Days as a new mother pass quickly. Though I gained experience and confidence cultivating my mother skills with Janet beside me, sometimes I felt a desperation, even an anguish when Sasha had problems I seemingly could not fix. I found myself watching Janet at all times-- when she encouraged me to hold him in my arms versus placing him in his basket, studying her every response and movement to his distressed cries, taking in how she looked so relaxed when all I could muster was a pang of fear. Where I analyzed everything, Janet showed me the beauty of the moment.
One day I had just finished breastfeeding Sasha and was trying to hold him and pump at the same time. Sasha began to scream and scream, annoyed with me for jostling him about unnecessarily and Onni came running upstairs to see what I was doing to his baby.
Onni has been obsessed with Sasha since he was in my womb. He cared for me throughout my pregnancy, supporting my back at night in the only position in which I could sleep--with him perfectly aligned along my spine. After he began following me for daily toilet inspections, I called him the doctor. When my water broke, he was so nervous he would not let me out of his sight until I stepped through the door to the garage and kissed him goodbye. My friend and neighbor, John, brought Onni a blanket from Sasha in the hours following his birth. He curled up with it on our bed and waited for us to come home. It was clear from the start that Onni wanted to be involved with everything that concerned Sasha. He is not shortchanged by the baby's presence, he assumes that Sasha is here for him as much as Onni is here for Sasha.
Sasha crying, even softly, brings Onni rushing to his side. Sasha screaming sends Onni over the edge. So that day, Sasha was inconsolable and Onni was insistent that I do something, the right something to resolve this situation and immediately. Where was Janet? Hadn't she heard all of the fussing? With Onni across my lap, his paw nudging my shoulder repeatedly, and Sasha curled into my belly and the pump doing its thing, I began to stroke them both and sing them a lullaby about a beautiful boy and his dog who were having a a relaxing day with their mom.
One ridiculous verse after another, my hands patted and petted, my body swayed, the pump pulled and drained. Finally Onni's eyes closed and Sasha returned my smile. Just then Janet came into the room and exclaimed, "Now you are really a mother."