Little blank slates

Having another child, six years after the last, has been a strange experience. Especially because my first two boys were 18 months apart, born when I was 19…then 20. I had no clue what I was doing, blindly following the next bit of advice from whoever felt the need to give it to me. This time around, I had six long years to contemplate my mistakes, my regrets, and make firm decisions about what I would do differently. And so, I planned a pregnancy. I took all natural prenatals. I quit smoking. I drank lots of water. I ate well. I exercised. I religiously applied creams and lotions to my ever expanding belly. I refused stupid prenatal testing. Any aches or pains or minor annoyances were solved naturally, with homeopathics and chiropractics. I labored on the toilet, on my birthing ball, listening to Norah Jones, and Animal pushed his way into the world in my very own queen size bed. He had no suctioning, we waited to cut the cord, he nursed immediately, we rubbed the vernix into his skin. My chiropractor adjusted him soon after birth. We fought for 12 long, excruciating weeks to breastfeed successfully. We triumphed. He thrived. He received no medications, no vaccinations. He consumed breastmilk alone until 7 months, then nothing but organics.

Of course, there have been mistakes this past year. The night I felt like smothering him with his pacifier, sleep deprived and hormonal and sobbing and B woke with a start to find that crazy look in my eye and rescued us. The times I’ve yelled a little too loud when I’ve found his hands in the toilet, or when he’s fought so hard during a diaper change and I can’t keep him still. But beyond that, there’s nothing. He’s a clean slate. Still so new and innocent.

Einstein said today, “I can’t wait until Animal is old enough to play video games with me.” I promptly responded with “NO. No, he won’t play video games. I don’t want to ruin his brain.” As if implying that Einstein and Pigpen have already been ruined, dumbed down, numb, hypnotized, transfixed in front of the television screen.

And now, a doctor has prescribed a powerful antibiotic to kill off the bug that has kept Rylan sick for 3 weeks now, and I can’t bear to fill the prescription. I have to be so careful about what I put in his body. So many things have the power to harm him.

I can’t even bear the thought of his birthday cake. All that refined sugar and fat and artery clogging shit being pumped into him and everyone clapping and laughing and egging him on and taking pictures.

In many ways, I feel like I used the last pregnancy as my chance to fix the mistakes of my past. To prove to myself that I could do it right. What happens, I wonder, when the inevitable fuck ups happen? How will I feel? Will I think I have failed myself? Will I crave another child, another beginning, another fresh start?

In a few weeks I will be getting an IUD, which (if all goes well) should provide birth control for 10 years. Until I am 38 years old. Until I am sure there will be no more babies coming. It’s got me so introspective. I can’t imagine an end, and yet I realize that there has to be one. I just have to keep reminding myself that the boys are still okay and they can’t be left unfinished. They aren’t like the apartments I got bored of, packing up my things and leaving on impulse. They aren’t the diaries that I gave up on, halfway through, wanting something new and clean. They aren’t the classes I dropped, the jobs I walked out on. They are works in progress, little humans, still needy and with so much left to be taught. I just have to keep pushing through, and hoping that as they grow, I’ll grow too, and the mistakes won’t be so frequent.

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3 Responses to “Little blank slates”


  1. 1 Magdalena October 12, 2006 at 6:08 pm

    I felt this way; and continue to feel this way, about each and every one of my boys. I think it syems from the incredible need to control them until you can’t possibly any more- so that you can protect them from the world we live in. Part ofthat world includes choices that are not the healthiest; but you have to know that you do all you can. Beyond that, the things they discover or learn to enjoy despite your preferences aren’t going to change them as people. There was a transition from organic fruit bars to Halloween dougnut balls. It makes me sick to think that they sometimes eat this crap, but I realized the best i can do is keep them vegetarian, and even then I have to prepare for them deciding to change their minds. You have good intentions, Mama, and that is all that counts. It really is; and good intentions really do matter.

  2. 2 thordora October 13, 2006 at 7:05 am

    I look at it this way-I was a countrary little wench who didn’t listen to my parents, even when they were right. You can give them the information, and hope.

    I guess part of me always knows they will leave me eventually, and I always prepare for that.

    Good post

  3. 3 Areto October 16, 2006 at 2:24 pm

    aah, we all get fucked up in the end in one way or another:P and there’s probably a lot worse things he could experience than antiobiotics, birthday cake, and video games….s/a neglect, abuse, lack of love, etc etc and we all know he’s not in danger of that. so don’t worry so much, but on that same token i understand. i used to say i’d be the parent who never let their kid eat sugar or do anything fun!


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