My New World

The little black and white TV was balanced on my dresser.  It used to sit in my dorm room, but I lived at home now, and it took up residence on my dresser, opposite my bed.  At two in the morning, “Love Boat” reruns were playing on the snowy screen.

I was marching back and forth with my three week old baby boy, soothing him.  I was nursing, which meant that my mother couldn’t help me out in the middle of the night when he was hungry.  Plus she worked and I wasn’t about to ask her to sacrifice sleep when she had to be up and out by seven in the morning anyway.  I felt guilty enough as it was; everything was upside down.

Taking care of my little boy was harder than I thought it would be.  I knew he’d be up a lot in the middle of the night, but the sweet images of my quietly nursing my child next to a tiny lamp with a teddy bear motif as he snuggled in for warmth and comfort seemed very far away.  He ate, all of the time.  And when he didn’t eat, he cried.  He hated to be laid down in the bassinet I’d borrowed from one of my mother’s friends.  He wanted to be held, all of the time.  My nightgown was soaked in dried breastmilk, my room smelled of the soiled diapers I’d changed overnight, and I hadn’t slept for more than half an hour so far this evening.

Finally, his crying ceased and he grew still and heavy in my arms.  I laid down in my twin bed with the baby, knowing that if I put him down in his bassinet now, he would wake up and cry and I’d be up marching across the room well into Fantasy Island, which came on at three am.

This had to get better.  Soon.

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