Thursday, July 10, 2008

The gut-wrenching, dagger-through-the-heart agony that is a mother's love

I didn't know it would be this intense to love your child. When Katie was first born, I can remember telling Manus that had I known how much my heart would actually hurt from loving her so much - I felt real pain - that I don't think I would have had any children. Now, looking back on it, perhaps that was a little of the post-partum talking...

I hear myself telling Katie, "I love you so much I just want to eat you up!" But the thing is, I really do. Like, hugging her and kissing her isn't enough. I want to nibble on her toes, pinch her cheeks (all four of them), squeeze her so tight that her little eyes bug out of her head. I want to breathe her in, I want to ingest her... Just loving her doesn't quench my need for her.
Just yesterday I said to Manus over lunch,

"Do you think it's like creepy and maybe a little inappropriate that I want to kiss Katie all the time?"
"But, I mean, I kiss her on the lips."
"That's okay. She is your child."
"But with tongue?"

Stunned silence. I like to get Manus all riled up. I kid. I laugh. I usually laugh alone.

But seriously, don't call the fuzz, I don't use tongue.

And, just to keep things fair, I don't even use tongue with Manus.

The other side to loving someone so much is the freaking worry that comes with it. And wildly inappropriate and drastically grandiose worrying is my strong suit.

Being a nurse is not a good career choice for a hypochondriac. I just learned the names of the illnesses that I have.

Now we have a little hypochondria by proxy in this house. Last week Katie went through a phase where she was not sleeping, really clingy and needy and she didn't want to eat.

I convinced myself that she was becoming autistic from the MMR vaccine (which, p.s., gave her the measles last month) and that she was in acute renal failure. Now I know what you are thinking, that I am crazy and I don't even make sense cause real clingy is the opposite of autism, but as my father likes to say, Please don't confuse me with the facts.

I had to put a temporary ban on Google when Katie was first born because I was freaking myself out with all the crap I was looking up - baby acne, the bump behind her ear (oh wait, there is one on the other side too..), the color of her poop. The frequency of her poop. The consistency - Holy shit, the first time I fed her bananas I was sure she had a large intestine full of worms!! I saved the diaper to show my mother for a second opinion. You guessed it, not worms.

The worst thing that ever happened to me was Katie turning one. Cause now she is supposed to give up the bottle and the formula. But then how will I know she is getting her nutrients? I depend on enfamil for her vitamins and minerals and ADH or ADHD something. I have read guidelines on how much of what toddlers should eat, there are diets and cookbooks.
I am in a panic about whether or not she got all her servings of fruit, veg, protein, dairy, omega 3s, antioxidants, probiotics! And how could she? I was drinking a juice box of apple juice (shouldn't give it to the kids cause its full of sugar and where's the fiber?) and it boasted that it was "1 of my daily 5" servings of fruit. Five servings? I am not hungry enough. And Katie sure isn't either. She will shove a whole banana in her mouth though... wonder how many servings that is.

I couldn't tell you the last green thing she ate. She must be her mother's child. No veggies, only sweets. One day she got caught red-handed, literally with her hand in the cookie jar.

I do not know how she got into the chocolates as fast as she did. I left the room just to throw away a dirty diaper and walked back in to this scene.
All I could do was laugh.

Then of course, after obtaining the incriminating proof, I spent an hour on Google search trying to find out if she was going to die from eating chocolate at such a young age.

Talk about shoveling food in! I told you before that girl doesn't chew. It goes out the same way it goes in. And most meals she does do a little gag as too much food slips to the back. Before each meal I do a mental run-through the infant Heimlich maneuver and what is the quickest route to get her out of the high chair and what is the ratio of breaths to compressions in child CPR?
Then I really do myself in cause I'm watching shows like "101 more things removed from the human body". Hand to God I did not make up that title. Shake your head and say, "Crazy Irish TV" all you want, but sorry, it was an American program. Anyway, part of the show was dedicated to all the things that kids ate. Double A batteries, for heaven's sake! And so many coins... oy vey! All that has to happen is one coin getting stuck horizontally... Stop it. stop it.

Since Katie was born I say a prayer each and every night that Katie stay healthy and safe and not be dead in the morning. And this is not so much because I am religious as much as soooo superstitious. I've started this thing now and it's worked so far so there is no way I can stop it now. I'm just glad I didn't make a deal with God that first night that I would give up chocolate or beer or something in exchange for her safety. I'd really be kicking myself if I'd bound myself that way...

Manus seems to be dealing with my neuroses and superstitious rituals pretty well. Secretly, I think he is a little glad I have someone else to focus my angst toward. I am no longer telling him on a daily basis that I think he has leukemia or esophageal varices. I am, however, keeping a close eye on those moles...

I think I keep my crazy fairly well tucked away out of plain sight. I don't think I am going to make Katie afraid of her own shadow or scared to cross the street (not that she will be allowed out of the house. ever.) I know she will get some bumps and bruises along the way and I'm okay with that (I do, in a panic, beg that there not to be any permanent disfigurement the instant I hear her cry out in pain) but, I let her explore the stairs and things that are hot and/or sharp. I let her eat food right off the floor all the time. I don't think she will ever know that every morning that I don't wake up hearing her babbling from the crib that I am convinced that she is dead.

Now, don't go calling me morbid or sick or disturbed or tell me that I have to go see a shrink about my fears and anxiety. I let you into my little world of wacko, don't make me regret it.

And besides, in other words of wisdom from my father;

"If you admit it, it's not wrong."


Clodagh said...

Oh I'm soooo glad that I'm not the only one with these thoughts. I hear you Malinda I hear you!!

Orflaith said...

As the mom of a teenager let me just say that it never goes away. Only now you are dealing with, going out with friends in their car, staying over in a friends house with no adult supervision and the opposite sex! The joys of motherhood! And then you worry cos in just over a years time he will be gone, out into the big bad world, forging a life for himself. It never ends, But motherhood is good!

Anonymous said...

"I laugh alone." Hilarious! Poor Manus didn't know WHAT he was getting into when he married into this family.

I worry about my kids all the time, too. I think it gets a little better once they are able to talk and let you know if something is wrong/hurting. Of course, that talking thing is a double-edged sword. I once took a dirty diaper to the dr. because I was convinced that, due to the incredible smell, Trey had some kind of rare, semi-tropical baby disease. Um, no. He had just fermented the veggies a bit too long in his intestines. P-U!
Teenagers are a whole other story. It's like they have a mind of their own or something!

Oh, and ask Anne about biting babies' cheeks. Not good, not good!

Anonymous said...

So what! I bite babies cheeks and sometimes leave a mark! Whatcha gonna do about it??? lol...I really do! I can't help it. Poor Max...

Honestly...I have the same worries as you. I worry about everyone though....including myself. I was getting a nice relaxing pregnancy massage earlier this year and half way through realized I was going to die delivering Max. I wanted nothing more than to leave right then and go write the girls letters to read after I died. So ridiculous. I could go on and on....

Don't you wish you could put them back in your belly?? I say that all the time! I love you so much I want to put you back in and get as close to you as I can!!!

Anne :)

Debbie said...

I thought my worries during the pregnancy were bad enough, but now I find myself tearing up just looking at Emma. It's the obsessive thoughts that I just KNOW something is going to happen, and there's no way I could bare the thought of loosing her.

Crazy, I know.

xandra said...

Dont eat the baby.
Manus will notice when pieces are missing.