeline and my breakfast, and make coffee all with one arm. Every once in awhile she grunts, now out of discomfort, because I am squeezing the poor child against my breast with my free arm so she won’t slip off and miss out on her breakfast.
A big grunt: “Please, Mom, don’t push me back into the womb.”
I only have time to give her one boob for now. I plop her in the bouncy seat and serve Madeline. Rae grunts and then a gas smile flutters across her face. I turn my attention back to Madeline.
“Baby Sister pissed up,” Madeline points out (piss = spit). Sure enough, curdled breastmilk is dribbling down her right cheek. I swipe it away with a paper towel that I had intended to use to clean up some Coffeemate I’d just spilled on the kitchen floor. She grunts again – this time an appreciative grunt and then opens her eyes and watches me for just a brief moment (“Thanks, Mommy.”) before closing them and drifting asleep.
I then scoop her into my arms. It’s an embrace of gratitude. If only I was as patient as this infant. She is amazing. So content and so willing to wait. It’s as if she knows that I am only one person, one mom, with lots of needs to fulfill and that me causing her to wait is no indication of my love for her. She sweetly coos. I kiss her on the head and turn back to Madeline who needs a sticker to celebrate peeing on the potty. Madeline smiles. She’s saying thanks, too. I’m one lucky mom.