I woke up this morning in Minnesota, holding on to a baby who is only 10 months old but appears to be getting her one-year molars already.
And Edie smiled through the entire checkup, our doc looking in her ears, her eyes, her mouth and, holy smokes, she wasn’t expecting it, this child is getting four more teeth.
So that explained it.
And I was relieved, like any parent would be, that it wasn’t an ear infection or something icky like that. Because No. 1: Poor baby. And No. 2: We had a big weekend ahead of us. Five days on the road and in hotel rooms for meetings and music, and I was taking her along.
But first I had to hit a deadline. Because I’ve recently taken on a fun project as the editor of a free little monthly parenting publication, so lately I’ve been spending time taking notes, brainstorming and putting together ideas for stories and tips that might be useful to parents raising babies between the sidewalks and scoria roads of Western North Dakota. And while I’m not in any position to give tips myself, as a new mom, I’m in every position to seek them out.
And this week I could have used some tips myself on how to conduct a phone interview and take notes with one hand, while trying to keep the teething baby in my other from biting a hole through my shirt.
Or maybe a column from a mom who mothers all day, works all night and still finds the time to binge-watch “Downton Abbey” and is alive and happy about it all.
Or how to convince a baby to sleep through the night in a strange hotel room.
But what I really needed was a step-by-step list of how to pack for five days for a baby and myself in autumn in North Dakota when the forecast warns cool temps and rain but the actual weather finds you sweating in a cardigan in 80-degree hurricane winds.
What should I wear? Really.
Sometimes, I swear, in this whole mom-singer gig, that’s the hardest part.
But here I am this morning, at the end of a trip that gave me the chance to visit my grandparents in Minnesota. They’re sitting in the kitchen having breakfast with my parents, who came along, my mom to watch the baby and my dad to sing along and carry all our stuff.
The two of them still helping their daughter out, still parenting after all these years.
Watching my mom try to keep her granddaughter from eating the grass under the tent where I’m singing “You Are My Sunshine” with my dad is a little slice of sweetness that cuts through the rough, sleepless nights.
Tonight I play music in a small-town Lutheran church, and tomorrow we head back west. But before I got started, I sent a photo to my husband back home of Edie sleeping in my arms while I scheduled the day out in my head, worrying about how to fit it all in.
He texted back.
“You’re so lucky.”
He wished he were here.
And so did Edie, I think, who thought the sound guy at our last gig looked enough like daddy to reach her arms out and snuggle into his shoulder.
I’m not sure what her dad thinks of that story, but I think it made the sound guy feel pretty warm and fuzzy.
Oh, this parenting thing has so many angles, doesn’t it? So many different ways to live it and get through it and love it. That’s what I’m finding as I get a chance to bring this baby along in my work, to write and share stories that I hope can be useful, or at least entertaining, to the moms and dads who are in the same sort of boat, on the same prairie, trying, as I type, to diagnose a fever or figure out how to fit a princess dress over a snowsuit for Halloween.
And I’m pretty pleased to be navigating these waves and adjusting these sails with them.