Last week, I shocked and appalled a group of girlfriends at a dinner party by telling them a dirty secret which I now cannot resist telling the whole world. Prepare to judge.
The first three months of Peppers life, he was such a difficult, grunty, malcontent little thing, that I hated him. I loved him. Loved him way more than I hated him. But yeah, there were times I felt the H word toward him. I was reminded of this recently when a friend, and adoptive mother, linked to this post on facebook. Honestly, I think we have to widen the scope of that post to include all parents. Sure if you’ve given birth and especially if you’re lactating, you have a bunch of lovey hormones coursing through you, nature’s way of ensuring you will care for your offspring. And humans get A LOT of those hormones, because honestly, what other mammal would put in the insane effort it takes to raise a human infant that can’t even walk on it’s own for like a year? But real love isn’t just infatuation hormones.
Peppers was a crazy awful baby who required an unbelievable amount of care. I was best at calming him (sort of) so I always got “stuck” with him while others got to enjoy Salty, who was just the easiest, peasiest little baby imaginable.
One night after a particularly difficult twelfth nursing of the day when Peppers had finally taken the volume down from wailing to puling, I thought, “I’m just going to write that kid a letter.” I’m talking about that old exercise you’re supposed to do to forgive people: write them a letter with all your grievances and then tear it up and let it go. So I got on the computer and wrote him a major nasty gram. I can’t find it now, so I must have destroyed it, but I remember it had all sorts of things about how he was going to grow up to be a horrible curmudgeon with no friends, and I would be the only person on earth who could stand to be around him. Yeah. That bad.
Sometimes it’s really hard to be a mom. Sometimes it’s really hard to pretend you love your job as much as everyone thinks you should. Sometimes it’s lonely to feel like you’re the only evil parent on earth who hates your kid tonight (EVEN THOUGH YOU LOVE HIM WAY MORE THAN YOU HATE HIM, DO NOT FORGET THAT).
Okay, happy ending coming. I gave up dairy, Peppers magically stopped grunting and screaming all day and all night, and we became besties. Seriously. Somewhere between infancy and toddlerdome, Peppers became the most darling little thing on two legs. Huge infectious smile, the best laugh you’ve ever heard, hilarious, incredibly affectionate and warm, obedient, tidy, smart. I mean, this kid is on fire. Everyone loves him, and he loves everyone right back. I can’t live without that little boy and his epic snuggles. And for all my pains those first few months, he pays me back with interest. In the past couple days he’s told me:
“Whoa, Mom! You are so beautiful. You are a princess!”
“Oh, Mooooommy. You’re such a good person.”
“I love you so, so, duper, duper, super, duper, all day much, Mommy!”
Last night he was whimpering quietly in his bed, so I went in to see what was up. He couldn’t quite figure out how to get his covers on right, so I helped him out then put my head down onto his pillow. He smooshed his nose against mine, then gave me a huge, smile and fell asleep while I stroked his hair. And my heart was bursting with love, so much that it physically hurts to look at his beautiful sleeping face.
Let’s also be clear that there are different levels of hate. I never hated Peppers the way you hate Nazi’s and cancer or anything. More the way you hate things like dangling participles, people who cut in line at Kiss & Ride, and Katy Perry. That kind of hate.
Now I see why my kids sleep anywhere but their beds. Just out of frame is the world’s most loungable, nappable couch that would easily fit five let alone three. Shrug.