You know that game with the gophers or some little furry creature that pops up and you whack them back down with a big fluffy mallet? Whack amole! I bet they are intended to be moles, now that I look at that name. That's what baby showers feel like to me. A series of hard hits on the head or to the heart that remind me of what will never be. It stinks. I'm unsure why I go. Well, I go because it matters to me that I am part of the family and making the effort matters.
Anyway. My extended family is finally having babies (aside from the 2 cousins who have kids the same age as my kid, the last of a few for one and the only for the other, we rarely see either of those cousins). I have this feeling I mentioned my dislike of baby showers when I attended the sister-in-law of this weekend's baby shower recipient's shower in June. As it works out, Little Monster is the oldest of this round of babies (on my cousins' other side of the family they have 4 additional babies born this year) so she's the only one sitting up and eating by herself, only one yelling in delight when she pulls up on the coffee table over and over and over, and the only one on the floor because the other babies aren't crawling yet (or aren't allowed on dirty floors without sanitizing them first/putting down a giant crawling blanket/etc). It's a weird experience. I'm mostly unfamiliar with not being the only parent of a small child in the room and how that works when the other babies are calm and well behaved and captive.
I think that being in a room with people who take it so totally for granted that pregnancy is simple and easy to achieve and complete hurts. Right now I'm doubly reminded of the things this baby doesn't have because either I donated them in a fit of fury after 3 miscarriages that were each a freaking year apart or because we are spectacularly broke. I think this week is the one where we figure out how soon we will need to go to the food shelf and if we might make little enough to get food stamps (pretty sure we don't). It just hurts.
Every comment about the cute baby in my arms just stings when I know the cute baby just across the room from me has a sibling the age of a baby who's missing in our family. Every "oh isn't she just the happiest baby!" grates on my nerves because I know that upstairs with the spouse is the angry child who I am failing spectacularly many times a day. Wanted, loved, absolutely, for both girls, but that doesn't stop it from being infuriating to handle this particular phase in the 5 year old. Every frilly pink thing on the youngest baby just rubs in that she's born a year after they got married. What a luxury and they don't appreciate it at all. My eldest cousin was at this shower too, childless still but I think they have some idea of children "in the future" and she's 35 or so. Not so much future left, I want to say, and yet I don't. I just pop back up at the next baby shower and think about how much it hurts and get whacked on the head some more by well-meaning aunts and cousins. Yet I kind of feel like I don't have much choice in popping back up either since it's so expected and it shouldn't be a big deal. Maybe that's what makes it sting the most, that I'm guilty about how miserable it makes me to go. On the one hand, having the token kid for 5 years has been lonely in a big family where lots of folk were married but not having kids. On the other hand, while it's nice that there will be second cousins for Little Monster to play with, it's hard too that she won't see them much and maybe even less depending on where we wind up when we're done with school.
I think it's good that nobody else is having a baby soon because I need a much longer break than 4.5 months before the next one of these things. Oof.