What the hell, at least there’s the possibility of having someone you can talk to during the day—someone else who gives a shit about shit.
A real live baby. What will you do with it? Life forever changed in a six-and-a-half-pound package. What will you do with it? It is yours forever—no refund. Black hair, pointed head, and a face that looks like it was just duped, as if its name was missing from a list. Where am I? And then you—the mother—who are you?
Then you sleep, you and the real live baby. The nurse comes in and tells you that you need to feed it. I do? OK. The nurse comes in again and tells you that you need to change its diaper. Me? OK. Later the nurse comes in for the final time and tells you it’s time to go home. You and the real live baby have to go home. Are you serious? Well…OK.
Real live baby slumps in a car-seat. You keep its blotchy forehead from falling forward while the man drives. The man who did this to you. Real live baby, slumped and quiet. Real live mom, upright and scared.
Step One: Fill the plastic baby tub with warm water.
Step Two: Check the water with your elbow, if it doesn’t feel too hot or too cold it’s ready for a baby.
Step Three: Lift baby out of crib and place it on changing table. Note: keep your body in front of the baby all the time, so baby doesn’t fall off table and crack its head open.
Step Four: Place dirty diaper in the nifty “Genie” and hope that it isn’t full yet, because emptying it causes you to have dry heaves.
Step Five: Throw baby’s dirty clothes in the hamper without moving away from the baby—three points!
Step Six: Lift naked kicking baby off the table and hold away from the body in case it wants to take a piss on you.
Step Seven: Place naked laughing baby, who just tried to piss on you, into a plastic tub. Note: Add to your list of 20 things to accomplish while baby takes an afternoon nap: Clean piss off floor.
Step Eight: Wash baby with special organic baby wash that costs more than your favorite bottle of wine.
Step Nine: Carefully lift wet naked screaming baby out of the tub. Note: Babies are very slippery. Hold them close to your body. Warning: You will get wet unless you buy one of those baby aprons that you will always forget to put on before washing the baby anyway.
Step Ten: Wrap the baby in a baby towel with tiny attached hood. Put the hood up. It doesn’t do much, but it makes the baby look cute. You will need the cute factor when it’s screaming and kicking you.
Step Eleven: Dry off the baby and get a diaper on it as fast as you can, or the baby will try to piss on you a second time. If baby is a boy, you might want to invest in goggles.
Step Twelve: Put a fresh baby outfit on the baby. The outfit is only guaranteed to last for up to two hours if you’re lucky. Have at least 10 outfits on hand every day. Note: If the baby has a projectile poop, repeat Steps One through Eleven.
Remember, do not schedule anything for yourself the entire day. The best time for you to take your daily bath or shower is around 10 p.m. when the baby might be sleeping.
“Mommy and Me”—yeah no kidding. You read the catalog and think: What the hell, at least there’s the possibility of having someone you can talk to during the day—someone else who gives a shit about shit.
You choose “Mommy and Me Yoga.” This will be an easy, relaxing way to start. You take an hour to clean and feed the baby. You take an hour to pack the baby. You abandon the idea of carrying a chic purse and opt to stuff your wallet among diapers, bottles, and miniature T-shirts.
You drive the baby to yoga. You sign in at the yoga studio. Signing your name is challenging with baby, baby’s bag, and a yoga mat. The yoga teacher has her baby, too. Her baby can walk already. He is like a small T-rex wreaking havoc and is destroying everything in his path.
You are not relaxing. You prop up your baby next to you. He is at the milestone of sitting up on his own, so you give him support with a yoga bolster. You hand him his plastic keys to keep him quiet and strike the first yoga pose. Within two minutes, your baby falls backward and hits his head on the hard floor. He screams and turns red. The teacher says not to worry about it. Baby finally stops crying, then mommy begins crying. Not you, but another mommy, who is in a triangle pose sobbing.
When the class ends, we get to share the experience. Sobbing mom unloads: I am overwhelmed; my husband is never home, I have no family here, I have no friends here, I need a hernia operation, I just want to go back to New York. There is more, but all you hear is “New York” and you decide you will be her friend.
After yoga, you and your new friend, push the strollers to a Thai restaurant. You both order Pad Thai and you split a Singha. You never return to Mommy and Me Yoga, but you have a real live friend who gives a shit about shit.
Andrea Tate has worked as an editor and blogger for Lunch Ticket Literary Journal, and recently published in A Daily Dose of Lit, as well as Bleed. Her story “You” is published in the 2013 anthology Extracts. Andrea is an Antioch University MFA candidate in creative nonfiction.