a babymoon is a lot like a honeymoon. except there’s no sex. no one to make your bed, leave a mint on your pillow. there’s no drinking. except coffee. you don’t wear a lot of cute, pre-selected outfits, show off your new hairdo, your carefully manicured nails, stay up late talking about you inner-most desires and aspirations with your life partner. conversations that occur as you both are finally able to plop into the bed at night, after lying with the three year old to get her to sleep, after four or so diaper-changes and cluster feeds, go more like, “hey, we’re out of desitin. make sure we get more tomorrow. and laundry bleach. i love you.” “zzzzzzzz….” “greg, wake up. the baby just pooped and it’s your turn.”
you spend most of each day sweaty, covered in milk and vomit and pee, sometimes poop while your home falls apart around you. the house spiders have had a hatch of late and are taking advantage of our preoccupied state to take over the ceilings. as we muddle about below them, there are wars being waged, territorial disputes. each spider has its own turf and vigilantly stands guard. there’s renault, the kitchen spider who watches warily as i brew my morning coffee, baby slung over one arm, getting a constant head rush as i have him tilted back too far. “whoops,” i say and then dump in spoon loads of sugar into my cup. i wonder if he thinks i’m a bad parent. there’s ewin, the naughty bathroom spider who mostly lurks menacingly amongst the venetian blinds but whom i have caught peeping at me in the shower, the voyeuristic little fellow. ruth sits perched on the toilet lid, waiting for me to finish. “are you done, yet, mommy?” they stand at arms, ready to fight each other to the death, catching the light so as to make themselves look a foot tall at times. “god, fransuoa! but you did give me a fright! can we have not a moments peace around this estate?!” joel doesn’t know who i’m talking to. his eye sight is not so good. perhaps he thinks his mom is cuckoo, or talking with herself. just trying to reason with these somewhat unwelcome tenants who have moved in on us.
as i sit breast feeding my new son, they crouch above me, knitting sticky threads in marvelous patterns. i wonder if they are making little sweaters to wear. but, no. it’s too hot for that now. i lug my large breasts around like milk jugs strapped to my chest. i’m like pamela anderson post-breast enhancement, pre-breast reduction surgery. i cut up cloth baby diapers into little squares to use to wipe joel’s bum with each poo. he poos seedy yellow liquid, breast milk poo at least once per hour. the spiders build walls, castles, moats, kingdoms. i ate three peanut butter cookies today because the fridge is empty of leftovers. i wonder if the spiders think ill of me.
they don’t like ruth. i can tell because when she enters the room, they stand perfectly still. “hey mom!” she says, “i need to wear a bathing suit! then, let’s go outside and i can go on my swing!” poor ruth. she’s cross with me. she doesn’t understand why i won’t put down the baby. why he eats so much. why he takes up so much attention. greg is having a grand time off from work, spending time with ruth. he keeps her somewhat distracted along with the grandparents. no one understands it is ruth and i that suffer. the adjustment that we all anticipated has a name. its name is mine and ruth’s relationship. that’s where the adjustment is taking place more than anywhere. she looks at me with betrayal and hurt. i look at her with glazed eyes, preoccupied with the baby, always feeding him, holding him. the spiders watch. they don’t say what they think.
joel dislikes being put down. he’s either a mama’s boy, like his sister, or has bad acid reflux. it’s easy to mistake one for the other. if he’s like his mom, he’ll be downing tums like candy by the time he reaches his twenties, the poor innocent lad.
there’s no pictures of sunsets, picturesque landscapes, white sand beaches, but there are pictures. of our baby. every shade from all out crying, to grimacing, to calm to a smirk. in every angle of light. at every time of day. enough pictures to clog the arteries of your external hard drive, enough pictures that you’ll probably never be able to look through them all again.
our next door neighbors were on vacation. an island in the caribbean. we took in their mail. the man came over to get it and, when he saw me, asked when the baby was due. i must now hate him for all eternity. i think the spiders will agree.