Explaining motherhood to the uninitiated can be difficult, especially when it comes to the love factor, because the type of love required to attach you to a person who comes into the world by forever altering your body for the worse is a 2,000 on a ten point love scale.
Whoever came up with integrating mother love into a female did a much better job than they did with say, gnats. Really, what’s the point with gnats? They simply live a life to irritate normal people who are just trying to enjoy the summer, much like family BBQs.
I remember telling a terrified acquaintance,who feared she wouldn’t love her infant, that she would feel overwhelming love for her own baby after introductions were made, even though there wasn’t a chance in the world that her baby would be as adorable as mine. After all, my son broke off my tail bone as a how-do-you-do and it only took three or four months to forgive him and treat him like a member of my family. (It took my dogs forever. They were really pissed about the tailbone thing, but it’s quite possible that they misunderstood what happened, as they often had a tendency to do when they were distracted by the word “bone.”)
I’m kidding about my reaction to the tailbone incident of 1988, of course; it wasn’t my son’s fault he had a head like a basketball; that lies with me. I can’t even try hats on in public because they sit on top of my skull like a thimble, thus making other shoppers think they are in a clown hat store and shop owners less than happy to see me.
Anyway, mothers-to-be tend to worry, and not just about the fact that her upcoming baby won’t hold a candle to mine. (and don’t let your baby hold a candle; that’s the number one rule.) Yet, unless your baby is a trouble maker, and most of them aren’t, as there is little trouble to be caused while lying in bed drooling, you don’t have to worry about baby generated nonsense, that’s for grown men.
At this point I’m going to pause and say, no first time mother has, or ever will believe this to be true. I guess you have to have more than one child to understand this from the get go. Because I have no back-up children, it took me a few years to truly understand this and you can ask the 24-year-old version of my Angel Bunny, who is, as we speak, yelling at Congress in my basement.
So, here’s a list of what you should worry about: is your baby, warm, fed, clean and not likely to hold candles? Yes? Now you can stop worrying unless spots appear and you don’t own a firstborn armed with a marker.
Worries can be as varied as the mothers who lie awake at night. (Trick point. All mothers like awake, their babies don’t let them sleep. A friend of a friend once worried that if God gave her an ugly baby, she wouldn’t know about it as she thought of all of her children as the most beautiful ever born. She was wrong, of course as we have already covered, but I’m sure her baby was pretty good.
Most mothers worry about situations that will never happen no matter how many times other mothers insist that they will. A favorite, in my situation, was that my mellow, loving baby with a head full of hair would, at most milestones, become bald and likely to pull a gun out of his diaper.
This never happened; not at nine months, not at two years, not at seven. My son didn’t become cranky until he learned about politics, and who can blame him? At that point, it was a Pandora’s box sort of thing, without the sexual connotation. Luckily, he rarely displays anger towards me unless I sing London Calling like Robert Goulet , so I didn’t become involved when he sent a hornet’s nest to a former member of his band because UPS wouldn’t deliver my box of exploding itching powder and something needed to be done.
Here’s the thing: for as long as you live, what makes your child angry, makes you angry, what makes your child sad, makes you sad, what gives your child joy…you get the idea. And that’s something to worry about.