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Mama’s reflex

2011 March 3

Picture this.

It’s 4:00am on a quiet Wednesday night/Thursday morning. The house is still. The few lights that dot the hilltop outside my window indicate that the rest of the community is still as well. I have just finished my ritual pumping session, watching The Real Housewives of somewhere on DVR (don’t judge, sometimes I swap it with CNN), and the bottles have been washed and dried.

Little D is asleep. Kai is falling back to sleep soundly. Darling husband is well on his way to dreamland. My half-empty rumpled bed is calling my name, loud and clear.

But instead of giving in to its cries, I am cleaning out the fridge.

Legitimately cleaning out the fridge. Dumping out old bowls of half-eaten pasta, pouring out sippy cups past their expiration date, and wiping down glass shelves until they sparkle.

You know how key reflexes develop in a baby over its first few weeks out in the real world? Sucking, rooting, palmar grasp (had to look that one up, when they clench your finger in their little palm, so sweet), all of these natural tendencies blossom and grow in the early phase, to ensure survival.

Well one reflex in particular seems to be re-blossoming and growing in me as a mama. The gag reflex.

When I opened up that fridge last night to put my bottles away, the faint scent of something on its way to spoiledville caught me and wouldn’t let go. I gagged. A few years ago, I wouldn’t have gagged. I wasn’t always a squeamish person. I wasn’t off auditioning for maggot-eating game shows or anything, but I could hold my own – and my tummy – in most scenarios.

But for some reason, when Little D innocently took her half eaten banana yesterday morning, rubbed it on her used placemat – up and down, up and down – and then popped it into her mouth, chomping away with content? I gagged.

When she stuck her finger up her nose in the backseat of the car at the exact moment that I turned around to marvel in her beauty and cuteness and then proceeded to pop it in her mouth like a lollipop, as any normal 3.5 yr old would do…I gagged.

When Kai gets that sweet milk caught in his fat baby neck rolls and I am cuddling up on him trying to make him a total mama’s boy and I get a whiff of it…I gag. Badly.

So while babyhood might be teaching them the reflexes to eat, sleep and soothe themselves into a state of bliss, it’s doing nothing but making me sick.

It appears I can love a lot about motherhood – the bonding, the laughs, the shopping – but I just can’t stomach having kids.

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