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Mommy versus nature

April 19, 2012
Logo design by Christine Hepner

Every 3 or 4 days for the first 4 weeks of Little F’s life, we had to make trips to the pediatrician to monitor his weight. Manhattan is amazingly convenient for travel, usually. Subway, bus, taxi, car, biking, walking–there are so many options to choose, until you have a baby with you and then none of them is convenient. I didn’t want to take my two-week old baby on the subway; it’s loud and dirty and in a hole in the ground accessible only by stairs. Bus or taxi? I can’t strap a car seat into a bus seat and no taxi driver is going to pull over when they see the car seat in your hand. Walking a mile one-way didn’t appeal. It was June and very hot. I was terrified of driving alone with the baby in the back seat of the car.

Fortunately in Manhattan, most problems have a solution, if you have the money to throw at them. We don’t, but I was going to throw it anyway, at least in its plastic form. There’s a service called Kids Kab and for a small fortune, they will pick you up in a minivan equipped with an infant seat, drive you to your doctor’s appointment, wait for you, and then drive you home again. One driver even offered to walk up the stairs with the baby.

By early July, F’s weight was stable and our pediatrician told us we didn’t have to come back until he was 3-months old. We sublet our apartment and went to northeastern PA to stay at my mother’s big house in the woods by the lake accessible only by dirt roads. Paradise, in the summer. More than anything, I was looking forward to the help from my mother and sister, and to not having to walk up 4 flights of stairs. I couldn’t wait.

At heart, I am a city girl. I’ve lived for all but about 10 years within 20 miles of the Empire State Building. I did live in PA during high school, college, and for a couple of years after graduation, but then in 1985, I moved back to NYC and have been here more or less ever since.

City or country person–it all depends on where your comfort zone is, I guess. I’ll get on the subway in Manhattan at midnight alone, close my eyes, and take a nap. In PA once the sun goes down, I won’t walk to the end of my mother’s driveway. There are lions and tigers and bears there. Well, ok, not tigers and lions, but there are bears. And coyotes, and raccoon, and opossum. Now, while I’m sure a possum has never hurt anyone, they are undoubtedly the ugliest creatures on earth. The first time I saw one, I thought aliens had landed.

D was taking a major hit for the team, too. He was commuting every day to Newark NJ so that we could stay together in PA. He had to leave at 6 a.m. each morning, and he didn’t get home until around 8 p.m. I was trying to get up as soon as I heard the baby and take him into another room to feed him so that D could get as much sleep as possible.

So, around 4 a.m. one night, I found myself in my mother’s family room trying to breastfeed F, both of us half-dozing and exhausted. Our cats had come with us for the summer and all of a sudden our big, pudgy, bad-ass calico cat, Miss Pinky, started making her weird hunting chattering noise. Cat owners know what I’m talking about. Here’s a video of Miss Pinky chasing the red laser pointer light.

Not too bright, but a relentless hunter.

Then our other cat, Dr. Zhivago, joined in and started slinking around in the dark and rubbing up against my legs. Hmmmmm…..very suspicious cat behavior, but I was too tired for it to even register.

But then all of a sudden, I heard Miss Pinky trying to climb up to the fireplace mantle. I was so angry at her for almost waking the baby. I opened my eyes to see if I could reach her and make her quiet down. She was on the very end of the mantle, and just a mere inch or two out of her reach, hanging on for dear life to the end of the curtain rod, was a FLYING SQUIRREL! It was staring straight at me and ready to leap.

That was the moment I knew I was a mother. I didn’t scream and run, saving myself first. I stood up slowly, not even disturbing F from feeding and moved slowly but surely back to the guest bedroom. I put F in his crib, stuffed a towel under the door, and stared at D until the poor guy opened his eyes at 5:30 a.m.

Of course, D is really a city boy at heart, too. There was nothing he was going to do about the flying squirrel in the family room, either. My nephew Timothy, not a city boy, came over later that day with a humane trap, but we never did find that squirrel. It was the highlight of Miss Pinky’s summer though.

Next time: D promises he’s going to tell his side of the story!

Thanks for following and reading! I’d love to hear your story of IVF. Please leave your comments below.

© 2012

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Please comment below!

  1. grayhairedmom permalink

    Reblogged this on grayhairedmom and commented:

    I’m in Atlantic City today, so I’m “repurposing” an earlier post…..I’m feeling a little trilogy coming on….xoxo!


  2. Margaret Hand Cicalese permalink

    Too too funny ..its weird when certain things happen to your children and without a second thoguht you respond…that’s Parenthood in all its glory!! I knew I had truly became a parent when my baby daughter had come down with stomach flu and was obviously going to be sick. Her stomach started convulsing and the next thing I know I’m putting my hands out to catch it. Never even gave it a second thought…unitl later….UGH!!!!


    • grayhairedmom permalink

      We’ve been so lucky so far. The worst thing I’ve had to deal with is a really bad runny nose. I’m sure the projectile this and that will happen! Thanks for letting me know you’re reading!!


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