Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Nursery Ryhmes: Not Just For Children

Before Jack was born, I had a lot of fears about motherhood, many of them unfounded.  These included what pregnancy would do to my body (not much, fortunately), if I'd really think my baby was cute just because he was mine (this is one of those baby cliches that is actually true), if I would be able to give up my freedom after so many years of coming and going as I pleased (still working on that one).  But my biggest fear, and one that was probably based on legitimate concerns, was whether or not I'd have the patience to be a good mother. 

The short answer is: yes.  Jack and I are both still alive and well, so apparently I'm doing okay.
But the long answer isn't quite that simple.

As John will attest, I have a short fuse.  Oh sure, I may come across as sweet and even-tempered and absolutely lovely to be around most of the time (sarcasm intended), but in reality I can be a little ... well ... let's just say "testy."  I tend to lose patience over the smallest, least significant things: missing puzzle pieces, a messy house, torn pages in a book, Jack's insistence on playing with anything in the house that is quite clearly NOT a toy.  But what really irks me, what really chaps my proverbial hide, is when Jack flops around like a fish out of water on the changing table, especially when I'm trying to change a diaper filled with the aftermath of the large quantities of fruit and spinach John has fed Jack the day before.  I feel like a cowboy trying to wrestle a steer to the ground, desperately clinging to Jack's legs with one hand while I try to wield a baby wipe with the other.
Would it really be so bad if I hogtied Jack?  Just for a few minutes?  No?

All the while Jack is happily chatting about his "pee pee" (thanks goes once again to Daddy for that one) and waving his surprisingly heavy legs around like an upturned insect.  The only thing that manages to calm both myself and Jack down in such manic moments?

The Itsy Bitsy Spider.

I don't know why that song in particular is the most effective (I suspect it has to do with the fact that it requires hand movements), but even when it fails to quell Jack's flopping, it somehow eases my frayed nerves and reduces my blood pressure from the boiling point to a gentle simmer in a matter of seconds.  My temper under control, I find myself able to finish the task at hand, despite the fact that my left arm has been reduced to a quivering noodle and my brow is beaded with sweat.

Nursery rhymes, as it turns out, aren't just for children.  When Jack wakes up crying from an aching molar or what I can only assume is a nightmare about withheld cookies or a cruel mother who won't allow her child to play with an antique Tibetan prayer bowl, I find we are both soothed by my pitchy and nasal rendition of "Run for the Roses" by Dan Fogelberg.

For some people, counting to ten might be helpful.  Others find their mental happy place and achieve a Zen-like tranquility I may never experience.  But as long as I've got nursery rhymes in my arsenal, I think Jack and I might survive to see another day. 

If not, there's always a nice sturdy rope out back.
Just kidding! 


Shauna said...

HAHA that picture of the steer hogtied, after your description of changing Jack,I died! You are a great mother, and a hilarious woman! I love you! xoxo

ExpatEliz said...

I remember the time I slapped Julia on the thigh because she was wiggling so much on the changing table. She was so surprised, she stopped moving - for a second. I cried for an hour after. I wish I'd had a theme song to help me control my temper. Actually, I think I still need one...

Mer! said...

SOOOOO TRUE!! I have to pull ALL kinds of songs out of my head...Soren is absolutely the worst at diaper changing right now. I breathe a sigh of relief if in the off-chance he's go with the flow about it!!!

GO "itsy bitsy!!" :)

kerry2642 said...

Hysterical... and you know what?? there is nothing wrong with a little rope just hanging around!! lol..lol.. Patience..patience..patience.it will all be ironed out in about 20 yrs or so!!! Hang in there!! hugs "AK"