* Life with Hercules

MHT w/Hercules
This morning I was getting my daily dose of Dooce, when this particular passage resonated with me:

"Leta is not like normal kids. She’s not even like most difficult kids. She’s far worse, far more
intense, far more advanced in her tantrum throwing techniques."

Which is exactly how I've felt about Rio since the day he was born. He has always possessed an intensity that can be terrifying at the worst of times, and exasperating at best. And so it is great fun for me to read Heather's hilarious accounts of her own adventures in motherhood because I can sit back and reminisce about Rio's infancy and toddler years. The joy! The hell!

There are two memories that haunt me from when Rio was still an infant. First, he nursed around the clock, for 2 hours at a time and 20 minute breaks in between, so I didn't sleep for the first three months of his life. It wasn't until much later that I admitted to myself that I had suffered from post-partum depression, but my mother knew. I think her first clue was the time I told her, "I'm not his mother, I'm his MILK WHORE!"

My poor mother, she was so scandalized.

I also remember taking Rio out in public with me, which was rare because it was so stressful and exhausting, and invariably some well-meaning stranger would approach me in the grocery store and say, "Oh, what a beautiful baby! Don't you wish they would stay this tiny forever??"

And that's when by sheer force of will I would suppress the urge to scream "NO FUCKING WAY ARE YOU INSANE? I can't WAIT for the day when he can feed his own damn self!"

So yeah, it took me a while to adjust to my new role as a mother. It just wasn't anything like all the books told me it would be. My biggest mistake was reading The Magical Child by Joseph Chilton Pierce. No mother-to-be should read this book, unless you want to feel like a failure because you cannot anticipate your baby's every bowel movement. Because, you know, if you were really bonded with your baby like those African women, your baby wouldn't need diapers, you would just KNOW when he was about to poop.

Of course, it's entirely possible that I'm just a little too hard on myself and my expectations were unrealistic. But motherhood has been the single most difficult experience of my life, and of course the most rewarding as well. Because someday when my little Hercules has become the most benevolent Emperor of the World that the planet earth has ever seen, I will proudly take all the credit:)


Blogger momma-yaya said...

I totally agree about not reading certain types of books prior to having, and even after having, kids. I ended up with completely unrealistic ideas about babies, toddlers, parenthood, everything. Like the idea that children will be naturally inclined to desire learning (toilet learning? nah. book learning? nah. damnit). Even some of my most treasured reads (like Waldorfy type books) are good for nothing but making me cry into my pillow at night. And magazines, don't even get me started. Ahh, I had such high hopes for being the perfect, gentle, loving, granola mom ever. I'm not over it yet, but working on it.

8/31/2005 7:38 PM  
Blogger fiercelyfab said...

This is such a great post Renee...I'm totally with ya, and my baby is still an infant and I too envision it is going to take me a long time before I adjust to my biggest most challenging role and most difficult indeed.

A lot of us are really hard on ourselves and have high expectations which contribute a lot to our disappointment and at times breeds bitterness when we're on our lowest moments.

Motherhood and its ironies but we're here to tell it in our own voices and not feel guilty about not fitting the descriptions of romanticized versions of it.

9/01/2005 10:44 AM  
Blogger Renee May said...

ah, guilt! the bane of motherhood! it certainly is a challenge to reconcile our idealism with reality. and all those stupid books don't help!

thanks for sharing my pain:)

9/02/2005 10:14 AM  

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