Jewish World Review
Sept. 9, 2010
/ 29 Elul, 5770
Grandma looks like she got run over by a reindeer
Dark circles and bags under the eyes of mothers and fathers
of newborns is a badge of honor in parenthood. Those same dark
circles and bags under the eyes of a grandma look like a woman
with a drinking problem aging before her time.
Sleep deprivation is never pretty. Consider the grandma,
helping to care for newborn twins, who thought she accidently
put a baby’s sleeper in the Diaper Genie instead of the soiled
diaper. The truly pathetic part is that the grandma shoved her
hand into the Diaper Genie to check for the sleeper when she
could have simply looked in the laundry basket.
The next night, Grandma changed both babies at 3 a.m. and
three hours later was summoned to the nursery by the new mother,
who was giggling. Both babies' diapers were riding several
miles south of their plumbing systems. To my credit, the diapers
would have caught any fluids that leaked from the babies' knees.
"Tsk, tsk," I say to my daughter as we study the low-slung
diapers. "Who would have thought your precious preemies would be
dressing like thugs?"
The babies, who still side with their new mommy and daddy on
everything because their brains are not yet developed enough to
know that grandparents are their true allies, are again
thrusting their arms into the air as though they have questions.
You don't have to be a baby whisperer to know what they are
"Is Grandma sober?"
Yes, Grandma is sober, Grandma is just very tired.
"If Grandma is sober, why does she bump into the walls at
night and stagger when she walks?"
Because Grandma is not used to sleeping in 90-minute
"Will we ever grow hair?"
What is the square root of 81?"
"Nine. Now go to sleep."
Sleep deprivation is par for the course with newborns. When a
clock says 12, you ask yourself if that is midnight or noon. It
is no longer a concern that you put your contact lens in the
wrong eye and wonder if that is Tartar Control Crest or Handers
Buttocks Ointment you just squeezed on your toothbrush.
I am grateful for our youngest who calls once a day and
shouts into the phone, "TODAY IS WEDNESDAY!" and then hangs up.
In desperate times, little things mean a lot.
Sometimes during the day, the new-mommy daughter and I
encourage one another with exchanges like the following:
"You look like someone blacked both your eyes."
"Thank you. Your hair looks like it was caught in the
"I know. You look like you were marooned on a desert isle."
And on it goes, until one of the babies shoots an arm into
the air with another question.
"What time does the party start tonight?"
The babies know good and well when the party starts -- the
minute the heads of all adults in the house hit the pillows and
they think they have a shot at sleep.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of , most recently, "Catching Christmas" (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) and I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids To comment, please click here. To visit her website click here.
© 2009, Lori Borgman