Thursday, February 23, 2006

Trial By Grass

Today was a really big day for me because it was the first time I was alone with Jarrah for longer than 20 minutes. David went into work for a half-day and I picked up Aaryn and Ruby (hi girls!) to attend our first meeting of Animal Crackers (the cleverly named offshoot of Fortune Cookies, natch--thanks, Mary!) I was pretty nervous when David shut the car door and waved bye-bye and it was just the two of us (what would we talk about?) but she is so sedated by her car seat that awkward cocktail party banter was a non-issue. She and Ruby babbled in the back seat (and Jarrah made a few calls on the cell phone she got from her Auntie Mary) and Aaryn and I gabbed our way to La Jolla, where we met on Maxine's lawn. It was a gorgeous sunny day, and I was very excited to expose Jarrah to the morning sun, having heard that it would help to re-set her clock. And let's be honest: I was just plain excited to have left the house before noon.

The meeting was nice and kind of surreal; everyone there was my friend, everyone had a baby with them, and somehow I did, too. We all had our strollers in a wagon train and blankets strewn with soon-to-be-spit-covered toys. We even had our Mommy cups of coffee and Mommy muffins. Jarrah snoozed for the first part, and then was in Blinky mode for the next. By the time I moved her to a blanket, she was content to stare at all the other frenetic babies and slap languidly at a nearby ball. The only thing that really got her juiced was another child's crushed muffin on the blanket; she likes a tidy environment and is always happy to lend a hand (or mouth) to the cause of clean-up. A couple times I tried to put her down on the lawn, but orphanage child that she is, Jarrah is afraid of grass. That's right, the verdant green stuff is terrifying. When her feet or hands make contact, she springs back like she's been burned, and then examines her limbs for potential damage. It would be really sad if it weren't also so adorable. Before you know it, the merry gathering was over. Toys were packed, sippy cups retrieved, wipes swiped over noses and chins.

Jarrah fell asleep again on the way home, and I bravely refused Aaryn's generous offer to keep me company, figuring (wrongly, as it turned out) David would be home shortly. During the next couple hours, I learned that I don't know the first thing about wrangling the car seat, the stroller, or the booster seat because I usually leave all that to David. I also learned that I am not very good at cleaning poop off a baby doing fan kicks, having also allowed David to have this special bonding time with his daughter more often than not. But when David did not appear, the cruel hand of Fate having wagged a finger in my direction and then stuffed a nail into one of David's tires, I learned that making funny faces, singing nonsense songs and tickling are some of the most enervating occupations on the planet, particularly when you do them for three hours without a break.

When David finally got home, he asked how my day went. A single thought had been crowding everything else out of my mind all afternoon (though that's assuming there was anything left in there to feel squished) which crystallized into a single question: "I have to do this more than once?"

Oh, I almost forgot. (How weird is that?) Jarrah did fine, and so did I. Neither of us had a meltdown without Daddy. I think Jarrah is a smart cookie who is quick to assess where her bread is buttered, to mix my baked good metaphors. Daddy wasn't there today, and I was. I'm still not Daddy, mind you, but I'll do in a pinch. No worries.


Amy said...

Just as I suspected...I knew the two of you would do great. By the way...I love your baked good metaphors and just remember, you will build up stamina believe it or not. And just think how much more fun things will be when she can actually talk and you can have two--way conversations...that's just around the corner!

Anonymous said...

Ah, Sam, welcome to motherhood! :)

Best, Gail

Anonymous said...

Congrats Sam and David. We haven't heard from you since Liz and Douglas' wedding. I see parenthood has welcomed you with open arms. Things will get easier once she establishes a routine for you. Right now Sara is going thru her resistance to mind anything I tell her. It's a chore, but well worth it when you hear her call "Momma" first thing in the morning. Let me know if you need anything.
Val and Ron