Monday, March 15, 2010

I made this! (what I learned about loving my baby from watching TV)

When we were first trying to get pregnant, Johnny convinced me to start watching the Sopranos. I am not a TV person and I've never had cable and I've gone for years and years without a television set at all. So even though I love gangster movies, I was skeptical. I don't like TV. I don't like the idea of being hooked on something so artificial, needing to make a date with a television show before wanting to spend time with people or doing other things, or of commercial breaks and manipulative theme music.

I've succumbed only twice in my life... first, I was completely hooked on Twin Peaks when it was on TV. Perhaps you are old enough to remember when it was on, and how the network jerked fans around by changing the date and time it was aired almost every week. So confusing! I was a college student then, always out and about, so I had to work hard to make a date with the TV. But I never missed an episode, and they canceled it anyway, despite my dedication.

The next obsession I had was with the X-Files, and at the time I was living in Boston and I didn't have a TV at all so I would spend every Sunday evening riding my bike over to a coworker's apartment to watch with her. Like all obsessions though, that one too ran its course when the show got sillier and sillier and I eventually got over my crush on Scully, found Mulder more and more irritating, and lost interest.

So, the Sopranos. We were able to get all six seasons on Netflix and it helped distract me from how I was or wasn't feeling (Was I maybe pregnant? What was that twinge I felt? What was that pain, that cramp? PMS or something different?) and kept me from scrutinizing the internet for just one blog or website that would tell me with absolute certainty that I was pregnant, before any test ever could.

And once I got pregnant, the Sopranos were a wonderful distraction from the summer heat, from my morning sickness and from the agonizing feeling of bursting with excitement yet not being quite able to tell anyone about this life-changing turn of events. I think those early weeks were the longest weeks of my life! As I ate pickles and potato chips to keep nausea at bay, we watched two or three episodes at a time. We didn't watch a single other movie or episode of anything until the whole entire thing was done. This sparked a minor obsession with Journey - Don't Stop Believin' was our theme song that summer - and Johnny talking with an accent that must sound like gangster to him but sounds like New Jersey to me. As much as I loved it all, I felt a real ambivalence about watching another television series ever again because I had become such an addict. It was a big commitment, six seasons of television. It was like a relationship, and I missed the Sopranos when they were gone.

Six or so months went by and I was very pregnant and crabby and uncomfortable when we started watching LOST, which did the same thing for the end of my pregnancy that the Sopranos did for the beginning. We watched seasons one and two through kicks and punches to my organs, through heartburn and reflux, through sleepless nights when I couldn't get comfortable. We timed contractions while watching season three. We watched season four during labor and in the hospital and then when we were home and nursing. Can't sleep? Let's watch an episode of LOST. Just sitting down to nurse? Let's watch an episode. And we're still watching it - we are just a few confusing episodes away from the end of season five.

At the end of LOST two tiny voices shout "Bad Robot!" while the production company logo of an adorable little red robot flashes on the screen. Johnny and I say it together almost every time, sometimes saying "Bad kitty!" if Rayna or Shiva are nearby getting into trouble as they often are, or "Bad parrot!" if Lucy was screaming. This reminds me every time I hear it of "I made this!" which was announced in a proud child's voice at the end of every X-files episode. And hearing "I made this!" in your head when you are holding your newborn child in your arms gives you something to think about, which means blog fodder.

I doubt there is a new parent in the world that isn't familiar with the pride you feel, gazing at your newborn and thinking "I made this!" I know I am not the only one who cannot stop staring, who tiptoes over to the co-sleeper or the bed when Thora is asleep - at the risk of waking her - to check that she's still breathing, to look at her, to touch her and kiss her and reassure myself that she is real and here and ours. Yesterday I tried hard to resist going in to check on her as she napped because I felt silly just wanting an excuse to look at her, so I asked Johnny if he'd heard anything through the monitor and when he said, "she's still sleeping, I just checked," I felt validated in the best kind of way because I knew he was doing exactly the same thing and for exactly the same reason. So I checked again anyway to get my baby fix and there she was, still breathing, still sleeping, still gorgeous and perfect and ours.

I find her breathtakingly beautiful, I think she is miraculous, I still can't believe that we created such an impossibly perfect creature. People constantly tell me that we did a good job, that we make beautiful babies but it's so silly to me to take the credit when my body did all the work with such little input from either of us. When she came out of me the first thing someone in the OR said was "she's so pretty!" Wait, we made this, a human being? And a pretty one, at that? She is ours? We get to keep her? This is the baby we conceived with, truthfully, minimal effort? This is the baby that grew inside me, that we dreamed about, that we talked endlessly about for the past year? This baby is half me and half Johnny, and she is what makes us - after over eight years of an on-again, off-again relationship that for the first six years could only be described as intense - a real family. We made her and it was easy. We wanted her and boom! I was pregnant and now here she is.

I am in love like I have never been before. Everyone said I would be but knowing it and feeling it are such different things. It makes my heart swell to feel such incredible emotion and it swells even more when I see the same emotion on my husband's face and when I hear him say "I love you so much, Thora" to her when they are dancing or when he is gazing lovingly into her eyes. It makes me love him even more than I already do. It is mind boggling and no amount of staring, whispering, finger-kissing, toe-pulling or heart-swelling can really help me wrap my head around it. All I know is that it's the best feeling in the whole world and it's awesome to get to take credit for it all! Yes, I made this!

Amazing, the things you can learn by watching TV!


  1. It doesn't even make any sense right? Anna will be 2 next month and just now she came in wearing her PJs open with all her little naked glory out in the breeze and I looked at her and thought, God she's beautiful, I can't believe I made her! This week she's started saying "I love you, Mama" and "I love you Henry/Stella/Bertie" (her dogs). I love this blog, I could have written this one up to the Sopranos part!

  2. You just made me smile from ear to ear. I have MISSED reading you Aimee! Thank you for allowing me, and others, to enjoy you and your family!

  3. How beautiful, Aimee. truly. I love the "I made this!" saying. congratulations. you SHOULD be proud, and you are a wonderful mother already.


  4. Sorry, was logged into Nick's account :) This is Molly (Allen)

  5. Great blog, Aimee! My mom still looks at me sometimes and says "I made you." And the older Theo gets, the more stunning he is as a physical the disbelief that I made him just gets stronger with time. I suspect it will be the same with you and the bee!

  6. This is so beautiful, Aimee! There is love pouring from this blog! *sniff*

  7. Thanks, everyone! You know, Elyse, you were the one who gave me the idea to do this blog in the first place. Thank you for that!


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