The baby stirs in the bed and I hurry from the bathroom to scoop her out of her bassinet before she wakes up everyone else. I carry her to the couch and feed her. The glow of the computer screen lights her face. When she’s done eating I carry her back to her bed and lay her down.
The cat wakes as the dawn rises. He cries to be let out and I clamber out of bed to go to him before he wakes the baby. I hoist him into my arms and nuzzle his soft fur as we walk to the back door. “Have fun hunting.” I murmur as he scampers away. I head back to bed, my eyes still heavy with sleep.
C calls out to me an hour or so later.
“Mammy! I’m all done! Mammy, come get me!” I slip my arm out from under the slumbering baby’s head and I slip out of bed. I pull C out of her crib and carry her to the changing table.
“Did you sleep well?”
Once she’s dressed for the day I carry her into the kitchen where M is waiting to feed her some breakfast. Just as I sit her down in her booster seat I hear the baby cry out.
I walk into the kitchen carrying the baby on my hip and busy myself preparing my breakfast. I shift her from arm to arm as I move around the kitchen, opening and shutting cupboards. While the water comes to a boil I empty the dishwasher, putting away as many dishes as possible without putting the baby down.
I’ve put my shoes on and we’re ready to go. Little L, in her car seat, beams up at me as I bend down to pick up the apparatus. I walk into the kitchen and gather the massive diaper bag, my coffee, and the bag of diapers for daycare. I’m often amazed that I don’t forget things more often.
I have multiple contraptions designed to help me carry my load; baby carriers, slings, bags, or pockets. All day long I carry babies, children, cats, dishes, clothes, bags, books, toys. On the rare occasion that I find my arms empty I feel like I’m missing something. I run through the list of people and things I usually carry with me to make sure that I haven’t forgotten anyone, anything. So on Tuesday, when I drop off my children and their paraphernalia at daycare, and head back to my car with just my keys in hand I’m either going to feel very light or very naked. Either way, it’s going to take a while before it feels natural.