Swaddle Me?

I was over at Aussa’s a while ago, reading the ongoing story of the hovel baby, and her question about preparing for babies made me realize that for me, that question is a prompt.

I have mentioned before, I didn’t know A THING about babies before I had mine.

For instance, at my baby shower, I must have received no fewer than thirty blankets. At the time, I was a bit miffed, because while I realized the baby would be born in October, I doubted she would be cold in the house all winter, to the point of needing thirty freakin blankets. I mean, come on, y’all couldn’t buy more lil pink booties?



So I washed all those blankets, and folded all those blankets, and stacked all those blankets on the changing table.

The baby came, and I was shown how to swaddle her in blankets. You wrap em up real tight, which mimics being cramped in the womb, and it comforts them. Or, if you’re me, you wrap em up so they can’t flail about, scratching their tiny baby faces and kicking the socks off their tiny pink feet. Whatever, swaddling is like a straitjacket for babies: “I love you, now be still and calm down for your own good.”

Those 30+ blankets came in handy! Every time she messed her clothes, through her assorted bodily functions, she also messed her blankets.

Eventually, my mother left, my husband went off to work, and the children off to school. I was all alone with the baby.  The whole world was new again.

I realized, with such clarity, I am completely responsible for this person. Like, then, and FOREVER. It freaked me out completely. You would think I had realized this immediately, or perhaps even while I carried her, but I didn’t.
I thought I was neurotic before her, and even the first tender days, but no, my neuroses had come full circle with this sudden rush of feelings. “Oh my God, I just love her so much, and she’s so tiny, and she needs me for everything, and I cannot fuck this up.” Then it occurred to me that my own mother might have loved me this much, and felt the same way, and this must be what everyone’s always going on about all the love.

Awed by the impact of our six-pound human, I informed my baby that I would do right by her, and she could always count on me. I did not mention that I had ever been a Commitment Phobe, or that I was scared outta my wits about taking care of her, or that I knew absolutely nothin bout babies.

I finished changing her soiled breeches and clothes, gingerly pushed her tiny limbs into new, clean clothes. I carefully strapped her in her carseat to carry her upstairs and across the tile floors. I attempted to shower while watching the baby. It’s hard to wash your hair with your eyes open, but I did the best I could. When I was clean, but not dry, because who has time for that? I nudged her carseat to the edge of the bedroom carpet, picked her up and took her to our bed, only to discover that she had spit up. And all over her pretty pink blanket, too.

So I put her in the middle of the bed, walked backwards to the changing table, reached behind myself to grab a blanket from the pile…and there was no pile! I stopped staring at the baby and looked at the changing table, and there was no pile! There were no more blankets!

My first day alone with my daughter, and I had already fucked it up.

I had to haul my baby, blanket-less, in her carseat, back downstairs over many, many feet of hard floors, to do laundry. Fortunately, my mother had done a load before she left, and a pile of clean blankets rested on the dryer.

I tell expectant mothers, “You can never have too many blankets.”
They always say, “Ooohkay….”
You never know when your mother will leave, and you’ll hafta wash your own damn blankets.

About joey

Neurotic Bitch, Mother, Wife, Writer, Word Whore, Foodie and General Go-To-Girl
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16 Responses to Swaddle Me?

  1. meg68 says:

    So true! For me the problem was my inability to ever. put. the. baby. down.
    I was forever carrying him around, too scared to leave him alone for a minute.
    Eventually this passed, but I earned him the nickname “baby Jesus” because no other baby was EVER as special, talented, important and beautiful as he was.
    Also experienced a very “mammal” moment when I first brought him home. I placed him in his bassinet, (just to try it out), and leaned over to kiss him and got the most powerful urge to lick his little face all over ? !!
    I keep telling this story to new mother’s in the hopes of one day hearing somebody else admit to a similar urge.
    So far – nuttin…. It appears I am an animal in a world full of normal mothers!


    • LOL! I read some study about how newborns actually trigger the same reaction as a sweet treat in a mother’s brain, so I guarantee you you’re not alone! I could put the baby down, but whoa, I had to see her!
      Thanks for commenting 🙂


      • meg68 says:

        How good is Aussa’s blog? I am so enjoying her stories. It’s nice to know crazy shiz happens to other people too….
        I actually married my stalker!
        There’s a world of stuff I won’t admit to on my blog… (yet).


  2. LindaGHill says:

    I totally went through the whole wtf is with all the blankets already? thing. And then I bought more.


  3. Aussa Lorens says:

    Ha! I remember folding dozens and dozens of baby blankets! Sooo true.


  4. words4jp says:

    Been there done that. I still have some. I can’t let go of them)


  5. Hah that’s so sweet and I’m glad also I am passed that stage but the love remains as intense x


  6. Jewels says:

    I don’t remember needing a ton of blankets, but I do remember feeling completely overwhelmed by the reality of this new little person’s utter dependance upon me…


  7. suzjones says:

    I rarely swaddled my children (all born in the middle of an Australian summer) and if I did it was in thin muslin. I personally found no need for lots of blankets. For the first 2 months of my Tween’s life she lived in just a nappy (diaper) because she was born in the middle of a heat wave.
    But I liked your story very much.


    • Ah, yes. Here it can be quite cold, and mostly, it is. My babies were born in the cold times. It’s rare to see a Northern baby only diapered, but in The Deep South, it’s quite common, because it’s outrageously hot!


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