Amanda Gates

Waiting for Birdy: A year of Frantic Tedium, neurotic angst, and the wild magic of growing a family

I had read lots of good things about this book, and now seemed like the perfect time to read it as I'm in her position right now - toddler boy, baby on the way. She was funny, thoughtful, a bit crazy at times, but so many things she wrote stuck with me.

Not really spoilers, just some quotes I loved:

On parenting fears

“It’s so simple now: I don’t want Ben to die, and I’m afraid that he will…I can’t believe there will be yet another baby to fret over. Can I survive so much worry? Whenever they interview anyone who lives to be a hundred, the secret is always revealed to be a life without stress. At this rate, I’ll be lucky to make it to 35.”

On pregnancy book she would write

“Who are these women so big and so into it? In my pregnancy book there will be a picture of a 10-foot pole in that section. In my pregnancy book there will be practical advice—like how to throw up quietly in public, and how to maximize the nutritional value of Fritos, and how not to punch anybody in the face, even when you feel like you’ve been injected with some crazy rage hormone. And how to sleep with two babies—one three, and one not yet born—lying on top of you on the couch.”

On toddlers

“What happens to this singularity of focus when the new baby comes? As it is, I’m so exhausted from so much feeling, so much negotiating, so much explaining of every single thing.”

On labor (it’s like she can read my mind)

“I confess that I’m so happy this time not to be consumed with the minutiae of the birth, like whether or not to get drugs. With your first baby, you think this is actually an important decision. Only later do you realize that a) You understand nothing about labor until it’s happening to you, and b) The birth is just the first tiny town—barely a black dot—on the enormous, complicated road map that is the rest of your life as a parent. Mistaking the birth for the main event is like thinking that the floral arrangements at your wedding will somehow determine the quality of your marriage.”

On the second baby

“The Buddhists describe life as a river: stand in one spot to watch the water rush by, and it will be always the same, always different. When the first baby comes, it’s like the sudden boil of the rapids: froth and sound, terror and thrill-a-second joy. The second one feels more like a gentle bend in the water’s path. A gentle bend with a boulder or two to keep you on your toes.”

On worrying

“When we got home, I watched Ben and Birdy sleep, and these waves of love crashed over me, and it was deeply pleasurable, but also entirely overwhelming. My dad has assured me that it will never get any better, this life of worry. Poor guy. He had anticipated that maybe having grandchildren would help him worry less, but it turns out, they are just more and more people for him to add to his roster of concern.”

On love

“Sometimes I wonder whether I would have done this—this becoming a parent—if I had known. You know, known about this love that’s like heartbreak. Mostly, and obviously, I think: Of course. Don’t be silly. But sometimes my love for these children feels almost like an affliction—like my heart is in the fist of a beast, and I am utterly helpless.”

Comments

Great Quotes!

I love the quotes you chose. I am going to put this on my to read list!

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