I had a 16 month old, Flynn, and a newborn, Molly. Molly was born two weeks prior by c-section and I was blessed with lots of family support. For those first 2 weeks I had more help than jobs. My mom made meals, my mother-in-law helped with laundry and many helped with babysitting, diaper changes and cleaning. It was a very happy time. Our family was growing and I was immensely grateful for two healthy children. As time passed, family members returned to their busy lives and slowly we adapted to our new family of four.
I will never forget my very first day alone in the house with two babies. They were both in diapers and I had my work cut out for me but I was excited about it. I like a challenge. Especially when it involves screaming babies, lots of spit up and cleaning up more poop than a dog park.
The hubs left for work and I could tell by the love note of to-do’s, that he believed in me. I have two babies and two hands. What’s the problem? Throw in the fact that I was a labor and delivery nurse and it sealed the deal for the hubs. He was confident. Much more confident than me. I distinctly remember watching him back out of the driveway. He was bopping to his music and to be honest it made me sick. I knew he was going to work but in my postpartum warped head he was well on his way to freedom. I muttered things like “Who does that asshole think he is?” I spent most of the morning walking around the house having a nice little pity party and talking to myself like a complete psycho. I’ll admit it. I was overwhelmed. I jockeyed my time between breastfeeding and Elmo.
The hours passed slower than my grandmother’s bowels but eventually my big moment arrived. Nap time! Flynn went down without a problem and I was thrilled to spend some quiet moments with my newest addition. Nursing a newborn seemed enjoyable and easy without a 16 month old flopping on the ground begging for me to hold him or trying to lift my shirt to see what I was doing. I finally had a little peace. I nursed her until she was full and then tucked her into her bassinet for a snooze. For the first time all day, I felt like I had my act together. Two kids really aren’t so bad when they are sound asleep. I even found a little time to take a shower. Carefully, I wheeled the bassinet, where Molly was fast asleep, into the bathroom and started the shower. Norm, our yellow lab, followed me in and laid on the bath mat the way he always did.
Before I become a mother, I took a shower for granted. Now I know better. It’s not only a place to get clean; it’s also alone time. In my mind, I was at the spa. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes letting the warm water pour onto my back. All was going well until I heard Norm growling. Norm didn’t have a mean bone in his body but he protected us. Typically, he would growl if he heard a noise in the house. It wasn’t unusual for him to growl if he heard the water pipes clanking or a truck outside. I assumed he was hearing one of the many phantom noises and reassured him that everything was ok.
Shhh! It’s OK buddy. Settle down, you don’t want to wake the baby. It’s OK. Good boy. Lay back down and let Mommy shower.
Comforted by my words, he settled down and curled back up into a ball on the bath mat and closed his eyes. He was content for a few minutes until he heard the sound that would change my entire day.
Oh my God, I didn’t prepare for this.
The doorbell. The mother-effin door bell.
Nothing sent Norm into a bigger barking frenzy. I kissed my spa experience goodbye. I knew I shouldn’t have gotten cocky and tried to take a shower. I frantically washed the shampoo out of my hair. Norm jumped to his feet. His ears were up and he gave a big
My heart sunk. I could hear Molly stirring in the bassinet as Norm became increasingly more excited. I talked to him from inside the shower as I finished up. Begging him to ignore the doorbell.
Shhhhh! Please. Shhhhh! Lay down. It’s OK Normie. Shhhh! It’s OK.
I prayed to the baby sleeping Gods.
Please let whoever the hell is ringing my doorbell GO AWAY!
Unfortunately for me, my prayer was not answered.
Norm simply couldn’t contain himself. He jumped up and bolted toward the bathroom door. It must have been quite a sight. 100 lbs of Labrador Retriever slammed into a newborn bassinet sending it sailing across the bathroom into the wall. All of the commotion woke Molly up and sent her into a hysterical almost inconsolable high-pitched screaming frenzy. The bathroom door was closed and Norm wanted out. He continued to bark and scratch at the door begging for me to open it. He was by all standards a caged animal. Molly continued to scream hysterically and I was completely frazzled. I began talking to myself.
Oh shit. I need to hurry. Molly needs me. Shit, I still have conditioner in my hair. Oh? Who cares? I’ll rinse it later. No, I better rinse it now. Yes, Molly is safe. Hysterical but safe. I’ll rinse it quick. [deep breath] Who is ringing the doorbell? Ugh. This sucks. How could this happen? I prepared. I planned. All I wanted to do was take a shower. OK, I’m done. It’s OK baby. I’m coming. Mommy is done. Norman!!! Norman…I’m gonna shoot you! You created this freaking mess!
I wrapped myself in a towel and picked up Molly to soothe her. Eventually, we made our way to the bathroom door and opened it to settle Norm’s nerves. He bolted out the door, skidded around the furniture and picked up so much speed on the wooden floors in the hallway that he bulldozed into the wall to stop himself. I watched in horror as a picture frame fell off of the wall and crashed to the floor. Norm wasn’t fazed by any of the damage he was leaving behind him. He was on a mission. As he was turning the corner to go down the stairs, he heard it again.
That dog nearly lost his mother-effin mind. He tried to move quicker than his body would allow him and his hind legs toppled underneath his body causing him to slide down the wooden steps and crash into Flynn’s bedroom door. I stood at the top of the stairs, my hair dripping water all over in the floor and watched my world fall apart.
Norm’s barking terrified Molly and once again she began cry. That’s when I felt it. Breastfeeding mothers know what I’m talking about. It’s that moment when the sound of a high-pitch screaming baby sends a direct message to your boobs to “download” and to put it mildly, mine did. They downloaded and unloaded right there in the hallway. Milk was squirting everywhere. I felt like one of those sprinklers from the 80’s .
Ahhhhhhh! What the hell is happening to me? Aliens are taking over!
There was no stopping the chaos going on in that house. I was naked, squirting milk, completely unprepared and confused.
Seemed to be all I could say, over and over again. In efforts to slow the pressure of my squirting boobs, I allowed Molly to nurse on one side and pressed a towel against the other side. I was about as comfortable as a thong up Oprah’s ass but at least the baby wasn’t screaming.
Of course, now I had a new problem. Flynn was awake and crying. It turns out that having a 100 lb dog barrel through your bedroom door barking and jumping is not a soothing way to wake up. It must have been a terrifying because Flynn was screaming like someone murdered Elmo. The life he once knew as an only child was officially and abruptly over. In some ways, I could relate to how he was feeling.
I wrapped the towel around my body and crouched down as I made my way down the seemingly long flight of stairs, still nursing Molly. Norm continued to bark and scratch at the front door. He ran from window to window panting and barking trying to see who was outside. There is nothing I wanted more than for the doorbell to stop ringing and for the visitor to kindly LEAVE. She was relentless. I’m sure all the commotion inside and my car in the driveway confused her. I heard a female voice on the other side of the door saying hi to Norman and asking him if mommy was home but I was not about to invite her annoying ass inside.
Of course I’m here! Don’t ya see my car in the driveway? Don’t ya hear two kids screaming their heads off and a dog going ape shit? I’m naked and slightly frazzled. We’ll talk tomorrow.
She couldn’t seem to accept the fact that I was not going to answer the door no matter how long she stood there. Norm continued with his insanity. I tried to ignore him as I helped Flynn out of his crib and into my free arm. I sat down on the glider in his room where I sat so many times before when Flynn needed consoling. He snuggled into my shoulder that was still wet from the shower and his crying eased a little bit at a time. I stared off into space and rocked them both. I wondered if I would ever get dressed or how the hell other moms managed two kids gracefully. I was a complete mess and the only logical thing to do at this point was to cry. So I did just that. I cried until eventually…I laughed. Nobody warned me about this kind of shit. I had everything under control until I heard the ding-dong. It was the damn ding-dong that made it all wrong.
I learned a great parenting lesson that awful day. It doesn’t matter how much you like schedules and control of your life; there is no possible way that you can think of every single detail. I’ve learned to be flexible. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow, if you know what I mean?