By the time Wood arrived, baby Roly and I were fast friends. I had strapped her into her stroller and walked around the neighborhood. Wood came in with his loud and booming voice and startled her. I think that made him a little standoffish at first, unsure of how to comport himself, coming into awareness that he would once again have to change pieces of himself again to make someone else comfortable.
RL called around 6:30 to check on Roly and to let me know that she normally takes a nap around 5:30. I sighed in relief. She had been fussy for the last two hours with fits of crying and then playing. We had checked diapers, tried to feed her and taken turns walking her around the house. We were feeling pretty out of our element. I had suspected she was tired but snatches of old memories admonishing not to let the baby go to sleep in the evening or they would stay up all night kept me from putting her down. We made a makeshift rocker out of the car seat and she went immediately to sleep.
Wood and I stood around the kitchen butcher block eating pizza and talking about how to deal with the rest of the night. I was still hot, pulling my shirt away from my neck and welcoming cool air inside. I was also tired, tired of smiling and entertaining and thinking, figuring out the next step. Wood seemed impressed and made a couple of comments about how well I was taking to motherhood, but inside I was exhausted.
After Roly woke from her nap and we played for a little while, we decided to give her a bath. I called my Mom and she confirmed that a bath in the kitchen sink would be okay and Wood ran the bath water. She hated it. She stretched her body out and pretty much refused to sit down. I forgot to bring down a bath towel so Wood pulled out a kitchen drying towel. Poor baby was half-naked coved with a kitchen towel. SMH.
The rest of the weekend was us figuring out what Roly’s cries were and how to make her laugh. When she got excited, she would start making grabbing motions with her hands, kicking her feet, and snorting. A lot of time was spent trying to get her to do this triple play. A lot of time.
We even ventured out for errands and for Sunday brunch. While we were at the store, a lady came up and asked if she could talk to the baby. She goo-gooed and told her she was so cute. She turned to us and said, she looks just like you. Really? I didn’t say anything but I guess we might have to get used to these unsolicited biological linkings. If a baby looks anything in our color range or like us, I’m sure people will just assume that she’s ours.
Wood figured out how not to scare Roly and she fell in love. Anytime he was in the room, she wanted to be near him. Even drinking a bottle, her eyes would follow him around the room. And he was just as smitten. When we went on errands, he could barely shop for playing with her. I put a blanket over her car seat, he went behind me and tucked in all the sides. He changed diapers and made bottles. He said he was impressed with me, but I was impressed with him. I was hoping for a partner and I got one.
When RL and her husband came to pick up Roly, I was of two minds. On one hand, I was waiting for the opportunity to just lay back in my bed, watch television and check the internet with no responsibility. But on the other hand, I was going to miss her. I could feel myself stretching mentally when she was here. I loved smelling her baby smell and her touching my face as she was drinking. I liked moving purposefully to pick out clothes, wash bottles, comb hair. But I also felt overwhelmed and tired and HOT. Wood was a partner most of the time but I still felt like I had the majority of responsibility. In fact, at one point, Wood refused to change a diaper. RL had left the baby with me and I’m sure she expected me to return her in the same way.
When RL and her husband left, Wood and I just looked at each other. What to do now?