Every once in a while there are moments in life that get replayed over and over in my mind. I don’t know if anyone else has ever had (or has) this kind of experience, but it is really… um…. surreal.
Remember when surreal was the “it” word? Like, movies were surreal and art was surreal and life itself was surreal?
No? Monsieur Meow and I do and we were even talking about it the other day. It was overused in the terminally-hip 90s, and everything was surreal, courtesy, I imagine, of Quentin Tarantino. These days, surreal is a word better applied to things like Tom Cruise getting dropped from Paramount (surreal, huh?) or to bad driving (Although….. you remember OJ driving through the freeways of LA? We do too. THAT was SURREAL). But alas, it no longer is the edgy word du jour, and VH1 knows it. Why else call their reality-tv-cum-tragicomedy “The Surreal Life.”?
Back to the surreal thingy: back in March, when little Herr Meow was still a mostly-sleeping bundle of goodness who had not discovered his feet, the stairs, or any manner of ganky and nasty things to put in his mouth, we met this nice waitress at this little hole in the wall place called the Breakers Cafe (you can look it up if you’ll be in the Monterey Peninsula. Cheap, but nice).
She — in one of her many soliloquies as she deftly served our table without forgetting what it was she was saying– briefed us on her ten-month old who apparently seemed to have the dentition of a moose and hence ever since he was about 3 months old and that first precocious incisor had twisted its way out of his gums and into her life, she’d had a hell of a time. No sleep, no balm, no nothing: apparently the child had gone overnight from absolute angel to total bane of her existence.
“But of course I still love him very much, so what are you gonna do?”
With the entrees, she took time to explain her sleeplessness.
With some more coffee, she delighted in predicting how horrible it could be for me– “not that it will be the same for you, but my little guy changed completely!”
As we left, she wished us good luck.
I only wished then as I do now that I didn’t have to remember this ever again, or that none of what she Nostradamused so effusively would ever come to pass.
It’s been over a week and a half since I’ve had a decent night’s sleep. Herr Meow –fashionably late to the world of teething but not so late that the whole “you know, kids develop at different rates” spiel could be said by anyone (with that expression of mock serenity that really means “Holy crap! Your kid’s retarded!” and which people adopt when talking about those matters).
Today’s been particularly bad: nursing, whining, crying, not much sleep. Waking up in tears: the eyes seem to say “make it stop, mommy.” And, heartbreakingly enough, he now calls me “MAMAMAMMM” anytime he needs food or comfort; that little sweet bit only makes things worse. Incidentally, he also stops and looks around and seems to ask, “DADDADADADADADD?” and I just want to melt.
But then he chews on something and it’s nothing but happy. Happy happy bouncy boy, crawling and standing and seeing if I turn away long enough so that some nummy cables can go in his mouth. And after a while, it goes back to the same cycle.
Nursing, whining, crying. Rinse, repeat. Do not place in crib– may cause excessive anxiety.
Two teeth are peeking through now: today’s bother seems to be the left incisor, about a week behind the right one, breaking through the gum.
Herr Meow is an incredibly healthy baby: he’s only had two colds in his short life and nothing else. He doesn’t know about suffering, discomfort, or pain. And for that reason I’ve been one very lucky mom.
But here we all are, and this is what it is all about. And I wish that I could make it better, but I could also wish that it could just go away and let me sleep. And let him sleep as well.
And thank you, Breakers Cafe girl: I now have the memory of you and your misery on loop, forevermore.