Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Rock the Baby

OK, so I went to Nordstrom today, and on my way to the escalator I walked past this contraption, which completely mesmerized me.  It's a baby rocking machine, and it comes with a speed control and an MP3 connection, so the mommy can play soothing music or white noise or French lessons.  The Nordstrom folks had a white noise recording playing; you can hear it above the jibber-jabber of passers-by if you turn up the volume on the short little video.

My first thought as I gazed at this very pricy baby accessory was: I have lived too long, if I live in a world in which we cannot rock our own babies any more.  But then I thought, now wait.  I used an un-motorized "bouncy seat" with each of my three urchins when they were younger; does that make me a bad mommy, or a good mommy -- or a bad mommy who at least had a chance to rinse a dish or two before she picked up the kid again -- so maybe I was a bad mommy with clean dishes?

This baby rocking machine had me re-thinking all of my life choices.

So then I got to thinking some more. This contraption is kind of like when I put the inconsolable infant sunny girl, strapped into her carseat, on top of the [empty] laundry dryer and turned it on.  The dryer hummed and vibrated, and the sunny girl was temporarily soothed, and I lay down on the cement in front of the dryer, in case the baby sunny girl vibrated off of it.  I figured she would fall on me, which would make me a great mommy -- or at least a martyr, which is the same thing.

It's also kind of like when the infant tall boy would not shut up could not be soothed, so I loaded him and me into my little two-seater Honda CR-X (God, I loved that car), and off we went into the night.  I drove completely around the I-495 beltway that circles Washington, D.C.  That's sixty-four miles. Y'all, I did that more than once, and at the time it felt like a great solution: the tall boy slept in his carseat, I listened to a combination of oldies and talk radio, and no babies were thrown out of any windows.  A win for everyone.

The mommy gig is a tough one; you all know this.  And any help an infant's mom can get as she juggles her baby, her toddler(s), her groceries, her hormones, her laundry,  her intertwined love and angst, and her latte is help she should welcome.  Once, when I was trying very hard to pay for groceries and the newborn girl in charge had had it (she has been in charge since Day One -- believe it), a lovely woman said to me -- as I struggled to gently bouncy-bounce my screaming, hungry infant and find my checkbook and appear as if I was fine with the milk leaking from both of my breasts -- "I don't want to offend you, but would it help if I held your baby?" People, I could have kissed her.  Maybe I did; that whole post-natal era is a bit of a blur.

So my conclusion? Rock your babies the best way you can.  You are a great mom. You were a great mom.  You will be a great mom.  Being a mamma -- especially a new mamma -- is hard as shit. We deserve all the help we can get.  And in the middle of that "what am I doing?" moment, don't let anyone (including a snobby Nordstrom shopper) make you feel bad.

We're not rocket scientists. We're better -- we make rocket scientists.