Parenting is silly.
Common sense flies out the window, as do all your lofty ideals about the absolutely perfect way you will raise your child. You won't make those mistakes the other parents make, after all; your child will be quiet, and docile. She'll be well-behaved in public. He'll soothe himself to sleep by four months old! My child won't be a picky eater. I'll ensure they eat nothing but vegetables and fruits, grown at a local organic farm and pureed in my own home!
All of these ideals, of course, sort of ignore the part where the baby that's about to come into your life is a tiny squalling human...
The thing about humans is that we are completely unreasonable.
Audra mostly eats whatever we're eating for dinner, but sometimes she didn't wake up happy or doesn't feel well or is just feeling especially difficult today and I give her strawberry cereal puffs and some Gerber cheese puffs and comfort myself with the fact that it's something, and something is better than nothing. I have never pureed a single batch of baby food. I bought it and then she started eating real food and you know what, what matters is that the broccoli and the carrot got into her, not whether or not they came from a pouch at Publix.
When I wake up in the middle of the night and can't sleep, I tiptoe around to try not to wake up Jason and shush the dog's happy wiggles when I come out into the living room, hoping he won't make enough noise for Audra to hear it in her nursery. I brew coffee by taking the coffee grinder into the furthest corner away, wrapping it in a towel, or even taking it outside so the noise won't be enough to bother anyone.
I drink in silence. I stay in my place, making as little noise as possible, coaxing the dog to curl up at my feet so she won't hear him pattering around.
When Audra wakes up in the middle of the night and can't sleep, she peeps at first. She has figured out that the blue light that is always on in her room (IE, the top of the baby monitor) has something to do with causing us to hear her, so she tends to direct her noise in that direction. When that doesn't wake us up, she'll start shouting or making awful whiny noises until one of us stumbles in, bleary-eyed and barely conscious.
(Yes, we wait to see if she'll go back to sleep on her own. Sometimes she does. More often, she just gets louder. Our choice is usually between 15 minutes of quiet cheerfulness before she falls back asleep and forty-five minutes of listening to her cry. We make the choice that involves more sleep, and frankly I have no idea how anyone does otherwise and lives to be judgmental about it on the internet.)
There are days where I feel like I want to do nothing more than just sit still for an hour and there simply. isn't. time.
I go from waking up to dropping her off at daycare to work to home to starting on dinner to her coming home from daycare to dinner itself to dinner for her to playtime to bathtime to bottle to bed. Then I blink and it's 9:30 and I might have half an hour to read or stare blankly into space until we need to sleep.
Right now, with Jason not working and unemployment still up in the air, I like to add "worry incessantly about money" into that list, at least six or seven times a day. It's exciting! I find it's best to worry about money at 10:45 at night when there is absolutely nothing either of us can do about it.
I'm a worrier, by nature. I run myself in circles by default, and have to be coaxed into relaxing. It's not that I don't laugh often; I do. But behind my laughter is a constant circle of things I should be worrying about or things I shouldn't worry about but can't help it.
When I let myself sit still, though, to really be still and be here with my baby, this is what I find:
Parenting is silly.
If I don't worry about money or time for ten minutes, she'll have my sides hurting with laughter. She's unreasonable, and even in her all-consuming fury we can't help sometimes but laugh, because sometimes there is nothing better than laying aside reason in order to just have fun.
Her obsessive, co-dependent relationship with her toothbrush alone has been the cause of days of stress-relieving giggles.
I put her baby doll in its stroller for her to push around, and she smacked Baby in the face, shrieked happily at it, and knocked the stroller over. Then she casually yanked Baby out, threw her aside, put the stroller back up, and replaced Baby with a blue bouncy ball which she proceeded to delicately push around the room, singing "da ba ta da" to it in a soft, soothing, utterly maternal little voice.
Once, she was splashing so hard in the bathtub she hit herself in the eyes and I held her indignant little body and laughed until she forgot she was angry and we laughed together, neither one of us entirely sure what was so funny, just knowing that I and the bathroom floor were soaked too and that was perfectly fine.
The sleep deprivation may have helped me find more humor in the situation.
Sometimes, she'll just sit and make fake-laughing noises until she works herself into laughing for real. My baby girl cracks herself up.
I know I've got a couple of years until the incessant toilet humor begins, or the jokes that don't make any sense but that leave the child in question rolling on the floor in tears at their own cleverness. I've got more years than that before they're flinging themselves sullenly behind a slammed door, and I'm on the other side trying not to undo their dramatic flair by laughing myself silly at the senselessness of it all.
I just hope I can keep in mind the whole time that while parenting is important, that raising my baby (hopefully babies) is probably the most important thing I will do with my life, that there are aspects of parenting that are serious or sad, heartbreaking or heartwarming...
Parenting an irrational, unreasonable little human being is pretty silly, too.
It has to be.
Sometimes, silly is the only thing that lets us slow down and see each other.
(Also, if it wasn't for the memory and sweetness of silly, we'd never have made it during the Best Road Trip Ever.)
Today's post is my fourth while participating in the #WholeMama linkup. You can find the linkup for this week's theme, "Silly", here on Esther Emery's blog. More information on what #WholeMama is all about can be found here. My other posts as part of the linkup or just inspired by the theme are Anything But Ordinary, Space, Prayer, and A Supermom is a Sleep-Deprived Mom.