Allow me to present the third installment of our Very Rookie Summer series.
Elizabeth shares two different days from her life with baby Zaida that are seven weeks apart. We love her stories for reminding us so fully of what a difference a few weeks not-quite-two months can make in the life of a rookie mom. They live in Chapel Hill, NC.
You can follow along her daily musings on twitter/efriend if you “want up-to-the-minute updates about my thoughts on important things like pie (like it) and heat (don’t).”
Elizabeth calls her Very Rookie Summer adventures “Compare & Contrast”
My daughter Zaida was three weeks old when I decided to go to N.C. Maker Faire in late April. A festival of DIY nerds seemed like good family fun, so we rookie parents piled everything we could think of in to our gigantic diaper bag and hauled ourselves out of the house.
The crafts were great and the people were friendly, but the whole event was such a mistake from a new mom point of view. The building was hot and crowded, and I bumped into so many people with my new stroller that I eventually had to put it away. Even with our over-stuffed diaper bag, we were unprepared. With no sling, wrap or baby carrier at hand, I was stuck cradling baby in my arms the entire time. I spent the afternoon tired, thirsty and more than half-starved. When it came time to nurse, I couldn’t find any where quiet and comfy to sit. I found myself leaning against the bathroom wall trying to nurse standing up, draped in a hooter hider and sweltering in the heat.
A very blond, very Southern woman smiled at me sympathetically, “Y’know, you don’t have to hide in the bathroom, hon. These folks won’t mind.” I knew she was right, but all I could do was stammer, “Um, I’m not there yet.” She shrugged, and told me to do what ever felt comfortable.
I was weighing the physical discomfort of nursing in the bathroom against my fears of nursing in public when the Southern lady returned with a folding chair and a bottle of water. “Here ya go hon, you take these. We need to look after our new moms, y’all are workin’ so hard.”
I was so grateful I burst into tears.
I don’t have any pictures from that afternoon, but I doubt any are necessary. Rookie moms already know what tired desperation looks like.
Compare that to the afternoon, seven weeks later, when we toured the studio of the local NPR affiliate, WUNC 91.5 FM, and attended Carlabration, a celebration of NPR’s elder statesman Carl Kassell. The situation was not so different from the one that went so badly two months before- the venue was crowded, the weather even hotter- but this time I was prepared.
I brought water and a snack, and we were ready should the stroller prove too cumbersome. When it came time to nurse I peeled off from the tour group to ask a staff member if I could use a quiet office. I think she was more flummoxed by the request than I, but she led me to a out-of-the-way spot where I fed my baby in a comfy armchair and Dad changed a diaper on the floor. The afternoon went so well we stayed for bluegrass and sandwiches. People complimented us on our sweet, well-behaved baby, and we felt like accomplished parents.
The lesson learned: persevere. Don’t let one bad outing keep you in the house for the rest of the summer- get out and share the world with your little one! Also, bring water; it’s hot out there.