On Sticky Situations

Dear Annie,

I’m not sure where this is headed but I’m just going to start it and we’ll see where it goes. Early motherhood is an obsession with sleep (not my own) and making sure the baby 1) is not in peril and 2) is developing normally, but mostly an obsession with sleep. Violet naps in the crib (sometimes; now, however, the last technical day of my maternity leave, she’s napping against me as I type, and yes, there have been tears). Like I wrote before, I needed to babystep it (more for me than her to be sure). Since then, there have been a few more naps of swing-sleeping, quite a little bit more sleeping in my arms, a few weeks of sleeping in the bed with me next to her, and now the crib. Here’s yesterday:

She doesn’t always sleep nailed to an invisible cross. And yes, her mohawk is AMAZING.

Monday, I return to work. This means I leave my baby in the care of someone else. Luckily, this “someone else” is, quite literally, THE ONE PERSON I WOULD CHOOSE, IF I COULD CHOOSE ANYONE IN THE WORLD, dead or alive. Like, QUITE literally. Which is, obviously, the best I could have hoped for. My clever and creative twenty-year-old niece Haley will be watching her (along with her dad one day a week and my mom the other).

I worked as a nanny some years ago. It was my all-time favorite job (sorry, 826, you take the silver on this one), and it ended about as horribly as it possibly could have.

I have since vowed never to have a nanny, because that’s a difficult relationship to navigate. The better she is with your child, the happier you are (at first), and the more jealous you are (later). You can’t win. If you’re not jealous of her, your nanny’s not doing a good enough job is the long and short of it.

I am hoping to beat the system, as it were, by hiring someone who: 1) I am delighted to give money to, and 2) I want to be as close as possible to my daughter anyway. The baby LOVES the nanny? AWESOME, because that nanny is her cousin, and will be around for her entire life. Instead of sitting around at working thinking about how SOME STRANGER is having a hundred and one sweet moments with my baby every day, I get to sit around and think about how my dear, very beloved niece is having a marvelous time with my sweet, very adorable baby. I *think* it’ll be a win-win, as much as me being away from Violet thirty hours a week can be.

Before having this baby, I didn’t really know any babies. I had a sort of “I’ll go back full time and we’ll save up some money, and then when she’s actually DOING stuff in a couple of years I’ll go to part time.” I thought babies were puddles of human beings. And, very likely, OTHER PEOPLE’S babies are. But not MY baby.

And I guess that’s it for us for now. Violet’s making noises, and I do not want to miss one waking moment this last week.


PS Interestingly, this is the post I’ve edited down the most. It’s a tricky subject, being a working mom or being a stay-at-home mom, and I don’t want to offend anyone. I make no judgements. I guess I’ll save my ruminations on that for another day.

Dear Amy,

I’ve never been a nanny, but I did spent some time toddler-sitting in my early twenties.  That experience may have been the thing which solidified my personal baby-making agenda, or non-agenda, as it were.  Kids are pretty gross, dude.  Some of them are cute and some of them are fun and some of them are complete terrors but ALL of them are gross, at some point.  It’s not even the poop and mucus and spit-up I mind so much, (though I just gagged a little even typing that out) it’s the stickyness.  EVERYTHING gets sticky. And who knows what the hell it even once was that is now sticking to you, it doesn’t matter, it’s all somehow the same two shades of red or off-white and somehow it is all over everything you are touching and wearing.  It was also during this period that I concluded that wet wipes are basically the greatest invention of humankind and also that you should probably not have cats and toddlers in the same house, as this can lead to angry, sticky kitties, which I believe we can both agree is a perilous situation.

Babies are a bit easier, I’ll admit.  At the very least they cannot wantonly destroy pets and household items, and they are delightful in their wide-eyed amazement.  Hey baby, check out my house keys.  Awesome, right?  Look how shiny and jingly.  Yep, those are my boobs.  You seem pretty into looking at those.  I’ll just sit here while you stare, and think about how 20 years from now that behavior will probably not be as well-tolerated as it is at this moment.

I suspect whatever overwhelming maternal feelings people seem to have toward human children I have toward animal children.  I’ve recently signed up to volunteer at a songbird rescue, and while I haven’t yet started I gather my duties will consist of grinding up various items and then feeding them to baby birds with an empty syringe, and also SMILING ALL DAY LONG.  I can’t even EXPLAIN how excited I am to hang out with naked, peeping birdlets all day.  When I shared this news with a friend he replied “EW.”

So, tomato, tomato, I guess.


One thought on “On Sticky Situations

  1. Haley says:

    Amy Sumerton, I love you TOO MUCH.
    Also, is SONGBIRD RESCUE REALLY A THING PEOPLE CAN DO!!?!?!?!?! MY HEART. That sounds absolutely divine.

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