February 16, 2011

From a tizzy to tranquila in 30 minutes flat

This is going to be a tricky title to explain, but here goes:

When I first started writing this post, I was coming off a highly charged state, having, after several phone calls and 2 visits to the bank, unsuccessfully attempted to pre-pay for my husband's Mexican passport application for which we have our appointment tomorrow morning.  I was in a rage, but trying not to expose my husband or daughter to my anger, because they certainly were not responsible for the situation.  So I penned about 2 pages in my journal replete with expletives, came upstairs and tried to sort some things out, worked off my heated emotions to Rage Against the Machine, readied my Caroline Myss' Spiritual Power Spiritual Practice to help me bliss out afterwards, and then began this post:

Well, I should have expected I'd be writing about this by now.  Every year I have to renew my Mexican FM2 visa in September, the month we first arrived, and every time is always a new challenge, but 2011 is the YEAR that will top them ALL.  This year, I have decided I'll go straight for the citizenship papers- yep, skip the next 3 years of nearly $300 and 3 days of waiting in lines for each visa, and go for the nearly $200, one-time, federal citizenship application.  It requires some new hoops to jump through, like a trip down to Mexico City to get my proof of a crime-free life at the Procuraduria Federal.  An interview in Spanish, and a history exam.  But if THAT wasn't enough, I am attempting several other separate applications for me and my family, all in one year. Yes, I am a glutton for punishment:
  1. Mexican birth certificate for the baby (Check, last October)
  2. Consular Report of Birth Abroad for the baby (Check, last December)
  3. U.S. Passport for the baby (Also check)
  4. Social Security Number application for the baby (not sure how yet, but gotta happen before April 15, Tax Day!)
  5. Mexican passport for the baby (comes up sometime in March)
  6. Mexican passport for the husband (tomorrow)
  7. Canadian visa for the husband (sometime end of March)
I have somehow blithely decided to do all this while undertaking a new writing project and mothering a 5 month old baby.  Luckily I only think things through partially before I decide to do them.  For the last several weeks I have been diligently gathering documents in triplicate in preparation for the applications.  Wow, everything seems to be going so smoothly, I am really am old hat at this.  I deserve a Masters in bureacratic application submission!  Until today.  It happens as it often does, what has been a mostly routine process collides with that inevitable.
                            *                      *                          *
I was about to light into the frustrating events of the day.  But then I was interrupted by my husband coming in with the baby, who just couldn't wait any longer- she wanted food and NOW.  So I wrapped up, went in the bedroom, soothed her cries, and sat ourselves down in the rocker to nurse her to sleep.  First she worked off her hunger.  And I calmed down.  Then as she melted into a heap of sleep in my lap, I realized my tizzy was almost gone.  My mind was still on auto-pilot, trying to count up how many visits to the bank, notary, civil registry, phone calls, account queries, payments, and copies that'd have to be made, but they seemed more remote, vague, fuzzy.  If was grasping, it was quickly let go.  Then I realized she had fallen asleep at my breast.  Looking at her, I felt calm and satisfied. Like her.  So I slowly got up- but since I hadn't closed the curtains as I usually do when we go in to settle down, the light of the moon shined in on her face. Her eyes flashed open wide, but then fluttered back down. Laying her down in her crib, she started- her thumb went to her mouth, and I wrapped her to see if we could start practicing her self-soothing.

I came back to the computer.  What lines had formed in my head that just needed to get written down?  I don't recall, because the whimpers and wails were issuing from her room for more than 5 minutes.  We don't (and may never) practice cry-it-out, since there's never been a time when she hasn't needed one of us for a reason, and so I went in to pick up where I'd left off. This time, I did it right- closed the curtains, turned on the night-light, wrapped in warmly in her blankie, and sure enough, within 5 minutes she had drifted off again, this time grinning in her sleep.  I knew we were through this time.

This is how motherhood is softening me.   Not like a bonfire turns marshmallows to goo, but how repeated tumbling polishes a stone.  A once rough surface is still solid inside, but now smooth to the touch.  Kind of like how the topic of this post started as a self-indulgent venting session about how much foreign life can sometimes frustrate me, and ended up with me marveling at the feminine force to be reckoned with that is mothering.  Forget meditation, alcohol, drugs (I haven't tried tranquilizers), exercise, I have never found anything faster or more satisfying to take "the edge" off than quality time with my baby, especially nursing.  Oxytocin, that bonding hormone, is liquid love, connection, and security. 

I can't tell if it's just the nurturing chemicals coursing through my body that mellow me out and turn me down, or if it has something to do with the baby herself, from this land, already starting to act on me and bring my sometimes-American all-too-often impatient sensibilities a notch down, and with greater perspective.  But I can't say that I mind finding out.

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