But Whatever Shall I Wear?

This morning, like most mornings, I stared blanky into my closet as a feeling of frustration crept in. A thousand garments on hangers, yet nothing to wear. Nothing fits. I’m in some strange post-partum fashion purgatory where the maternity clothes are too big (and I’m tired of them anyway), but my regular clothes don’t fit either. I don’t want to buy new clothes because I want my old clothes to magically fit. Tomorrow.
But today, there was a new desperation in my search for an oufit. Camille had an appointment with her pediatrician this afternoon. The last time we were at her office was 7 weeks ago for Cami’s 2 week check-up. I remember sitting in the waiting room when another couple walked in with their infant. The baby was tiny and probably the same age as Camille, but the mother waltzed in with her skinny black party pants and pressed white button-down shirt, dangly earrings and well-styled hair. I was dressed in shorts, an oversized shirt, with a ponytail. I had congratulated myself on the way to the office for having managed to shower and put on clean clothes and still make it to the appointment on time with a 2 week old. But this woman was making me look bad.
So I started thinking terrible things about her and her dangly earrings. One day her child was going to rip them from her ears. And look – they left their darling baby in the infant seat the whole time instead of cuddling her like we were doing with Camille. When she started to fuss, the dad rocked the infant seat back and forth so violently I was concerned for the baby’s well-being. We were clearly superior parents.
Then another mom came in, followed by 3 little girls. She was sporting a pair of tight jeans, and wearing a tank top completely covered in beads that swished and shimmered when she moved. She looked like she was dressed for a night out clubbing instead of a doctor’s appointment. I watched her for a little while, sure I would witness some action that would prove her moral inferiority.
Finally, I realized neither mom deserved my ire or judgement. The first baby seemed quite content in her infant seat, and the three little girls were well-behaved and showed no signs of neglect. But it made me wonder if I had violated some untold doctor’s office dress code. When I pointed the women out to Lee (I’m sure he hadn’t noticed what they were wearing…), he whispered, “Next time, you’re going to have to step it up.”
So as I stared into my closet this morning, I reached for a new top I recently purchased. It has sequins. But I put it back.
The gloomy feeling in the pit of my stomach was about much more than clothes. I’d been facing this doctor’s appointment with a mixture of dread and desire. After 7 weeks of no new information, I’d finally find out what Camille weighed and if she was growing properly. As her sole source of nutrition, I take this very seriously.
But I was dreading this appointment because she was due for FOUR shots. I hate shots. I despise shots. I cried when I got my shots for college. Pregnancy made me more tolerant of needles – you can only get stuck so many times before it takes too much energy to get worked up every time. But now, I had to watch my precious, innocent, unsuspecting child get poked with needles. FOUR of them.
That’s why I put the sequined top back, and reached for the cotton one. When Cami was crying, when the shots were finally all over, I wanted to pull her close and not worry about whether she would inhale a bead or cut her eye on a sequin. I wanted her mommy to feel warm and soft.
I worried unnecessarily. She squealed when she got the first shot and my heart lurched, and she was still crying for shot #2 but not as loudly. She was actually pretty quiet for the third one. She cried again for the 4th because the medicine burned (the nurse warned us about that one), but she settled down again quickly. I held her close, although she really seemed much less upset about the whole procedure than I expected. I was holding her close as much for me as for her.
And I got good news. Her weight is right on target. When she was 2 weeks old, she was in the 5th percentile (I’m glad I didn’t know that at the time, although her doc says it was still okay), but now she’s in the 50th. And looking back, I don’t remember what any of the moms were wearing this time. Cami is healthy and growing well, and that’s way more important than wardrobe.