Any mom who spent her childhood perfecting the three-legged race knows that a one-armed cooking contest would have been better preparation for motherhood. As a new parent constantly holding a baby, it can be shocking to suddenly lose the use of one arm. Now add a squirming, floppy ten-pound weight to that arm and try to cook a soufflé. Sound impossible? Even though it seems daunting at first, it does get easier over time. After a third baby, some mothers are able to hold a crying infant, cook dinner, vacuum, talk on the phone, and do their taxes simultaneously. Sometimes they even do it blindfolded just to show off.
After childbirth, parents inevitably develop a chronic case of The Dropsies. This trend can happen in one of two ways. One way is to drop something after you just spent considerable time rocking your baby to sleep. The Theory of Dropsies Relativity states that there is a direct relationship between how long you spend rocking a baby to sleep and how loud the noise will be when you drop something. For example, after ten minutes, you will only drop a penny. After an hour, it might be your unabridged copy of War and Peace. If you rock for an entire night, you might actually knock over the refrigerator.
One night when our daughter was a newborn, I had spent several stressful hours rocking her to sleep. When my husband was getting ready for bed, the coins from his pocket crashed onto the floor, rolled down an entire hallway and landed outside the door of our sleeping baby’s room. (Much like the Warren Commission investigation of the JFK assassination, he is still on trial as to how the coins actually managed to make a ninety degree turn.) This strange phenomenon is an example of The Doghouse Theory: When one parent is trying frantically to soothe the baby to sleep, it is usually the OTHER parent who drops something.
The other case of The Dropsies occurs when you drop something while holding a crying baby, but you are home alone. To save your aching back, you will need to use your toes to help retrieve it. Prior to motherhood, you probably did not think much of your toes, other than to apply an occasional coat of nail polish. Now that you are beginning your octopus metamorphosis, you need to start thinking of your toes as extra useful tools. Next week we will review some useful exercises to maximize your appendages.