In with the Old, Out with the Nude

I should have known the New Year was going to start off badly when my mom somehow convinced me to buy my first pair of thong underwear.

While standing in the midst of panty-lined tables at the Victoria’s Secret Semi-Annual Sale, I noticed the assortment of thongs was far more sparse than the display of full-coverage briefs where I had been browsing and planning to purchase in ample supply. Suddenly, I began to wonder if I might be missing out on some cosmic underwear experience.

Like a spectator at a tennis match, my eyes went from the skimpy bikinis to Victoria’s version of the Granny Panty until my mom gestured toward the thongs and suggested, “You should buy one just to see what all the fuss is about.”

“What the heck,” I ventured. “Why not ring in 2002 with skivvies that boldly go where no other piece of fabric has ever gone before?”

Because. Just like I learned from the Epi-Lady incident ten years earlier, what looks painful probably is.

I spent the entire next day with a persistent wedgie minus the sweet release that comes from dislodging the snug strip of cotton. And yet I further subjected myself to this torture, holding out hope that maybe, just maybe, Scott might think they’re sexy.

“They look really uncomfortable,” sealed the deal for me when he came home from work that night. So off came the thong and on came the unhip (but hip covering) hi-leg brief my buns have come to love and appreciate even more in the New Year.

Ever since my panty experiment, though, Rainey has been sick. Projectile vomit, a nose that’s been dripping like a leaky faucet, and a cough that sounds like an old man on an oxygen tank have been uncomfortably wedged in the crack of my mothering for the past several days. And on more than one occasion, the symptomatic nap strikes, food fights, and nipple bites have made me want to strip myself of my parenting duties altogether.

But while restocking the medicine cabinet last night, the better part of me — the part that has managed to get at least a few hours of sleep — realized that, like thongs, babies come with a no return policy. If the “try before you buy” proposition applied to either of the two, I reckon we would have less bare bums on our beaches and a lot fewer little people. Personally, I could live without the former, but I don’t know how I could survive without the latter.

So, to help me keep things in perspective, I took an empty prescription bottle off the shelf and placed it in between the PediaCare and bulb syringe. The contents of the bottle read:

Directions:
As a parental supplement, give as much as possible daily.

Active Ingredient:
Unconditional love.

Uses:
For the temporary relief of minor aches and pains associated with cleaning up your baby’s vomit, wiping her snotty nose, listening to her hacking cough, tempering her crankiness, holding her all day, and reducing your rest so that she can sleep peacefully.

Do Not Stop Using:
When symptoms persist or get worse, improve, or new symptoms appear.

Warning:
Keep this and all virtuous gifts within reach of children.

Soon, Rainey will be back to her old self: growling at strangers, sharing her Cheerios with dinner guests, burying her face in the cat’s belly, and giggling deliriously while chasing me around the house on her hands and knees.

But for this season of time, Rainey will cough. Rainey will sneeze. She will fuss, and she will scream. And I will love her beyond reason, without explanation. I will love her the most when I like being a mom the least, because that’s all I can manage at the time.

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