I'll never forget the second time I ran the marathon.
I'd run one a few years before with a big group of friends, and in 2001 I decided it was time to do it again, this time in my hometown of New York. Thus, on a chilly November morning, I took off across the Verrazano Bridge with 40,000 or so others, feeling like 10 million bucks. I was fit, I was fiesty, and I was in a zesty little jogging outfit.
By about Mile 23, however, the following interior monologue began to play in an endless loop in my head:
"HOLY JUMP UP AND SIT DOWN! WHY did I decide to do this again? This is HORRIBLE! And I knew how horrible it was going to be because I've done it BEFORE! Sweet Christmas - what kind of moron puts herself through this for the SECOND time????? I AM A NUMBSKULL OF THE HIGHEST MAGNITUDE!!!"
Have you picked up on the parallel here? Pretty much from the moment labor began, that same monologue began to replay in my head word for word. It continued as we returned home to begin the inevitable descent into the abyss of sleepless nights, constant feedings, and continually angry nipples, but now with the added bonus feature of a jealous and confused 19-month-old determined to take his revenge upon us by waking up screaming every morning at 5:30am!
How could I have done this to myself again?
But, if I focus solely on the downsides for the first week I fear I will work myself into the sort of state that ends with me attempting to leave one or both of my offspring in that basket outside the firehouse for the nice folks inside to raise, and so instead I present the following list of...
REALLY GREAT THINGS ABOUT HAVING A BABY THAT I'D FORGOTTEN ABOUT SINCE THE LAST TIME I HAD ONE 18-MONTHS AGO!
Here we go....
THAT NEWBORN SMELL:
Back in 1993 I moved to New Orleans, and early in the evenings I would go out for a run in the street car tracks up and down St. Charles Avenue.
(I'm kind of loving how this entry is making me sound like a super-athlete, BTW. It amuses me that I've mentioned running casually twice already - as if going for a run is just a totally natural and unremarkable part of my life - this is NOT the case, I assure you.)
Anyway - back to New Orleans. They use some kind of lubricant on the streetcar wheels that has this smell that lingers after the car has passed by. It smells like nothing else on Earth, and every time I visit and smell it anew I'm instantly overcome by memories of my first stint in the city, nearly two decades ago.
I was similarly transported when the nurse put Crinkles in my arms for the first time. That sharp, deep-earth, slightly acrid, new baby smell hit me and I REMEMBERED. I was taken back to Snoodie's birth and filled with an overwhelming sense that this was right in the most fundamental way a thing can be. That smell meant - he's here.
THE DELIGHTFULLY RANDOM OPERATIC GESTURES:
Though the Snood was the KING of these I'd completely forgotten how hilarious and cute the sudden...
"I am belting out an imaginary aria entitled 'Please Let Me At That Boob!'"
gesture is when they're hungry. Not to mention the...
"HOLY CRAP! What was that!!!!!"
...startle that happens whenever there's a loud noise.
It is cute. And great. And can almost make one forget the soul-crushing fatigue. Almost.
A GLIMPSE OF THE VILLAGE:
A lot of times, especially in a city like Los Angeles, we live in relative isolation. We interact with people only on the most superficial of levels, occasionally nodding at our fellow city mates as we pass or maybe sharing a smile with the guy selling us our stamps at the post office. But, when you have a new baby in tow, you are suddenly the center of a COMMUNITY.
The cashiers at Albertsons run from behind their scanners to hug me and take a peek into the stroller to meet Crinkles. A non-stop flow of neighbors has stopped by to bring food, baby gifts, and offers of help. My mom and sister have set their own existences aside to live at my house, help take care of Snoodie, and do the cooking and cleaning I'm unable to face.
I'm living in Hilary Clinton's 'village' right now, courtesy of Crinkles, and it is an unexpectedly wonderful upside to bringing home baby.
AND FINALLY, AND MAYBE MOST IMPORTANTLY, IT IS THE EASIEST DIET I'VE EVER BEEN ON:
I've lost 26 pounds since last Monday, folks! If that ain't an upside, what is?