I’m fortunate in many ways, but one of the ways is that I happen to have terrific siblings. One of them was kind enough to have had her baby girl approximately 46 hours after I had mine. It was very thoughtful of her, as it means that I have a buddy with whom to go on the physical and emotional Slip and Slide of new motherhood. I mean, sure, each of us has friends…but there’s just no one with whom you can discuss vaginal health with the same degree of intimacy as you can with a sister. Actually, she blogs about the state of her post-birth vagina to an unseen audience of hundreds if not more, but let’s move on.
I live in a place famed for its mall. It’s a coincidence: my family was here on these suburban streets long before the mall really wielded its fame and fortune. It’s a fancypants mall where you can find, among other assorted goodies, baby clothes that cost more than I’d spend on an outfit for myself. But I speak of it not in terms of its Xanadu consumerist delights, but rather as a walking venue.
My sister and I decided that on the summer days that are hotter than hot, we’d go for a stroll in the mall with the wee ones. When you are three weeks out from having pushed out a kid, this is what is considered “rigorous exercise.” Yes, I’m aware of how pathetic it is to be lapped around the concourse by the speedy-looking 80 year old who applies makeup with a spatula, but that’s how things are at the moment. It’s a sorry state of affairs.
So I met up with my sister. Then my baby decided she had to eat, then her baby had to eat, then my baby had to burp, then her baby had to burp…by the time we got going, I’d seen Ms. Boca Raton 1956 do seven laps.
After approximately 15 minutes of intense strolling, my daughter was awake. And crying.
“How about you put her in the Nest?” my sister asked.
The Nest is a swaddle-ish contraption that will allow me to simulate pregnancy all over again, wrapping my daughter tightly to my chest so as to physically bond and bind us once more. This is what is known as “Wearing Your Baby,” a practice I have decried amply. It’s a walking ad for attachment parenting.
“Um, okay,” I said. My sister took out her Nest, and wrapped me in the origami-like folds necessary to turn me into a human kangaroo. A few brief steps later, and my kid was on me like white on rice. A few brief steps walking after that, and she was sleeping, her head neatly cradled as per the instructions for carrying newborns – except to me, only two feet were visible jutting out by my hips.
We walked. I felt no pressure on my back whatsoever. The baby slept peacefully, her heart pressed up against mine. It felt…cuddly.
“Excuse me, ma’am,” a woman in a black jacket and pants came up to me in Nordstrom, clearly someone who worked for the store.
“What do you have in there?” she said, gesturing toward my midsection in a somewhat accusatory way.
I imagined pulling out seven pairs of Manolo Blahniks, three Diane von Furstenburg wrap dresses and four bottles of Kiehl’s moisturizer.
“It’s my daughter,” I said, pulling back the Nest and showing my daughter’s downy head.
“OH!” the security guard melted, her facial features transforming from ‘menace’ to ‘beaming smile.’ She proceeded to interrogate me, but with questions about the baby, the birth, the life as a mother, and then, finally, the Nest.
“That thing is amazing,” she said. “I’m getting that as a shower gift for someone. Keeping your baby close – that’s so beautiful.”
Hmm. I looked down at my daughter. It was kind of beautiful, in a touchy-feely way.
I shook my head free of my attachment parenting haze. I was clearly baby steps away from eating only granola, nursing in public, co-sleeping and throwing away my television set. This Nest thing was a gateway baby gear thing. I had to be careful.
I ordered one when I got home. I felt vaguely dirty. I e-mailed Mayim to tell her what I’d done.
“I just spent the morning interviewing nannies,” she wrote me back. “KIDDING!!!”