Fairy Princess Delusions: Part Three of Law and Pleasure.

Luckily for me of the fairy princess delusions, my first child was incredibly resilient in spite of my complete lack of mothering instincts. I woke up in the middle of the night, late in my pregnancy, in a cold sweat from the sudden realization that a baby was not like a puppy that could be taken back if it didn’t work out well.
My husband was in the army and we were stationed far from family, but my mother-in-law paid for me to have a baby nurse for the first two weeks at home. (Perhaps the scorched white shirts were a clue that I might need some help.)
After sixteen hours of labor, Chris had been delivered by caesarean section, so fortunately both Chris and I were safely surrounded by experts at the hospital for the first week. Then, when we came home, the baby nurse was a large motherly woman with more than a dozen children of her own. Since I was recuperating from surgery, she pretty much did all the nitty-gritty and just brought me a clean sweet smelling baby to cuddle and nurse. I should have been watching and practicing for when we were going to be on our own. Fairy princess delusions die hard.
After the baby nurse left, the first time I bathed Chris, I propped the baby book with the instructions next to the little tub. Reading while holding a wiggling baby and trying to wash tiny body parts quickly had me in tears from a sense of total inadequacy. Never having changed a poopy diaper, I had no warning that I had a strong gag reflex to unpleasant odors or that when cleaning up vomit, I would add to it. I began to wonder if maybe I should have been a History teacher after all.
Eventually this will tie into the theme of Law and Pleasure.

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About Eileen

Mother of five, grandmother of eleven, great-grandmother of seven, 1955 -1959 Rice University in Houston, TX. Taught primary grades; Was Associate Post Director of Religious Education at Ft. Campbell, KY; Consultant on the Myers/Briggs Type Indicator; Presently part time Administrative Assistant/Bookkeeper for Architect husband of fifty-seven years. Blog: Laughter: Carbonated Grace

Posted on April 9, 2017, in disillusionment, Humor, marriage, Parenting, Personality Differences, self-doubt, Teaching/Learning Experiences and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. HI Eileen this might not be related entirely… but when as a preschool teacher I was the one tapped to clean up the vomit and poop because (I did NOT) have the gag reflex…
    I also wondered if history for older students might have been better!
    Either way… life stinks! 🙂
    Love and blessings to u my dear and helpful friend.
    Tabby

    • Interestingly enough I seemed to have outgrown those problems by the time I had grandchildren. But, my husband, who when we were young didn’t really mind changing diapers or cleaning up vomit, now gags and hates it. I really do think we grow in a circle. No one’s ahead of anyone, because we start out at a different point on the circle.
      However, in fourth grade at a school with very mean teachers, when the teacher was going to make a boarding school girl, who was white as a sheet and shaking after throwing up in the classroom, get a bucket and mop to clean it up, I volunteered to do it, so she
      could go to the infirmary. And somehow I did it without gagging or throwing up. And I managed when I had to with my kids, though gagging the whole time.

      • Interesting! I think doing it thru the personal reflexes anyhow speaks more to your resilience and less about your adverse reactions…
        There was some passage I read in Charlotte Joko Beck’s zen work that speaks of encountering what “it” is how it is, like maybe one day we smell roses but the next day we are in a garbage dump… and how do we work with the present moment and take on our tasks feeling resistance.
        I think it also might relate to your instinct of service and empathy to help someone and prioritize her (thus) helping you get over a gag reflex because you were fully present. You just acted. I had a co-worker (still) friend at a preschool I worked at who had cancer and she needed to learn how to give herself injections, but until she could face that she asked all of us teachers if we could do it for her, but everyone was squeamish about needles. I stepped up because I didn’t have that problem… I’d worked blood drives and just saw the higher goal. I was lucky I wasn’t a fainter. And I just wanted her to be okay and I thought we (teachers) are trained to do CPR in emergency so this too has to fall under that. So I just did it. After that she was able to do it herself… She was sort of disappointed no one else would help… but it bonded us! 🙂 I will try to find that Joko Beck quote for you if you are interested. I gave my books away, so it’ll take a while tho! OOps!
        I appreciate you writing about these experiences. We all have to face them eventually.
        Thanks for the learning. Peace and blessings to u.
        Tabs

        • Hmmm. Hope no one depends on me to give them shots. Not so much that I’m squeamish, but a klutz. I tried to give a friend a break from care giving her bedridden mother-in-law. She needed a bed pan for urinating and somehow I got it under her upside down and the pee ran down her back. I have a good heart, but I am so bad at details. 🙂

          • U made me laugh… not at u. But Eileen… YOU are entirely wonderful. Just know that.
            🙂
            tabby

  2. It never occurred me to question the process of getting married, having babies and living happily ever after.( BTW I married a year after you did.) Fortunately of the three possibilities being a mother worked out best for me. I am now happily unmarried and still working on the mother-grandmother part. It’s worth it.

  3. I wasn’t ever a traditional mom, but I did successfully nurture them intellectually, creatively, and spiritually, though I was not terribly good at comforting.

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