I told myself I’d sit down and write whatever came out.

 

She isn’t even asleep yet. I put her in the crib, stuck a pacifier in her mouth, and killed the lights. I kissed her on the head and took the computer out of the case and opened it before I could change my mind. There are the tabs on safari from the last time I used this. Don’t let them lure you, I said to myself, and I clicked on Word. Of course my laptop memory is totally full so everything takes 100 years to load, and while waiting for a blank page to open, the baby monitor is screaming at me.

 

Pacifier reloaded. My baby has a

 

Baby monitor goes off again.

 

My baby has a flat spot on the back left side of her head. It is some medical sounding word that reminds me of a dinosaur name, which is fitting because when I googled it the images of worst case scenario manifestations looked not too dissimilar from some of the skulls I’ve seen in the natural history museum. Ever since I noticed it, around her 7th week of life, I felt a pit of doom in my stomach. That’s a little bit of an exaggeration but I don’t have time to find a more accurate cliché than that and still get through some amount of writing that feels satisfying.

 

Pacifier break.

 

I tried a few shhhhushes this time. We’ll see if it worked.

 

Nope.

 

20 minutes of nursing and 22 minutes of social media and news scrolling later, because what else can you do with your non-dominant hand free, I put her back down. I guess she was hungry. So I fed her before her nap instead of sleeping her after play time, so basically I screwed up the “schedule” I am desperately attempting to get her on now that I’ve reached the point of deep seated fatigue from eight weeks of night awakenings. I remember this with my first kid too…right at eight weeks I shifted from enthusiastic and confident to anxious, angry and desperate. Only right before bed though, which I feel obligated to tell you so you don’t worry that I’m home alone with my baby all day feeling that way. I am not at risk of shaking my baby or anything. God it’s weird trying to write about how you feel having a baby while considering an audience. Fuck it.

 

I’m not going to shake my baby. I will, however, give up in the evenings sometimes and tell Jesse to “just figure it out” because “I’ve tried everything” and “I don’t fucking know what she wants” and “I don’t care anymore.” In the moment I really don’t care. The crying doesn’t mean anything; it loses its sting. Again, all things I remember from the first time around. Eventually I just get so tired that bedtime is something I both crave and dread. I’m desperate for the sleep, and also so aware that I will get it in the 2-3 hour chunks used to torture people during wartime.

 

I think she actually went to sleep this time, based on the fact that I just wrote an entire two paragraphs and almost forgot there was a real baby behind this act of losing myself in the typed words on a page. God I missed this. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to write. Every couple days of new motherhood there are seismic shifts inside me, things I want to capture with words in order to fully comprehend and enjoy, because that is what writing does for me. But I can’t write. Or don’t. Mostly because I can’t bear the thought that as soon as I get in my groove it will be prematurely ended mid-flow. In the moment of deciding what to do as I find myself temporarily free, I have decided it’s better to not write at all than attempt to and be disappointed. Sounds like “better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all” is advice I should transpose for this experience. So now I’m typing, I’m actually writing…is it better than not doing it at all?

 

I mean, I won’t have time to finish this, for sure. I won’t have time to edit it. I won’t have time to develop any of the deeper ideas I stumble upon, if I ever get to the point where I stumble upon anything. I very well might just end up with stream of consciousness garbage, which I guess will be the best indicator of all of what it’s like to be a writer with a newborn in the house. How fitting.

 

I hear her grunting. I find my mind being pulled from this page while I will myself to continue typing. I don’t think she will wake all the way up, but I can’t be sure. Do I soldier on? Fight to keep my mind in the depths of this? Or do I let it float all the way back up to this room, this house, and the baby. This paragraph has taken me six times as long to type as the previous one because I am wrestling with that very thing as I type.

 

I’m trying to just keep the fingers moving on the keyboard, to use my time for quantity not quality, to just write it all out. That was a waste of a sentence.

 

Part of what I hate about motherhood is the pulling apart of myself. Last night I was explaining to Jesse, (after telling him I give up and figure it out, after he got her to sleep by having me attempt nursing for the 18th time, this time successfully)…and now I’m losing my story…ok right, the pulling apart of motherhood. I was explaining that I was finding my groove enough with the baby and my time off to be able to start dreaming again, getting my own ideas, feeling some personal drive, and wanting to start working a bit. It is now manageable enough that I can have someone watch her for 2-3 hours while I write, or plan my Wilder retreats for 2018, or whatever else. But just deciding I’m ready sets up these two competing forces: life with baby, life without, and I instantly feel guilt. Figuring out how to balance the two again is overwhelming. I find myself escaping to the extremes like “fuck it! I’ll just quit all my pursuits!” or “fuck it! I’ll just go back full time 9-5 and set up day care tomorrow!” Both of those would be fine options, but that’s not the reality of my career or life. I work for myself. I can have a more creative schedule that allows me to be home for certain kid things, like some legos before Jude heads to afternoon preschool, or having the flexibility to make chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast and delay my work day an hour. I had such a good groove going prior to this new baby. I’m ready for my groove again, but the old groove no longer fits. I need to make a new one. And making one is painful when you feel pulled so many directions.

 

God, I’m bored writing this, you must be bored to hell reading it, if you’re even still reading. I really don’t want to write about motherhood. I don’t have the answers. I was hoping I could write my way to some answers, but I don’t think that is in the cards. And even though the baby is fully deeply asleep and likely will be for thirty more minutes or more, I don’t even feel like writing anymore. I went down the only subject I had time to think of in this moment, and it was a dead end, and there isn’t really time to start over. Well, technically there is, but again, here I face the same dilemma: what is worse? Starting to write about something else and being interrupted right when it gets interesting? Or not writing at all?

 

Or what else can I do with this (maybe) 30 minutes? It’s been 3 days since I’ve had a shower. I think I’ll do that.

 

Nevermind, she’s up.