Leonora Pitts shares her adventures with eight-week old Willa. They live in Atwater Village, Los Angeles. Her infant blog is Butter and Whiskey. We can’t thank her enough for kicking off our Very Rookie Summer series with her story.
My baby girl, Willa, was born eight weeks ago. Inspired by the Rookie Moms book and desperate to stave off the encroaching baby blues, I decided when she was about three-and-a-half weeks old to have an adventure a day with her.
In the short weeks since she’d made her debut, she’d been out to dinner a couple times:
We’d gone to the grocery store twice. The first time, I heard the Beatles’ “She’s Leaving Home” playing over the PA. When I was a little girl, I caught my father crying while this song played. I asked him what was wrong and he said, simply, “I don’t like this song.” I didn’t get it until I found myself sobbing in the aisles of Whole Foods, thinking about my tiny growing up and leaving me (in sixty years). A kind woman with a seven-year-old stopped to make sure I was okay and gave me a hug, once again reminding me of this incredible, ancient tribe every woman joins as soon as she becomes a mother.
But those adventures were few and far between and I found myself starting to sink. Once we decided to have our adventure a day, however, the cobwebs blew off, my energy returned, she started sleeping much better, and I fell in love with her like it was the first day.
Our adventures can be small, like going to the The Village Bakery up the road in Atwater Village for a latte and a chat, or a little more grand, like Mommy and Me Movies (I don’t know which was more of a challenge: changing her on the floor of a movie theater after an enormous poop explosion soaked through her clothes and on to me, or suffering through the enormous poop explosion that was Killers. Toss up.). We always have fun, and at the very least, I know I’ve showered and put on big girl clothes and gotten out of the house.
Our biggest adventure to date happened last weekend. My parents came into town, and in an effort to make them believe I am The Most Incredible Mother Ever, we packed up and started our adventure. After a nice lunch, we went to Los Angeles’s Museum of the West, which is having an exhibition all about Women in the West.
We were excited to find the museum displaying a first edition of Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather, the great feminist writer from the Prairie for whom our daughter is named (favorite quote: “The fact that I was a girl never damaged my ambitions to be a pope or an emperor.”).
I saw so many moms of kids of all ages at the museum that it occurred to me what a great adventure museums are. For my infant, she’s strapped in or in the stroller and I feel like I’m very grown up, learning a lot, and feeling like myself. Older kids seemed really engaged and enjoying themselves with their mums.
After an hour or so at the museum, we went to Sears to look at stoves. A trip to Sears is not necessarily that exciting, but I did face a big fear while there: Willa had a meltdown, and I knew the only thing I could do was nurse her. So I did! Right there in the outdoor furniture display:
So Willa had her first trip to a museum and I nursed her in the middle of the Glendale Sears. That would count as two adventures, I think. I was so tired by the end of the day that I skipped dinner and went to bed at eight.
The following day was by far the biggest hurdle we’ve leapt. We left our Wee’un for longer than an hour for the first time. I was so nervous I couldn’t eat, and I had pumped what felt like constantly, terrified that she would get hungry, with nothing to eat, and I would be way out in Malibu, and she would cry until she was hoarse, and she might get sick, and my parents wouldn’t know what to do and would be mad at me….
I pulled it together and I have to say, it felt pretty amazing to get all gussied up so soon after having our baby:
At the wedding, I couldn’t stop thinking about my Wee Willa. I was getting sweet updates from my mom and dad, telling me all about the adventures she was having without me, like a long walk, a stop by our local taco stand and ice cream shop, and bottles! And napping! And being just fine even though I wasn’t there!
Meanwhile, I cut a rug and caught up with my girlfriends and felt pretty and loved seeing one of my closest friends marry the man of her dreams.
The baby was never far from my mind, however. At one point, I thought about going home and nursing her and I actually got butterflies in my tummy. Butterflies. I said to my husband, “I just thought about Willa and got butterflies, like I used to get with you!”
That was pretty mean.
I told my friend Gillian, who had her first baby son ten months ago, about the butterflies. She said, “That’s because you’re in love.” And even now, four days later, writing that has made me cry like I’m in a Whole Foods listening to “She’s Leaving Home.”
We were gone for ten hours, and the baby did more than great. And I did okay. The next day we sent my parents back to North Dakota, sadly, and started our adventures all over again.
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