First of all, my apologies to those who have actually lost a limb in some sort of trauma and are directed to this post by “Google Search”. This is not meant for you and will appear insensitive on my part if you continue reading, so please don’t. My sincerest hope that things get better for you. Go ahead and close out. We’ll wait…
Okay, so this pertains to having an infant who has discovered that it is the BOMB to be held all the time and that being put down anywhere for longer than .025 seconds is the equivalent of Chinese Water Torture – hence the demon shrieking that has the neighbors contacting CPS.
There are simply things that are extremely difficult to do whilst holding a baby with one arm. What follows is a partial list.
- Putting on makeup. Seriously. Try doing this with one hand. Particularly if you, like myself, use liquid eyeliner. At some point, the baby will spew forth used milk, distracting you, and you will walk away only to realize later that half of your face is done and the other half isn’t. I have routinely opened the door to the UPS man with one eye lined and the other eye naked, likely conjuring up images of me reenacting scenes from “A Clockwork Orange” in my living room. “Welly, welly, welly, welly, welly, welly, well. To what do I owe the extreme please of this surprising visit?”
- Typing. I mastered the art of the type when my father encouraged me to (i.e. made me) take a typing class in eleventh grade. He did this so I wouldn’t be a slave to the “hunt and peck” method for the rest of my life. (I didn’t want to take this class and am eternally grateful that I did.) However, with a baby in tow, not only is it back to hunt and peck; it’s back to hunt and peck one-handed. I’ve tried balancing her on the desk betwixt me and the computer, her head supported on my arm, so I have the use of both hands. She thinks that’s a bunch of BS and calls me out on it immediately.
- Pumping is similarly challenging, though I’ve finally invested in one of those convenient (and sexy!) double pump bras that frees up your hands and makes you look and feel like the factory cow that you suspected you were. “Hmmm…Bessie only produced two 3-oz. bottles today. We’re going to have to put her down.”
- Eating. No, seriously, try cutting up poor Bessie-the-steak one-handed. (or chicken or fish or pork chops, for that matter). Impossible! Even if you can convince your husband to cut up your meat for you, there is the drippage issue. I’m not the most graceful eater with two hands, and now that skill is further diminished. (I found a piece of tomato lodged under my breast when I showered the other night. I didn’t even know it was there). Lola has had steak sauce, salsa, wine and gravy dripped on her at regular intervals. When you catch yourself licking wine off your infant’s forehead, you know you have finally hit bottom.
- Cooking. This is a tough one. The other day, I pulled a dish of maple salmon out of the oven with an oven mitt, set it on the counter, turned off the oven, and basted the salmon with the lovely maple au jus – all one-handed and without compromising the safety of my companion in the other arm. I started moving dishes around for space and grabbed the fresh-out-of-the-oven dish with my bare hand to shift it. HOLY MOTHER OF $*)@%#*!!! It’s like part of your brain softens when you give birth, discombobulating you. This defect found it’s way to my husband’s brain, too. He backed my new car out of the garage and ran right into a metal tool chest with the front right fender, all while looking back carefully to make sure there was room for the side mirror to clear. $1114.00 worth of damage. We both keep wondering if we’ve become mildly retarded…
- Doing dishes. I have one of those baby slings as well as a Baby Bjorn, but I can’t see over the Baby Bjorne and the sling comes between me and the sink. Hence, the drippage issue rears it’s ugly head again, except this time with soapy, greasy water and discarded bits of food. (Lola doesn’t seem fond of potato peelings sticking to her cheeks or watery leftover guacamole dripping into her ear. She’s such a prig.)
- Going to the bathroom. I’m talking about in public, ladies and gentlemen. If the child is in his/her infant seat, it’s fine, but what do you do when you’re carrying the little booger? You can’t leave them to roll off the changing table while you cop a squat (assuming there is a changing table to speak of). So, you fling them over one shoulder and you pee, and you try to keep them from wiggling loose and falling in the toilet as you struggle to get your pants up. I’m certain the negotiating you do during this wrestling match with your baby and your pants is alarming to the other stall patrons.
- Flinging a cat that’s about to vomit off of the bed. I don’t think this needs any additional descriptors.
- The stripping of, washing, and putting on of sheets and blankets (when you haven’t reached said cat in time). Also very difficult.
- Figuring out how to work the remote control. Don’t judge. When Brian leaves the house and I hit the wrong button on any one of the three remotes required to properly work our TV, we have a problem. Particularly if I can’t figure out how to get it off of the sports channel. Take away one of my hands to deal with the situation and all hell breaks loose. I’ve been known to throw the remote control across the room and unplug the TV, fuming, much to my husband’s chagrin.
Learning to live one-armed is no easy task. It takes a lot of patience with yourself, and support and understanding by your loved ones. When you’re feeling overwhelmed at the loss of your independence, talk to someone. Don’t bottle it up inside. And, for heaven’s sake, don’t take it out on the little one who has incapacitated you. He or she just wants to be by your side at all times and feel comforted by your presence. One day, this will pass and you might just miss it. For now, just be thankful you don’t have twins. (Unless you have twins. Then God be with you.)