After the birth of my first child, my body rebounded beyond my expectations. There’s so much pressure nowadays for Moms to get back to their pre-baby weight and look like a freaking super model while doing 3am feedings, keeping a clean house, cooking meals, and holding a full time job. I didn’t experience any post-partum depression, baby blues…none of that nonsense I’d obsessed over for 9 months. At worst, I was feeling a little more sentimental than usual, wanting to preserve every flower, every card, every outfit, every balloon; documenting every coo and babble. My (now ex) husband thought I was losing my mind – he later learned, this was NOTHING compared to what me REALLY losing my mind would be like.
Our daughter was perfect. I mean everyone says that; but really…she was PERFECT. Sleeping 10pm-5am from the first night home, crying only when she needed to be nursed, entertaining herself without fussing, getting along with other kids…AMAZING! She made parenting look so easy, we even received letters from friends complementing our magnificent tag-team parenting style! True story. My ex and I (especially I) figured since we did such a great job with this one, why not try another?! We were, after all, honing perfection.
Make plans and God laughs at you. I should’ve known within the first couple of weeks things were going to be severely different with the second baby. I mean, the fact it had a penis should’ve given me a slight idea. Baby number 2 HATED us. He cried from the time he awoke to the time he…from the time he awoke. The child never slept, Dracula’s baby, I was certain. The child was never happy…unless he was bouncing. Swaying? No good. Rocking? Are you kidding me? That’s for ORDINARY babies. Standing, I bounced, sitting, I bounced. In the grocery store, with no children in sight, I bounced. In fact, my favorite seat in the house became a giant exercise ball that, prior to baby number 2, had been only an object for baby number 1 to torment our dog with. I had, if I may boast, the most amazing quads and ass on the block. I mean, my face looked like hell as I never had time to apply make up to cover the sleep deprivation…but man, that ass. Now I know some of you are sitting there thinking, “I don’t remember Amy ever0 having a great ass.” SHUT THE HELL UP. I had to have something going for me, my child was clearly expecting different parents!
As parents, we question ourselves 8,739 times per hour. “To nurse or not to nurse? Organic or non-organic? Make your own or buy processed? Sticky tabs or Velcro? Pick up or let cry? Inoculate or not inoculate?” More important than those, I believe, were, “Has baby number 1 (who was, by this time, four-years-old) noticed we truly do not have our shit together? Is the jig up? Does she realize we have NO FREAKING CLUE how to make squishy, fussy, cry-ass little babies happy – much less PARENT?” The answer to all of those questions? YES. Baby #1 was realizing Daddy and I were IDIOTS. She seemed less at ease, became introverted, and seemed a little displaced despite our best efforts to ensure she got all the attention she needed and then some. I think our hypersensitivity to making sure we included her in the insanity freaked her out more than if we’d left her alone. She was quiet these days, never saying much at all. Then, one day, as we sat on the couch watching “Monsters Inc.”, drinking chocolate milk, and hanging out like we used to PRE-Baby #2…it happened. Baby #1 broke loose and revealed all her fears in one awkward, upsetting moment. As gently as she possibly could, setting one hand upon my lap, and turning my head to face hers with the other, her horror-filled eyes looked up at me, and she asked, “Mommy…am I going to get a moustache one day, too?” I stifled laughter as I took her little hands and said, “Of course not, sweetie. Daddy has a moustache, and someday Max will get a moustache; but no, my beautiful little peanut…girls don’t grow moustaches.” She looked more perplexed than when she initially asked the question. “But…Mommy…YOU have a moustache…and YOU’RE a girl.”
WHAT?! I have a MOUSTACHE?! I’d been so busy and exhausted and feeding and bouncing and crying and bouncing some more…had I seriously not noticed I’D grown a moustache?! Where were my friends? My family? My co-workers? No one TOLD me I had grown a moustache? Pack of BASTARDS! I immediately ran to the bathroom to check the mirror. “Seeee?” said a tiny voice behind me. “I told you.” Immediately, I packed her up and ran to the nearest pharmacy in search of facial bleach, wax, duct tape…ANYTHING to rid me of my masculine attributes. As we got home and I prepared the ridiculous bleaching solution (which is a whole other story in and of itself), I realized not only had I been sprouting a moustache worthy of Tom Selleck’s envy, but my hairline was receding, as well. What cruel cruel joke was this? How better to be rewarded for 9 months of pregnancy and hours of labor than to have your hair sucked in from your scalp and shot out your face?