Meredith Carroll: Meredith Pro Tem
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
A car hit a 26-year-old pregnant woman while she was fleeing from a bear in Colorado Springs last week. Thankfully she and the baby are fine. More importantly though, the news might just mean that I’m not the worst mother ever.
The woman was running in an open space where bears are common while she was 5 months pregnant. Not to pat myself on the back, but I neither ran when I was pregnant nor did I frequent any bear hotspots (except, uh, my back yard). Still, as my first Mother’s Day with my daughter approaches, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous that she might stage a boycott.
Don’t get me wrong. All signs point to a happy and healthy nearly 9-month-old baby girl. Smiling is her favorite pastime next to laughing and giggling. She sleeps 11 to 13 hours at night and only cries when I drop her.
Therein lies a significant part of the boycott fear. It’s not as if I actually drop her. I just seem to place her in situations where the probability of her falling to the uncushioned ground is high.
Like last month when I put her down on the center of my bed so I could go downstairs to throw in the laundry. She had been similarly left on the bed a zillion times before without incident. She was lying down on her back and cooing when I left the room just like all the other times. When I returned, however, she was face down on the floor and bawling like, well, a baby. It was at that moment that I realized she had finally learned to roll over in both directions. Despite her bruised and dented forehead, at least there was a little bit of a bright side (that’s what I’ll tell her therapist in 20 years anyway).
At her 6-month well-child visit the pediatrician asked how she was doing at rolling over.
“She does it perfectly from her back to front,” I said proudly.
The pediatrician frowned.
“But what about from her tummy to her back?”
“No, she doesn’t like being put on her tummy,” I explained. “So we just don’t do it. We’ll figure she’ll roll over at some point when she feels like it. After all, how many kids don’t figure out how to roll over in both directions by the time they go to college?”
I laughed. The pediatrician frowned again.
As we’ve since learned, of course, I was right. And now she’s really good at rolling over both ways. I know this because two weeks ago she rolled off the couch onto the floor while I was sitting 3 feet away.
I was reading The Eighth Month chapter in “What to Expect the First Year” the other day about how most babies at this stage can pull themselves into a standing position and might even start walking. Crawling was a foregone conclusion. My daughter shows no signs of crawling or the desire to budge unless she’s being carried like Cleopatra on her throne.
Last week I placed her on the floor in a crawling position with the remote control (the object she most covets) a few inches away from her. She looked at me blankly, patiently waiting to be picked up and/or handed the remote. I’ve now decided to stop pushing her to move on her own with the assumption she’ll master walking sometime between now and her high school graduation.
Thanks to me, she’s also not the greatest napper. I think I waited too long to try to get her on a schedule. So now if I give in and take her out of the crib because she hasn’t fallen asleep I feel guilty because she’s over-tired. If she doesn’t nap long enough I feel guilty because she’s cranky. If she naps too long I feel guilty because I haven’t played with her enough. While I understand that a mother’s guilt is an age-old issue, it’s now happening to me, which makes it important and significant for the first time ever, really.
Still, there are some things I’m proud of as a mom. Like the fact that my daughter hasn’t watched a single cartoon ever. Sure, she watched “Oprah” with me. But when there are really trashy guests ” like Tonya Harding or Michael Phelps ” I always change the channel. And even though I sometimes go hours (and hours and hours) without changing her diaper, she has never had diaper rash and only a few times has she had a blowout rivaling Mount St. Helens, circa May 1980.
Did I mention the pregnant woman in Colorado Springs plans to give her baby the middle name Bear whether it’s a boy or girl because she’s just so grateful it didn’t kill her? I think I’ll read my daughter that newspaper article tonight instead of “Goodnight Moon.” Hopefully when she hears it it’ll improve my chances for experiencing a happy Mother’s Day with her.
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