how quickly we forget

The best part of my glamorous book tour so far is that it’s not that glamorous, and so I am staying with old friends most places I go rather than the Four Seasons (or wherever they put up John Grisham when he comes to town). This week, I spent two days in Chicago, and got to stay with two mom friends I don’t see enough. see their houses, see a bit of their daily routines, and best of all, see their kids.

The other morning my friend Cece was leaving to drive her three kids (4,5, and 7) to school. She also has a two-month old daughter– a typically agreeable fourth baby, taking in the world from the vantage point of her bouncy seat. “Would you mind if I left her for half an hour?” she asked, rather than dragging the baby along like every other day, and I, of course, said, no problem! I was looking forward to an extended chance to hold her. She was the kind of teensy that seems impossible once your own are no longer newborns, the kind of small that your own kids must have been once, but not that you can really recall. 

But once Cece left in the minivan, and it was just me and the baby,  I was a little freaked out. What if the baby cried? (She did.)  What if I didn’t know what to do? (I didn’t.)  I ended up feeding her a bottle, then burping her only after I let her guzzle almost the whole thing (oops), then changing her, then changing her again when she wet the diaper as soon as I put it on her, then dressing her once I noticed her pajamas were soggy. The baby, as most two-months olds would be, was not too happy about the two diaper changes in five minutes, and was furious when I tried to get a fresh onesie on. At least the exertion made her tired. “Stick her in the car seat,” Cece said, “she’ll go right to sleep,” and so I did, but then I wasn’t sure if I should buckle her in, but then she cried when I tried to buckle her in and the straps seemed too tight but I wasn’t sure and she was still crying and so I buckled her in halfway, which seemed better than nothing. 

By the time Cece got back, I was exhausted. It was stressful in that first kid, first day home from the hospital way. How could that be? I had three of them! I mean, I must have: I have pictures. But as soon as you’re not doing it anymore, it’s immediately as scary as if you never did it at all. No wonder new moms are so freaked out. How quickly we forget.