Saturday, December 09, 2006

Okay, Who Ate The Baby Jesus?

While talking on the phone to my good friend "Gorgeous hair", I heard a pained scream from Froggy. I hung up, ran into the other room and found blood dripping from her mouth. Her tongue had a small puncture wound, that quickly healed.

I was terrified she had swallowed whatever it was that cut her. I searched the floor and couldn't find anything. And then I noticed a clay nativity scene my mom had given us years ago. To my dismay, the baby Jesus was missing from the manger.

"Did Froggy eat the baby Jesus?" I wondered.

"Where was Jesus? Making his way down her little tummy, wondering how he'd strayed so far from Bethlehem?"

"Froggy, where's Jesus? Where, for the love of God, is Jesus?" I begged.

I searched for the clay babe under the sofa and desk, beneath the pack n'play and in her books. But Jesus was no where to be found. I considered rushing Froggy to the emergency room.

What would I say when I arrived?

"Excuse me, it seems my daughter has eaten the Messiah," or "Froggy took the sacrament a little too seriously."

Before I could pack up my naughty little girl, I noticed two small chips of clay on the floor. It was the nose and ear of a donkey. They looked pretty sharp and capable of cutting her tongue. But that manger was still empty. And I just wouldn't sleep until Jesus had been found.

Finally, after a thorough search of our floors, I found dog hair, a lipstick, some post-its, but no Prince of Peace.

"Maybe this nativity is a prenatal one," I thought hopefully.

"No, what would be the point of a nativity scene with only a pregnant Mary?"

Who would buy one of those? It would be like a 99-cent store version with a disclaimer on that box that says, "Jesus not included." And that would be the lesson of this story - Never buy batteries or a nativity scene at a 99-cent store. It would be our Christmas story passed down to the generations about Grandma sending us a cheap nativity scene without the nativity.

At this point, Froggy appeared fine. She wasn't jumping to one side everytime Jesus poked her tummy with his little baby finger, or coughing up proverbs. So, I took one more look at the scene of wisemen, little lamb and a sadly deformed donkey. And there in Mary's arms was her baby, tiny, nestled in, looking into his mama's eyes.

In my worry and hurry, I had seen the empty manger and assumed Jesus was gone. In the other nativities, Mary, Joseph and crew are looking down at this untouchable child. But in this one, Mary is a co-sleeper, a real, concerned, child-wearing mom, who just didn't want to put her babe down in some itchy straw in a stinky barn, while a bunch of wise, but let's face it, strange men, ogled her little boy.

And then I remembered when Froggy and I were in the hospital, hours after she was born. The nurses had given us this hard plastic crib, that sat a good two feet higher than my comfy bed. Everytime I wanted to look at her, I had to practically stand up.

When I placed Froggy in the crib, she cried. So I put her in bed with me, and she stopped. When the nurse returned to take our vitals, she said, "You better be puttin' that babe back in her crib now." (She was Jamaican, so you have to read it with a Jamaican accent mon.)

"But she cries when I put her in there." I replied, exhausted and somewhat offended that after only a couple hours of motherhood, someone was already implying I wasn't doing a very good job, mon.

I complied and put Froggy back in her crib. And she cried.

After about 30 seconds, I plopped her back in bed with me and she's been there ever since. Sometimes she sleeps in her crib and is perfectly content. Other nights, when her stomach hurts, or just feeling needy, she sleeps with us. I figure, we have our whole lives to be independent, to sleep alone, to save the world. But now is the time for comfort, for snuggling under the covers, or in the hay. She won't always be this small, this perfect for cuddling. And one day she'll say, "Mom, get out of my room, and close the door!"

So for now, she's in my arms, tiny, nestled in and looking into her mama's eyes. Right where she belongs.


Anonymous said...

I really like this post. It shows what a fantastic writer you are.

froggyaunt said...

Oh, Froggymama, this story is a holiday treasure! Love you all,FA

Mieke said...

What Rachel said.

Anonymous said...

what Mieke said... jcn

Anonymous said...

I love this's the sort of thing that should be heard on the airwaves public radio (the CBC Radio 1 here). It reminds me a bit of the work of Stuart Maclean.

Anonymous said...

I love this story! I laughed and of course got choked up.
Your description of your experience in the hospital when Froggy was a newborn reminded me of the time when Froggycousin was a newborn and I put her in bed with me to nurse. I was so exhausted that I unintentionally fell asleep with the baby snuggled in next to me. Awhile later, her daddy woke up, checked the little crib that was next to our bed, and said in a panicked voice, "Where is the baby?" Hardly knowing who I was or where I was, I replied, "WHAT baby?" He threw back the covers, and there she was sleeping peacefully. I was so very thankful that in my tired state I hadn't smothered my precious newborn girl.
Now she is at the age where she sometimes closes her door on me (and I sometimes want to smother her). Thankfully those moments pass and occasionally in the morning, when she is cold and doesn't want to get up (in true Guster fashion) she crawls in bed with me, snuggles up to me and I love her more than ever!