Andy and I sometimes play a game where we ask each other, “What would you do with an extra $10K? Or what about $100K? Or $1 million?” Would we save it (boring), spend it on an RV (Andy and the kids’ answer), or spend it on an RV that we park at the Marriott so one of us can have a proper vacation with a hot shower and a soft bed?
But whenever we have a newborn, the currency changes, and the new question becomes, “What would you do with ten free minutes? Or one free hour? Or—gasp—a whole day of free time?”
Last week, I had a dentist appointment. Lucky me! Going to the dentist is my special alone time. I knew I’d hit the jackpot when they told me I had to stay for X-rays.
The truth is that I do have free time because I’m up several times a night nursing Carson. The catch is that my free time is at three in the morning. Oh, and that there’s a baby attached to me. Still, I shouldn’t waste these hours. How can I enjoy this magical windfall of time that I’m always so desperate for during the day?
I can’t really go out. Maybe I’m being a fuddy duddy, but I feel weird about hitting Bottom of the Fifth and throwing back a few shots with Carson attached to me. We wouldn’t get in, anyway—because I’ve told him over and over that we can’t order his fake ID until he can hold his head up by himself.
I’m kidding. What kind of mom won’t help her baby hold up his head to pose for his fake ID? That’s just neglect. Carson and I stay in because the local bars all close at 2.
What else can I do at three in the morning? Sometimes I read or watch a movie. Sometimes I stare off into space in a dazed, sleep deprived stupor. Occasionally I doze a bit, but I’m not one of those people who can sleep when a little being is slurping and sucking away at me. (Incidentally, that little being sleeps like, well, a baby.)
The last few nights, I’ve tried meditating to ease that newborn stress. I’m using an app called OMG, I Can Meditate! I’m pretty sure it’s the same one Buddha used.
This is not my first bout with meditation. When I was pregnant with Annabelle, I tried Hypnobabies, a series of meditation sessions designed to teach me that labor contractions were merely pressure and that I could ignore them by going to my special place.
Ha. They sure saw me coming, as my grandma would say.
Meditating while nursing Carson does help me relax, and I always imagine myself becoming a meditation rock star and doing it every day. But I never stick with it—because after a few days it thoroughly bores me, and suddenly I can think of a thousand things I really have to do instead of sitting and counting my breaths. I still want to achieve nirvana, but I’d like to multitask it by stopping by Raley’s on the way.
The meditation man with the voice like a waterfall tells me to feel genuine curiosity about how each breath is different from the one before it, so I try. And the breaths are different, like little snowflakes. But still I’d rather think about which Marriott we’d park our hypothetical RV in front of.
The app tells me to think of my stress as resistance, and to acknowledge that resistance. I spent a couple of weeks doing this, but then I realized that I resist things because baby Carson resists them (loudly). He’s the one who needs these meditation sessions. I tried to tell him that, but he had no patience for the man with the waterfall voice. Like mother, like son. Instead, I decided to talk to him to coach him through his moments of resistance:
“Ah, I see you have resistance to your car seat. Lots of resistance, actually. So much that it’s good that you’re being restrained by a five-point harness.”
“Look. Now you have resistance to the morning school run because you woke up at an ungodly hour. Acknowledge that resistance, and then you will be able to overcome it.”
“It sounds like you have resistance to waiting two seconds until I’m ready to feed you. Two seconds! Everyone in the neighborhood is noting and acknowledging that resistance.”
Well, if Carson’s taught me anything, it’s that I was right about meditation being useless. He’s been practicing for weeks with no visible progress.
I will admit that the waterfall voice man is right about one thing. Each of Carson’s screaming breaths comes out differently. But somehow I have no genuine curiosity about how the next one will be new and different from the previous one. Mostly, I’m wondering when my next dentist appointment is, and if I feign concern over one of my teeth, can I get the X-rays again?