Before I became a mother, I was certain that there had never been a woman so suited for motherhood as myself. I thought there would be a natural ebb and flow to the first year of parenting, and everything would come to me with ease. I imagined myself gallivanting around town with my child expertly wrapped around my torso. I just knew breastfeeding would suck all of the fat off of my hips and reveal the body that nature intended me to have.
Unfortunately, I failed at baby wearing. The Ergo I ended up with made me look like a linebacker, not a wrapped maternal queen. Breastfeeding did absolutely nothing for my metabolism, even though I was feeding the little fucker every three hours.
And to top it all off, I had the general public to deal with.
Why didn’t anyone warn me about the general public?
I didn’t know that people basically abandon all sense of social propriety when they see a newborn. Nobody told me. Nobody prepared me. I didn’t know newborns made people go batshit crazy.
My first child was born in November. As luck would have it, he came into the world a month before one of the worst blizzards we’d had in Brooklyn in years. It was freezing. And there was a ton of snow on the ground that Mayor Bloomberg refused to clean up. Seriously. He was vacationing in Bermuda, or something. So basically, it was a new mommy nightmare. There was no way I was hitting the streets with the Baby Bjorn. I was too afraid that I would slip on black ice and crush my infant. Also, people are germ-filled disgusting messes in the winter. There was no way I was getting near a subway. So my child spent his first season on the planet a shut in. Sorry honey.
Being a shut in makes you pretty anti-social. Having a new baby makes you a paranoid schizophrenic. Add to that the incessant need that people seem to have to put their fingers in babies’ mouths – and you have a recipe for disaster.
Seriously, what is it with people when they A) put their fingers in your baby’s mouth, or B) put the entire hand of your newborn into their mouth? How can this possibly strike someone as being a good idea? Hey there little cutie, with a not yet fully developed immune system! I just got off the subway. The homeless guy that was sleeping against the handrail was kind enough to move so I could hold on. Yes, he did! Oh look how cute you are- reaching for my hand. Aww, he’s teething!
Why? Why would you ever do that?
And then of course, there is social-event-that-you-finally-bring-your-baby-to scenario. Relax! Let me hold the baby. You are probably exhausted! Grab a glass of wine. I’ll take him. Hi cutie! I could eat you up! I’m going to eat you up. Munch, munch, munch. Entire newborn hand in mouth. Great. I’m sure my three-month-old is immune to those recurring cold sores I see popping up on your lip every month. And it’s totally relaxing watching all of this unfold while I enjoy my glass of wine. This party is amazing. I should really get out more often.
Expectant moms — maybe you will succeed where I failed, and be the mother you always imagined you would be. But I’m warning you now, people are going to shove their dirty hands in your baby’s mouth.
Fancy some strategy for handling that, and you will really be a maternal queen.