Why Can’t Babies Blow Their Nose? And Other Thoughts about Motherhood

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It’s been a loooonnnggg week over here. I feel like with two working parents and a schedule that changes week by week we have finally figured out a good routine, or maybe rhythm is a better word, for us as a family…but then someone gets sick and everything tips out of balance.

I really have nothing to complain about. Elena has only had one other cold in the history of her 9 months of life. I’ve never even taken the girl’s temperature cause she’s just always been pretty healthy. But last week she started getting the sniffles and the dripping mocos and then the horrible congestion. She is as happy as can be during the day, but poor girl just can’t breathe very well at night. So she wakes up every 2 hours, then ever 45 minutes and then finally I just end up holding her. I’m sure all of the mothers of the world have sat up at night holding a sick, stuffy baby. In between praying “please go to sleep” prayers and patting her sweaty head I started wondering, Why can’t babies blow their nose? I mean wouldn’t have that been a great evolutionary advance for humans? I’m gonna have to take that one up with God. That and why cockroaches exist. That’s another topic. But I am convinced they are from the devil.

So, we’ve been doing steam showers, essentials oils and of course lots of sucking with this thing. She hates it. So I usually hold her arms down, and Gerber sucks. We’re a good team like that. And you know how sleep has been a challenge for her already… so now it feels like were back at ground zero. Baby sleep kinda feels like two steps forward, one step back, right? Maybe that’s what motherhood in general feels like.

Speaking of motherhood, earlier this week someone we work with asked Gerber, “IF I WAS PREGNANT?” what the….?!? Apparently they had seen me and noticed my panzita and so they asked him. (Sweet man, told me cause he knows I would always rather hear it from him instead of someone else) Now, I can take it with a grain of salt. In Guatemala, most women have panzitas (tummy) and commenting on a woman’s body is more common, not so offensive here. But still, I’m not Guatemalan so I was slightly offended. So naturally, I turned to google. And started researching 9 months post-partum tummy and basically diagnosed myself with diastasis recti. Maybe just to make myself feel better I emailed a picture of my tummy to a good friend. And she said all the encouraging, true and beautiful things that good friends say. Usually, I am pretty comfortable with my body and quite thankful for how it grew a tiny human, but some days the crazy voices and google can take over.

Part of my journey in becoming a mom has been accepting that I cannot measure my success during a week by how much I get done. I just can’t. Productivity and motherhood don’t belong in the same sentence. I really want to enjoy Elena, this stage, and all her baby-ness. (well, except the sleeplessness. I don’t enjoy that) And I realize by choosing to enjoy the now it means other things have to give. It means I often have piles and unfinished projects. It means I sometimes compose blog posts in my head that never make it to the screen and I save lists of books that I want to read, but I know their pages may never be opened. I know I am a better mom and wife when I exercise and have my nails painted and get to connect with friends, but lots of other things just have to wait.

Maybe one of the surprising challenges of becoming parents for us is how much work it takes to keep a healthy marriage. I think Gerber and I both are really good at loving our daughter. But it’s been harder for us to figure out how to keep loving each other well. Having a baby changes things, in a wonderful, wouldn’t-go-back- kinda way. But it involves some adjusting and re-learning. And we’re still figuring that out. Day by day, booger-sucking-night, by booger-sucking-night.

So, after a long week and a stuffy baby, this morning our sitter called in sick. She probably got Elena’s cold, poor thing. Because I stumble and stress over what to do when plans change, I am so thankful I married a man who shines in the moment. Last minute, spontaneous planing is his favorite. So after one frantic text message, we rearranged our schedules. I took Elena for the morning and he stayed with her for the afternoon. Because we usually don’t have a free Monday morning together I threw the diaper bag and stroller in the car and drove to Antigua. We walked around the park. Looked for birds and watched the fountain. I did some emails, she ate an apple.

Before leaving town we walked into Cafe Barista. And I snapped this photo. Isn’t she precious?!

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I really love being her mom, even if she can’t blow her nose yet.

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2 thoughts on “Why Can’t Babies Blow Their Nose? And Other Thoughts about Motherhood

  1. I love this, Michelle! Yes. I think it’s been a long week
    around the world. 🙂 Billy is out of town and I found myself
    texting a friend, “It’s me versus the kids. I am losing.” Ha! I
    think Isaac is teething again, which is always just so awesome. 🙂
    Also, you look absolutely fantastic. I remember thinking that when
    we met up a few months ago. I have only recently realized that this
    baby weight isn’t planning to go anywhere on its own. So I started
    working out, lost 5 pounds, got really excited, ate a lot to
    celebrate and promptly gained it back. Ha! But I have to keep
    trying because I recently thought I was six months pregnant! And
    lastly, I just have to commiserate about kids not blowing their
    noses. It’s awful. I feel for them. Ella is finally old enough we
    can discuss it and she requests the help, but it used to be
    terrible. In fact, I wrote this little post to try to find some
    meaning in all the ridiculousness:
    http://www.alifewithsubtitles.com/2011/08/snot-sucker-spirituality.html.
    🙂

  2. Sarah, yes, yes. To all of these things. You’re a superstar for doing 2 kids by yourself! So wish we lived closer.

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