Saturday, March 10, 2007

Spring Forward

So you know all that stuff about how things change? You know how Catherine Newman once wrote that, with her second child, things moved so quickly that she could feel Birdy's babyhood "like a wind blowing so quickly through the house"? Yeah, that. That's what's happening here these days.

Genevieve is solidly on solids. She eats rice cereal and oat cereal and barley cereal and Gerber 1st Foods strained carrots, peas, green beans, sweet potatoes, prunes, squash. She eats these mushy meals when we eat ours, and awhile back the obvious came to me in a sudden realization: I am no longer enough, on my own, to sustain her. (It happened so fast! One day: a teaspoon of watery rice cereal; within two weeks: rapidly chowing down on multiple courses at breakfast and dinner.) I voiced this moment of clarity to Christopher, and added, "It's sad." He expressed surprise, saying he didn't know something like that was sad. I told him it only is when it's your last baby. When never again will you alone be the source of sustenance for a tiny human being for whom you'd kill or die.

OK, everyone, heave a sigh of sappy sentimental nostalgia with me. I don't know about yours--if you have any--but I'm sure MY sentimental sappiness is at least in part fueled by the hormonal adjustments awhirl inside, as my body shifts from 24-hour-a-day extreme milk production to a less fevered meal-making pace. From the only course to side course.

Not coincidentally, I realized the other day that--guess what?!--I don't seem to have to eat half a bag of Hershey's Nuggets in order to feel full and non-shaky anymore! I don't feel desperately ravenous approximately 45 minutes after dinner--well, maybe on days I go running or when Genevieve's going through a growth spurt. But for the most part, wow! I don't feel like I'm eating my weight in calorie-dense treats any longer. (There are, of course, exceptions.)

No doubt this is good news for my cholesterol level, but otherwise? It's--no surprise--kind of sad. I guess it makes me look ahead to weaning, and when you've been either pregnant or nursing for all but two months of the past 3-1/2 years, the idea of not being either anymore--while liberating in one way--can seem like a strange return to a land you no longer know. The land of having one's body all to one's self. I know: sounds good, right? But surprisingly empty, too.

Catherine Newman was right: with the first baby, every moment seems an eternity; you think infancy will never end, you'll never get to sleep again, you'll never not be glued to the sofa in a dirty bathrobe, nursing every 45 minutes. And then with the second baby, you know you'd bribe anyone who could make time slow down for you.

2 comments:

Grandpa Jim said...

Take heart, my dear, these needs you speak of providing for her now will pass but there will neve3r develop a void. New needs will always arise. I promise, as long as a relationship with her is maintained, you will always be there to fulfill another need! You will continue to be blessed with needs as long as you live!

Shan said...

True...although "Mom, I need twenty bucks. Oh, and can I have the car tonight?" doesn't carry with it quite the same warm, fuzzy feelings.