Recommended Listening: Two of Us, The Beatles
You and I have memories
Longer than the road that stretches out ahead
Sam Lamb wakes up each morning, his little ears clutched tightly through my sons waking hands. He holds on as best he can as Bro flings him from one side of his body to the other, and then begins to rake him across the side of the crib.
Of course, it usually doesn’t end there. When I make it upstairs, Sam is usually under Bro, as Bro looks up at me, angelic, and says, “I don’t know where Sam is.”
Brody wakes like me, and it is not a pretty picture. There is anger and confusion, followed by anger and resolve, and Sam, much like my husband, muddles through it all as best he can.
I always take Sam out from underneath Bro, pat him on the head, and give him back to the opened hands of my son.
And so, I have come to love Sam Lamb as a member of the family. I will not stand for throwing, kicking or standing upon Sam. Bro is learning to use a bat, and just yesterday I took Sam out of the line of fire, patting his head gently and reassuring him that he was safe. If someone tells me Sam stinks, I take it to heart, and when Bro asks me to kiss Sam, I plug my nose and always give the little dude a peck.
But this is not to say that Sam and I were always on good terms. When Bro first began to love Sam Lamb, I was terrified.
Bro, a feisty 6 month old, hated bedtime. One night, when Bro was in the midst of one of his fits, my husband rested Sam beside him.
It is because of this moment and many afterwards, that I have become convinced children know exactly what to do in all situations to immediately terrify their parents. If Bro sees something hot, it must be touched!! If Bro sees something even remotely resembling a string, it must be wrapped around his neck!! And if you give Bro, a baby of 6 months old with a mother still terrified of SIDS, a stuffed toy at bedtime, it must be placed over his face!!
Bro immediately grabbed Sam, placed him on his face, and fell asleep. In a calm, and reasonable manner, I asked Justin to “get Sam the &*% off of Bro’s face!”. Justin removed Sam, and Bro woke up, an angry Sleeping Beauty. Promptly, and with disgust in his eyes, Brody grabbed Sam and placed him back on his face. Eventually we would let Bro do this until we were sure he was asleep, and then as quietly as we could, we would swipe Sam away.
This continued for months, and I don’t recall sleeping well that entire time. Eventually we outgrew our fear of SIDS, and Bro took to sucking on Sam’s ear, which was a whole new set of troubles.
Motherhood is a loaded term for me, as I assume it is to so many, or we would never have so many books written about it. Even now we spend our days trying to figure out who and what a good mother is.
These days, we aren’t so much looking for the bad parent, as the ones who are just a bit off. For example, what if you love your child with all your heart, but you clean your house with Clorox wipes that smell lemon-y fresh? Not only are you using Clorox, and so taking away your child’s future, or at least his future on this planet, but you have chosen to use the ones with fragrance . . . !!!!!
I admit this to you now because I think about these things constantly. Sam is not organic, and Brody literally sucks on him night and day until he is green. I cleaned and still clean Sam constantly, but I cannot get it back to the soft, silky and no doubt dangerous fabric that it once was.
I used to dream of the night I first purchased Sam Lamb, all wide-eyed and optimistic. How terribly naïve, I chided myself regularly, for being! Sam was so soft and creamy, his coat with a fine luster. I looked back on that day time and time again, and wondered why I had not chosen the ugly little troll lovey next to him that was organic? I judged a book by its cover, and perhaps my son, I feared, was paying for my vanity!
I wondered: was I, as a mother, just a bit off? I feared going to the Mothering.com site to learn that hundreds of women did choose the troll lovey, and prayed for me, a prisoner of Sam Lamb. That little troll haunted my dreams, his little wooden-head all blissful and absent, while my green Sam Lamb kept saying, “Don’t you wish I wasn’t 25% polyester and 'Made in China'?
The truth is, if you watch the Today Show enough, you will feel a bit off. Everyday another doctor is on telling us what might be hurting our children. I used to hold my breath and pray that today it was not something in my refrigerator. And then when I made the hard decisions and tried to feel good about them, that angry Nancy Snyderman would get on and tell me I was just giving in to fear mongering.
I am perhaps a bit wiser these days, and I owe a bit of that to Sam Lamb. As the months passed, I came to understand that Sam had my best interest at heart, and was, in many ways, just like me. We both fell short of the now perfect.
I even went so far as to buy a back-up Sam, whom my husband and I lovingly called "Spam." Brody has embraced Spam, and refers to Sam and Spam as "the Brothers". In the theme of "best-laid plans," we now need a Spam back-up.
As I write this, Bro has woken from his nap, and is talking to Sam. “Hello Sam.” “This is Sam Lamb.” “Good Sam Lamb; you are good.”
All Sam and I want is what ultimately is best for Bro. Sam has given his ear, I have given my heart and soul, and they are the same things. Two years ago Sam was perfect, but he was only half the lamb he is today. I hope that one can say the same thing for me!