Living in the gray.

We attended a cloth diaper workshop yesterday on the Upper East Side. We learned about all of the different options, which take longer to dry, which require origami to fold. (Those were vetoed quickly by Chris, who said "I am literally never going to be able to do that." Ha!) 

In the end we walked out of the store and I thought "oh for crying out loud, this is all too complicated to decide without experimentation." And then it just dawned on me: there is no reason we can't approach this as an experiment. We don't have to buy 18-24 of the same kinds... we can buy a few different diapers to start and mess around with them, learning which we prefer, and buy additional stock after we're in the thick of it. For example, we could decide to:
  • cloth diaper on the weekends
  • cloth diaper overnight
  • cloth diaper on the days we're at home with Tiny (and no babysitter/daycare)
  • alternate between cloth and disposable
  • use full-time cloth diapers after 3 months, 6 months, a year
I write these options out here to remind myself of all the space that exists between the black and the white. It doesn't have to be all or nothing; simply including cloth diapers in the mix will make me feel as though we're being resourceful and curbing some of the trash we throw out. 

So we'll pace ourselves and live somewhere in the middle of washboarding hemp diapers and filling up a thousand landfills. Done.


I saw 3am more often this past week than I care to recount. I'd end up out on the couch, typing long, heartfelt emails to friends about some of the decisions we're encountering as we move into this next phase of life. I'd wake up around 3, pad out to the bathroom and then realize I was just awake enough for all of the uncertainties to swarm in and eat me alive. 

What is it about the middle of the night that makes us lose faith? It's the same couch, the same view, the same crossroads to contemplate as it was 8 hours earlier... but the shadows fill the room in the middle of the night with pure darkness and it's hard to know how any of it will shake out alright. 

Inevitably I would wake up a few hours later to start my day and feel instantly better about our future. Every. Single. Time. All I needed was the light to realize how melodramatic or unadventurous I was being. 

During the day, I dream up ideas. Next to nothing stops my imagination and my belief that I can make anything happen. During the night, I doubt myself. I get conservative, I question feasibility, viability, I wonder whether people will like me. 

You need both. You need dark because you need to make money to live, because you can't exist on hopes and dreams. But you need the light too, because who wants to live in a cave with no exit other than the doorway you've already walked through? 


On the way out of the building this morning we ran into neighbors who were returning with their two kids from the water park.

"Water Park?!" I asked excitedly. "Where was that??"

"Oh, just down at Pier 6," Alan answered.

"Wow, I had no idea."

"Oh you will," he laughed, "soon enough you'll know this neighborhood in a totally different way."

Sometimes it takes near-strangers to remind us of the adventures ahead. This growing-a-baby thing astounds me daily, the frequency with which I forget I am pregnant and the rapid circle completing as I remember. I'm like the goldfish in the Pink Floyd song. I forget and I remember and I forget again... and then, with as much joy and excitement as every other time, I remember again.

I suppose this is why it takes 40 weeks to bake the bun in the oven. It's simply too unfathomable to comprehend any faster.

They say that you can't be a little bit pregnant, but I know that you can be half of a parent. This week I hit 20 weeks, which means that I'm halfway between non-pregnant and MOM WHO BIRTHED A KID. I'm in the middle. Sometimes this is the highlight of my life and other times I am more terrified than I've ever been, but most days I find myself somewhere in the middle. 

Then last night as I was rereading Loving Frank on a chair in the living room, I felt some weird movement down in the baby zone. Since everyone keeps telling me half of what I feel is gas (Why is it the assumption that we're all just farting for 10 months? Rude!), I figured that was it. Nonetheless, I poked my belly anyway, pushing my index finger into organs and whatever else lives beneath.

POW! Something kicked back and it was so surprising and scary that I screamed and got goosebumps all over. "HONEY!" I yelled, but Chris was wearing mega headphones (and working hard to defeat Batman on his computer).

I trembled a bit, poking again, more timidly this time, but the foreigner had dipped back under, leaving me to wonder who the heck is in there.

He's not me and he's not Chris, but he's someone in-between.



Erica said...

Thanks for sharing this experience with all of us! It's so beautifully written, and I'm sure a lot of mothers and moms-to-be can relate. I'm bookmarking your words of reflection for when I have kids in the future!

Jen said...

Thanks, E! xox