Monday, November 7, 2011


By Jill VanHimbergen
Today I put Charlie down for his morning nap as soon as we got home from dropping Finny off, and then I hit the ground running. Laundry down the chute. Sheets off Finny’s bed. Dust. Change out laundry. Heat up coffee. Attack list: write ad, renew library books, plan Christmas budget, plan playdate, call Cincinnati Bell about slow Internet, order hats and mittens online, blog.

As I was busily buzzing around the house, moving as fast as my legs would carry me and constantly being stopped by new reminder bells in my head to add to the list—fix squeaky door, put away Halloween costumes, clean toilets, pay speeding ticket, empty dishwasher—I heard Charlie up in his room still crying. It had been twenty, maybe thirty minutes. I knew he was tired, so why still crying?

I set my hot coffee on the coaster and paused my work at the computer and climbed the stairs to see if I could give him a quick back rub and get him to settle into his snooze, but when I opened the door, I found that the poor baby was stuck. His chubby thigh was pinned between the rails of his crib. I’ve never used a bumper pad because the American Academy of Pediatrics has always scared me away from them, but this situation would make a good argument for them. So I jimmied his pudgy little thigh out of the crib rails and I picked him up to soothe him out of his hysterics. Then, I made him a bottle and settled into the rocking chair in his room and I rocked him and fed him as we listened to some lullabies and the soft whir of his fan. Then, he fell asleep, and I was stuck.

Charlie never sleeps in my arms, he’s never slept on my chest or in my bed, and we almost never rock him to sleep. There’s just been no time and no energy to give Charlie this kind of pampering. He gets lots of compliments on his good-natured demeanor, so maybe this is a direct result of the fact that this kid has just had to roll with it a bit more than his brother had to. ( I actually spent $7 on Grapeseed Oil once to give Finny a baby massage as recommended by a video I watched. I used it once.)

As Charlie snoozed in my arms, the list ticked on in my head, but I found that I couldn’t get up. I was stuck in the chair, pinned down by a kind of life-affirming pleasure that only comes around if you allow yourself to be still long enough to capture it. Like watching the sun fall through the leaves onto a wooded path, it was, in every sense— bliss.

And even though the list ticked on—change the carseats, organize the clothes, order printer paper—I found that there was a louder voice overtaking it. The voice of an older, wiser me from ten years down the road, saying... Visit Jill's blog to read the rest of the story.

Jill is a stay-at-home mom to two boys. She is a teacher and a writer on the side and tries to fulfill these roles as often as she can (when she's not doing the very full-time work of parenting). You can read more of Jill's thoughts on motherhood on her blog: Musings on Motherhood.

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