Jon and I spent the entire weekend holed up in our bedroom, what we now affectionately refer to as The Cave. It has become the center of our home, where we eat, where we sleep, and where we would poop if we wore diapers and had two fumbling, gangly parents to wipe our bottoms. I never knew that I could be so satisfied to sit and watch another human being for hours at a time, and there was barely a moment this weekend when I didn’t gaze at The Biological Wonder and think to myself, How the hell did that come out of my vagina?
In addition to staring at Leta like two drooling, lobotomized idiots, we did a lot of scratching, burping, stretching, cat-napping, and watching a lethally dangerous amount of reality television. It’s amazing just how much television you don’t watch during the week when you’re trying to take care of a baby. In fact, it’s amazing just how much of everything you neglect when you’re trying to take care of a baby, things as basic as plucking your eyebrows and clipping your fingernails. I suddenly realized this weekend that I hadn’t done either of those activities since before Leta was born, which basically means that I am a terrible mother. If I can’t keep up with my own eyebrows, how can I prevent Leta from running around with scissors by the time she’s four months old? At this rate she’ll be wearing makeup by the time she’s five and applying for membership in the NRA by age 12.
Sunday afternoon Jon and I decided that it was time to face my new worst fear, worse than my fear of heights or natural disasters, worse even than my fear of biscuit containers that go POP when you unravel their cardboard exteriors, and that fear is the fear of taking my baby to a public place. I’m kind of frightened of the diseases that lurk in public places, viruses that could wreak havoc on the immune system of a 14 day old baby, but I’m more scared of being that woman with the screaming baby that I have so often wanted to choke or beat with a wooden club. I had to keep reminding myself that the worst thing that could happen would be that she would start crying and either Jon or I would pick her up and comfort her while the other stuffed groceries into the shopping cart. It’s not like Leta would all of a sudden stand up in her car seat, pull out a machine gun and open fire on unsuspecting, innocent grocery shoppers. There isn’t even the possibility that she would follow me around repeating “FUCKING WHORE, FUCKING WHORE,” because that’s what she hears me yelling at the TV on Monday nights during the 10 Spot on MTV. I don’t have to worry about that scenario for at least a year.
But I do need to come to terms with the possibility of some grumpy single person shooting me a disapproving look as I bounce a fussy baby in one arm while I reach for a gallon of milk with the other arm, as if my baby has no business being in a public place. I was once that grumpy single person, and I feel her pain, the pain of sleeping more than eight hours a night, the pain of eating a warm meal with two hands, the pain of chugging two double vodka martinis without fear of poisoning another human being. And I want to say to the grumpy, single me of several years ago — the grumpy, single me who kept up with her eyebrows and had her nails professionally manicured every two weeks — I want to say, FUCKING WHORE! And then I want to choke her and beat her with a wooden club.