The last two summers, I have, almost single-handedly, planned and run MDPL’s two week-long summer camps. It has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. Nevertheless, I couldn’t do that this year. Another board member took on the challenge and is doing quite well with it.

I still wanted to be there for some of it. I thought that Elinor and I would drop by around 9 this morning, when things got started, see the kids, and then head home. I didn’t think that would be too stressful of a day for the munchkin, though I know that’s hard to determine. My dilemma these days is being aware of what is too much — and too little — for a creature who is only 104 days old (!), and balancing that with my increasing need to feel productive, whatever the heck that is.

But last night I had horrible dreams. I was running all over town for MDPL — and then running from and fighting bad guys, which always happens in my dreams — and I would leave Elinor in her carseat, then get sidetracked and realize it had been 15 or 30 or 60 minutes. Once I was just picking up an item and the bad guys tried to keep me there, even though I was TRYING to get back to my baby. To top it all off, at one of the MDPL sites a mother (ahem) was upset and threatening to sue MDPL, and all I wanted was to get back to Elinor. Her little face in her carseat, chewing on her monkey toy, was so vivid.

Nevertheless, this morning I was hesitant.

7:45 Elinor and I wake up. She nurses and falls back asleep. Standard. I eat and dress.

8:45 Elinor wakes up. I feed her a little and then sit her in her poop chair as I finish loading the car. [N.B. Her poop chair is a little bouncer seat. The angle is just right so that, if we time it well, she poops while sitting there. It’s magical, in a way, especially if you are waiting for the next inevitable diaper change so that, hopefully, the baby will not sit in her poop for long. Ahhhhh.]

9:00 Finished, I go to Elinor to change her diaper. We are a little late, but no biggie. We are on infant-time.

9:02 Holy crap, literally. There is poop all over — on the diaper cover, running up her back, down her legs. Oh no! She flails, and poop is now on her onesie and all over her hands and feet. She laughs and gives me a huge grin. I laugh, but in trying to control the situation, there is poop on my hands, as well.

9:05 I give up.

9:12 Elinor is in her bathtub. Sometimes that’s the best cleaning remedy. She needed one, anyway.

9:18 Drying off in her cute towel.

9:23 New diaper.

9:26 Hungry again — nursing again.

9:37 Dressing the baby in cute Hawaiian outfit.

9:39 Oh! She is so cute! I succumb and play with her feet and kiss her cheeks.

9:42 Grab the diaper bag. Grab the baby. Car keys? Water bottle? Blanket for baby? Sunglasses? Change for parking meter?

9:44 Run back inside for blanket.

9:54 Arrive at campus. There is construction! I cannot park where I thought I would park! Grumble and grumble, get the baby into the baby carrier and cover her face from the Colorado sun — she grumbles but then seems to like looking at things. Sun shade up. Grab diaper bag and bag of games for summer camp.

9:58 Walk half a block, only to realize I forgot to pay the meter. Under-breath curses. I am beginning to sweat through the carrier, and I can feel Elinor’s warm little body, too.

10:01 The parking pay-thingy is broken. I grumble, Elinor grumbles and squeaks, and we walk to the next one, then back to the car, then back to the path to the writing center. It is a grumbly morning for us.

10:12 Arrive at summer camp. The kids love Elinor’s hair. Who doesn’t? We hang out, Elinor cries, we hang out in the hall, we hang out with the kids, we change a diaper, we leave the games. Elinor was happy once out of the carrier and once her sweat (my sweat?) had dried from all of that walking — and then I had to put her right back in the carrier. She is a little trooper.

11:04 In car. Elinor doesn’t like her carseat but consents to gum her monkey.

11:14 Great parking space at the library. Drop off books, pick up books, library woman loves Elinor and hopes her eyes stay blue. “Such an exotic combination!” I love people who love my baby.

11:28 Home again, jiggety-jig-jig. Nursing!

Was that too much for the little one? She grumbled and cried some, but her eyes were big and observant as we walked, and met lovely teenaged writers, and walked through the library. At home she nursed like crazy and slept a little. She’s sleeping now as I eat my coconut shrimp (a little salty — the soy sauce was over the top). I can’t tell. *I* was stressed. I’m sure she’s attuned to me enough to get stressed out, too. Perhaps if I just calmed down about her little body in the heat, and looked at my sweat on her as another cooling agent …. It wasn’t enough time in the real world for my normal-person-brain, but it was plenty of time for my mom-brain.

The catch: the more we venture forth, the easier it will be. But getting to that point … ouch. Poop all over.

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