Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day #21 — Free

This prompt strikes me as more than just a little ironic, given that I have spent the last couple of hours trying to figure out financial aid information for my daughter who will be heading off to college in the fall. Right this minute, it doesn't feel like there is much in life that is free. We'll see where the prompt (once again from Lisa Romeo) takes me.

Prompt: Free

Ezra escaped today. Ever since he started walking, he has turned into a regular Houdini. Trying to change his diaper is like trying to do a Rubic's cube with your hands tied behind your back. He is just so wiggly! I won't even try to change him on the changing table or bed, for fear he'll land right on his head.

So this morning I spread the changing pad on the floor and managed to wrestle him flat. With my forearm pinning down his chest, I managed to remove his dirty diaper and clean him up reasonably well with one hand until he twisted away, jumped up and ran around the room laughing … at me! My beautiful baby boy was pointing and laughing at me.

I struggled to my feet, then slipped on the changing pad and landed flat on my butt, which set Ezra into a fit of giggles. He started running around in circles saying: "Boom … damn! Boom … damn!" For the first time since he was born, I was furious. Just furious. My tailbone was killing me, I let out a epithet when I fell and now this little traitor was going to rat me out. Unbelievable. I thought we were a team.

At this point, I turned into a crazy woman, chasing him around the room and barking orders like a drill sergeant:  "Ezra Michael Stern, you come here right this minute. I mean it now. Stop running and come here. If you don't come here right now …"

I have absolutely no idea how that threat would have ended, because before I could finish it, my socks slid on our newly buffed hardwood floor and I fell — again — this time doing the splits before rolling out of them in complete agony. 

I pulled myself to a sitting position, trying to determine whether anything was broken, besides my spirit. This little one-year-old alien monster had brought me to my knees in less than 8 minutes after waking from his morning nap. I burst into tears. If I couldn't handle him as a toddler, what on earth was I going to do when he was a teenager and bigger and stronger than me? I rolled back onto my side in the fetal position and wept.

I was in such a state of self pity that it didn't even occur to me that the baby might have gotten into real trouble. Suddenly, if felt his wet, sloppy lips on my forehead and opened my eyes to see his worried face pressed close to mine. "OK Mama? Awbetter Mama?" 

I sat up, wiped my eyes and gave him a wobbly smile. "All better, Ezzy-man."

"Good," he said with a grin. "Get up!" Then he giggled and started running in circles around me, still naked, his arms flapping and his little penis bobbing as he chanted:  "Get up, get up, get up!"

This time my smile was genuine. But I wonder, will I ever feel that free again?

Time: 12 minutes

I don't know a mom in the world who hasn't been brought to her knees by an infant or toddler. It's a completely overwhelming feeling. For me, the first time it dawned on my that my freedom was gone was when my twins were napping and I realized that I couldn't even walk the block and a half to White Hen. It's good to be able to tap into those feelings at such a primal, visceral level. Sort of like method acting. Using this scene in a kind of "method writing", I could help my character feel trapped, stuck, completely not free … a common obstacle to throw in the path of your hero.

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