Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Sleeping Dragon

Adelle is asleep. She has been a little pill today. I wonder how many parents feel like their lives revolve around their babies' sleep schedules. It's not uncommon for me to tiptoe around the house at 2pm, taking phantom steps around the crib, careful not to make a sound. 

I've read a dozen books about parenting. I subscribe to parenting magazines and surf the web for miracle sleeping tactics, but they all stupefy me. I swaddle, wrap, rock, shhh, and it all goes to hell once she kicks back her head, arches her back and lets out the most ear piercing scream possible. From there on, it's an uphill battle to slumber. I'm usually panting, motion sick, and dehydrated by the end of it all. She, however, looks angelic, absolutely beautiful with no evidence that she has ever let out a yelp. Then, I question if I imagined it, until I notice the spit up stains and strands of my hair tightly gripped in her hands. 

Maybe she just lives up to label on her bib, 'high maintenance'. Although, knowing her, she'd probably just say that she is particular. 

I want to write a book about babies like mine. The title would read...."She's just not that into IT", a cheesy, lame reference to the movie/book about men who lead women on. In the manner, I have come to terms with the fact that Adelle is a prize fighter in a bitter battle against sleep. 

I love how my Korean relatives rationalize this tough period of crying, sleeping, burping, farting, pooping (sometimes outside of a diaper...Why do babies tend to pee/poop when we're changing them?), and temper-tantrum-throwing. 'Oh, she cries a lot. That means she be a good toddler. You see. If she cry now, she won't cry later.' WHAT? What kind of logic is that. Another one of my favorites, 'Oh, she Park family baby. They all cry. Just the way it is.' So, you're telling me that all babies with the last name Park (about a million) cry more? How does that make sense? My dad has the best one so far. 'She's gonna be a good singer. See, your sister is a good singer because she cried a lot. Good practice.' 'Uh, Sally doesn't sing that well, Dad.' He explains, 'Yeah, but she likes to sing a lot. She's always singing.' 

They say it to give me hope. They know that this time will pass. I know it too, but it's hard when I'm worn down, day in and day out. 

The woman at the Korean market confirmed this as I was paying for some cold noodles. 'You sick?' I nod even though I got over my cold weeks ago. 'You don't look so good. Too yellow. Drink some water. It makes the yellow go away.' Can you believe this? I didn't ask for a pound of kick ass when I paid for my food. Of course, she only gets away with this because she's asian. I felt like saying, 'I am asian. You don't think that has something to do with it?' (For the record, I asked Alex and he told me that I didn't look more yellow than normal. Ha! I'm laughing while writing that). I love her remedy, 'Drink water', as if the water is going to flush out the color in my face. I'm not a bucket of paint. You can't water me down. 

Apparently, it's not just this woman who thinks I look bad. My dear friend came over last night and asked if I was okay. I mean, I must really look bad with all these questions. He motioned to his eyes, said I looked drained. I did remind him that I almost went blind and have been sick for some time, not to mention the fact that I am a new parent. I should be excuse from looking good for at least a year.

By the way, celebrity moms should never be allowed to whine. It kills me. I love how Gwyneth Paltrow complained about how hard it is to be away from her kids during movie shoots. First of all, you have nannies to take care of your kids even when you're there. You make millions of dollars making movies while my sister who works at a public school makes shit when she deals with twenty hellions everyday. You have time, money, and help so that you can practice your yoga/pilates/other-crazy-Madonna-inspired-exercise while you eat your macrobiotic diet that probably costs more than my entire salary. Oh, and I love how they get their tummies tucked while they get a c-section because it's more efficient, killing two birds with one stone and whatnot. 

When I want to get an honest opinion, I can't ask Alex. Of course, he's going to lie. Who would risk the wrath of a postpartum chick when he just fib his way into safety? Only an idiot would do that. And, trust me, given his blunt nature, there are moments when he is an idiot and tells me the truth. I think he's learned his lesson. For all you men out there, lie lie lie!!! Be kind and tell her she looks amazing, like she did before the baby. It's the least you can do given the almost ten months of pregnancy, childbirth, and aftermath. 

To top it all off, I'm officially going bald. I finally go to get my hair cut and the hairdresser looks at my hair and tells me that there are chunks of it practically racing to fall off. I tell him I had a baby. He looks at me with sympathy before saying, "Oohhh, okay. Yeah, you're going to lose more. Normal. It's also why your hair looks so dull." Geez, thanks.

I should get to bed. Don't want to wake my sleeping dragon. As I write about the changes I've been through, the havoc my body has experienced and is experiencing, I will say that I am still amazed that I have Adelle. I rock with her in my arms, look at her pouty lips, and feel her hands clenching my robe. She needs me. I've got to enjoy this time when she wants me to comfort her, hold her, kiss her, and unconditionally love her. Before I know it, she'll be thirteen, hating me for being her mom, slamming her door in my face as she yells something mean. It happens. 

For now, I enjoy the moments of peace between the screaming sessions, cataloguing her angelic poses and facial expressions in her slumbering state, for a day when she'll no longer need me to fall asleep. 

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