Mama fears

My parents were beyond naive when they had me.  I was due in the beginning of August, and my parents made plans, saving money, researching destinations, for a vacation two weeks after my due date.  My mother’s doctor tried to squash the idea.  The only thing that did obliterate the plan was an emergency c-section.

With all that vacation money, my parents decided to go shopping.  They brought home a top of the line microwave.  That thing was so good and perfect, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if you couldn’t cook a small turkey in it.  It was a prize possession.

Not long after they brought it home, maybe that week, maybe that night, my mom started having vicious nightmares.  Some psycho was going to break into the house and put her brand-new baby daughter in the microwave and cook her.  She eyed te device with a suspicious eye.  She checked all the locks of the house when she went to bed, bringing the big German shepherd into the bedroom to protect her and her baby at night.  My dad, unconcerned by my mom’s fear, humored her, locking the doors when he was home taking care of the child, patrolling by on his nights at work.  My mother’s fear was rational.  With every baby, the fear would grip her, until all her babies were too big for the microwave.  Only then did she laugh at such a strange fear.

As the oldest and only girl at my mom’s moms gatherings, I had a choice of playing violent army games that made me the evil queen or listening to the moms talk.  As I listened in on conversations I was no doubt to young to listen to, I learned the mysteries of motherhood.  Every woman had an irrational fear during that first year.  One that was so logical at first but years later was silly.  Strollers collapsing, escaping from cribs, getting into ovens, getting to a loaded gun, climbing out windows.  All irrational fears for mothers of babies.

So I was sure I would have mine.  I knew I had one.  For years I searched for what it was, but my fears seemed so rational.  SIDS.  Not hearing the baby at night.  The baby choking on something.  Someone sneaking in and taking the baby from the pac ‘n’ play downstairs as I did something upstairs.  (Ok, maybe that one wasn’t rational.  That was my mother’s idea.  I did start locking doors then.  And let’s not get started on her fear that someone was going to cut me open because they found my baby registry online {1. Like three women were killed that way months before I had Tornado E and 2. I didn’t have a baby registry online because my stalker had found out about my wedding through my wedding registry year before.  I wasn’t going to tae that chance.})

Then a few months ago, I became rational.  I had two completely-rational-at-the-time-but-really-irrational-fears.*  Boots and nail polish.

Before children, if it was cold enough for jeans, then I was wearing some sort of boot.  Usually my Docs.  If not them, then a pair of hiking boots.  I didn’t own tennis shoes.  I owned boots.  They were comfortable.  They could take wear and tear.  They were heavy, ass-kicking things.  They, along with my big feet and weight, could squash a little baby’s fingers.  I would have images of stepping on delicate fingers and hearing them crunch.  It broke my heart.  I gave up my boots.  I wore socks when it was cold, throwing on light slip-ons to go outside.  My Docs were put safely away for when it rained or to return to my life when little fingers were faster than my feet.

When I discovered blue nail polish in my teenage years, I was in love. I had blues, greens, purples.  Glitter, metallic, color-changing. In college, my nails were the envy of all my friends and my mother (“You can tell you don’t do housework.”  What housework is there to do in a dorm?).  One Halloween, I went as death and I sharpened my nails to points painting them black on top and red underneath.  When I started working, I still took the time to paint my nails.  (Not black though)  Then I had a baby.  I looked down at my chipped finger polish and wondered where it went as it flaked off.  On the floor, between cushions, into the dust, into the food, into my baby’s food, into my baby’s mouth as I dislodged him from my breast, into my baby’s nose when I cleaned it.  Oh my God, I wonder how much nail polish some could digest and DIE.  And he was so little.  So tiny.  All that poison going in to him.  I quit cold turkey.  I took off the polish and avoided the nail polish aisle.  If I walked passed a display, pushing my baby in a shopping cart, I would give a look, a mental “I’m sorry, but I’m a mother now.  I miss you.  Oh, look at that shade of blue.  With glitter!  Must move on.  For him.”  I put the nail polish in a box in a locked bathroom cabinet safe from little hungry mouths.

Early this year, I returned to my boots and my nail polish.  I thought it was a return to before as other things were shifting back to a before time.  I was right.  Partially.  But there was more.  As I pried a shiny bottle of nail polish out of Tornado A’s hand, remembering a time when Tornado E at his age had one in his hand that was not closed all the way, I tried to remember why I gave up my nail polish for so many years.  I had to avoid the cosmetic section not to bring a new one home.  Then I remembered.  And I remembered the boots.  And I smiled, kissing Tornado A on his head just as he threw his temper tantrum over his lost pretty.

*These fears have nothing to do with my crazy fears and thoughts when I was going through postpartum depression.  That is a whole other crazy ball which should not be taken lightly like these fears can.