OK, so it’s been awhile, but I have a good excuse – a very loud and slightly smelly excuse that wriggles and thrashes and poops on itself multiple times a day. My second beautiful daughter, Georgia Ruth, was born May 30 at Touro, weighing 7 pounds, 13 ounces and measuring 20 inches. She is healthy and perfect, a robust eater and … well, not the worst sleeper I’ve ever known (that honor goes to Ruby in spades – sleepless, fussy, nightmarish-blur-of-pain spades).
Since then, I haven’t done much of anything beyond laundry and nursing and watching “Law & Order” and "Gilmore Girls" in breast milk-stained sweatpants. If I really feel like living it up, sometimes the baby and I drive across the Causeway and back.
Every so often, I have visitors, and when they get up to leave, it takes everything I have not to cling to their legs and beg them not to go. Because this is New Orleans, my high school sweetheart’s mom came by and brought me a lasagna and some cookies. We reminisced about the days in which her son and I were the extremely nerdy literary “it couple”: I edited the school newspaper, and he edited the literary magazine. Now I work as a journalist, and he works as a bartender, and in the wake of the news about the Times-Picayune, I am not sure which one of us came out ahead. Journalism: Moderately better job prospects than poetry!
Occasionally, I go to the grocery store or the post office or the library. Once a month, I get to wash the cloth diapers with bleach. A couple of times now, my mom has watched the baby so my husband and I can get dinner out. I’ve gone to a few birthday parties with Ruby, and on the mornings when I drop her off at day camp, I treat myself to an iced mocha at the only PJ’s that has a drive-through and thus doesn’t require taking the baby out of the car.
I guess this all sounds like complaining, but really, it isn’t. The days of my maternity leave with Ruby were very much the same – a dearth of adult conversation, a wealth of bad TV, the sheer monotony of caring for an infant – but this time around, I appreciate it because I know how quickly it all goes.
I look at Ruby, 5 years old and lanky with bruised shins and tangled hair and a little bit of sunburn on her face, and I remember so clearly her tiny head wobbling all over the place, milk curdled in her neck folds, chubby dimpled hands in her toothless mouth – just like Georgia – and I realize, just like countless mothers before me, “My God, they grow up so fast.”