Friday, November 17, 2006

But What's Important Is That I Had a Fun Time

The entire house is keeping me up. And it has made me irritable. Eric has dreams so strong that he wakes me up at night thinking I am, in fact, the intruder/ghost/Jake/boss/barmaid. If he doesn't, then Olivia wails at 2:00 a.m., and if they both require sleeping straight through, they tag Jake to stumble in to me. Going back to sleep immediately seems to be a bargain I had with my youth. I guess as I am getting older my clock is aware that the time left is on the less side, so any sleep disturbance tells me to get up by god you could be watching Erik Estrada sell property and in a few years you won't be able to.

Yesterday I awoke feeling so tired. But I refused to succumb to the desire to put her in the playpen, crawl in there as well, and try to nap while she bangs blocks into my head. I ambitiously showered, got dressed, and met my friend for coffee and shopping with my credit card poised in my fist with that hey, I deserve it passion.

And that kind of resolve pays off, my friends. I had fun. We laughed, and successfully shopped for clothing that requires I not eat until next Tuesday, and Olivia--who has lately despised the stroller--was enough of an angel to inspire us to grab some sushi before heading home to wait for our children. Olivia slept through the first half of the meal and woke with a pleasant, demure smile. I was armed with her favorite babyfoods. Life was good.

As I talked with my friend, I felt like I had done something wrong. I looked down quizzically; I felt that something was askew. A texture had felt different, a routine move incorrect. And just as I looked over at Olivia, I realized that I had spooned a mouthful of wasabi from my plate into her mouth.

Here's where the sleep deprivation showed itself. I was of zero help to my own daughter. In my panic I grabbed my coke and tried to coax her to drink some, out of the straw she has not yet learned to master. In my frenzy to look around for help--a doctor, the sushi chef, someone to raise this baby other than me--it was my friend Shirli who put her hand on my arm and urged me to relax, wait, it was okay.

Olivia's face was beet red and she had tears from the wasabi. Her breathing was comprised of short little gasps to cool her mouth, and she had clenched fists. But no crying. She had swallowed the wasabi like a champ. She looked at me through her watery eyes uncritically and kindly. And then, politely, she opened her mouth for the next bite.

When I print off these pages and hand them to her in lieu of a beautifully crafted baby book, I think I will neglect to print this page. So, please, don't tell her.


Di said...

Olivia is definitely going to win one of those reality shows where they make them eat disgusting things!

Walter said...

Show Olivia this page. It's one of your best. I was reading your writing in awe. Very clever writing, Laura.