Sunday, August 15, 2004

Interview with a Mother

Anna is the newest mother in our family. Anna is the sixth sister in the lineup, and she is eleven years younger than me. These days, Anna is living in Hood River, Oregon, but she'll be moving to a farm in Missouri in the next month or so. This is good news for Aunt Laurie, because I'll be able to visit more.

Baby Juddah is seven months old now. I got to see him when he was a newborn, but I haven't seen him since he was all wrinkly and teeny. These days, everyone says he is super cute and looks just like his dad, Jon. Anna says the resemblance is striking. "He looks just like pictures of Jon at that age. He's Jon's clone."

Because I'm 33, and because I've been a little timid about becoming a mother myself, I'm infinitely curious about what it is like to have a baby. In our interview, Anna gives me the inside scoop (or should we say poop?) on motherhood.

What's the biggest surprise about becoming a mother?

Everyone says "I slept like a baby last night." But babies don't actually sleep that well. They are up a lot during the night. They toss and turn, and you need to check in on them. That was surprising.

Let's see. It was a big surprise how much you love the little guy. You don't even know him that well, but you totally love 'em. Oh yeah, and finding out I was pregnant. That was REALLY a surprise.

Have things changed as Juddah has gotten older?

Things have gotten much easier now that he's a little older. He sleeps better, and he's sleeping on more of a routine. He eats on more of a routine, too. He's easier to calm down now because I've gotten to know him better, so I know what he likes. He likes laying on his back better than being on his stomach, so I can set him down the way he's the most comfortable. Things are so much better now. Everyone loves newborns, but I'm glad he's getting older.

Do you get used to the noise of a baby crying?

You get used to it. You can tune it out, but mostly you want it to stop, so you find ways to sooth the kid. That first little newborn cry is so heart wrenching, but now it's like, Eeh, he's crying. Oh well.

I've heard people say if you respond to a baby's cries too quickly you'll spoil the kid. Do you believe this?

I don't think you can really spoil a baby that is under one year old. A newborn just needs to know that you are there for them and love them.

What's the most frustrating part of being a mother?

Sometimes babies want to cry for no reason. They just want to cry, and you just have to let them. That, and Juddah has a radar. I call in the Mommie Radar. When I sit down to eat or take a nap, it's like he knows. He thinks, "Hey, I'll just wake up now and get Mom to pay attention to me."

The other thing that is frustrating is going on outings. It's difficult to just get up and go. You can't be spontaneous. and even now, I forget to take things we end up needing. It's like, Oh no! I've gone through two diapers already and now I'm out. Yikes!

And you know, I can't do a whole project all the way through. I can only sew or clean for a short time, and then I have to pay attention to Juddah. It can be crazy-making.

What do you like best about being a mom.

I love how much Juddah loves me. He loves me the best, heh heh heh. I love the way he likes to play, and he is always so excited to see new places and new people. Whenever we go into a new building, he squeals he's so happy to see the bright shapes. He likes riding on elevators. It's neat seeing how Juddah grows and does new things every day. He's working really hard to roll over and look around at the world. I like holding him and giving him baths. And it's fun to have a little family. You always have a friend to take with you everywhere.

Does having a baby change things with your husband?

In some ways it is better. You both have a common goal you are working on. At first it made it harder, Mom doesn't want to go out and do things, but Dad wants to get out and get back to a normal life. After Juddah was born, I was tired and wanting to stay home all the time. All of the sudden, you are on baby's time. Before you can go to the store, you have to feed the baby and change his diapers, so a simple trip to the store takes an hour. Nothing is fast any more. This took some getting used to for both of us.

Tell me some adorable stories about Juddah.

The other night Juddah was sleeping. He was so cute, we just couldn't help it. We had to kiss and hug and tickle him all over. Sometimes he wakes really easy, but this time he stayed asleep. Thank goodness!

One time I was changing Juddah, and all of the sudden he projectile pooped straight up in the air. It got on my face and in my hair. It even got on the couch. Ah, there are so many poop stories...

The other day, I was babysitting Heather's kids [Editor's note: Heather is another sister, and she has three little ones named Abby, Peter, and Michelle.] I was changing Juddah, and Abby, the oldest, she was watching me with this inquisitive look on her face. Then she says, "When Mom changes Peter's diaper, he has thing in the middle, too. Well, Peter's is A LOT bigger than Juddah's."

Abby's the oldest, and you know how bossy the oldest ones are.

I don't remember you being bossy when we were younger. I remember thinking you were so cool. You would take us swimming at your friend's house. You'd dance all crazy. And when you were babysitting, we'd ask if we could go play at the neighbors, or--you know--go play in the street. You'd always say, "Go for it!" So cool.

Ahh...Juddah's getting loud. I better go...

Thanks to Anna for taking time from her family to help with the production of this 'blog. Hey kid sister, thanks for calling me "cool." Really? I was cool, huh?


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