September 10th and 11th, 1981- Looking at the blackened pan, the pregnant young woman knew that they would have to throw it away as they would never be able to chisel the remainder of the hardened pasta out of bottom. And so she ate the manicotti that could be chipped off the top to avoid hurting his feelings. She had been quite hungry and he had gone to all the trouble to cook for her in 90 degree heat.
Within a few hours, she struggled to get out of bed. The manicotti had finally done the trick and triggered the labor that the young woman thought would never occur. Three weeks past her due date and at last she would deliver! The young woman woke her husband and announced that their lives were about to change. Within moments, he popped her into the tub and gave her a piece of toast. By the time he got her out of the tub, her contractions were coming at a pace that prompted them to hurry to the hospital. For all the reluctance the baby had showed in leaving the nest, it now appeared to be in an all fired hurry to make it's first appearance!
The young husband drove quickly to the hospital where the young woman soon learned that her previously progressive doctor had some very old fashioned ideas about how a birth ought to occur. When she had trouble pushing while flat on her back, the very old fashioned doctor busted out the salad tongs to help extract the baby girl, leaving her with a lifelong "mashie" on one of her ears.
The young woman quickly fell in love with her beautiful daughter. Soul stirring, all encompassing, no-holds-barred love. The kind of love that kept her up at midnight with only the soft light of the hospital bedside lamp..... staring at the blond fuzz on the baby's head, noting the pulse beating under her scalp, admiring the sweep of her lashes across her cheeks. The irony was not lost on the young woman... less than a year ago she had professed to be uninterested in becoming a mother, had in fact been told that it was unlikely she would ever give birth and now she had taken on the very role she felt so unqualified for... the role she thought she would never have. And she was thrilled.
That same level of happiness followed the mother and baby home from the hospital. As the euphoria settled, the young mother began to realize that her baby was somewhat defective. The unfortunate truth was that the baby slept only 4 hours out of every 24... unlike the lies she had been told at the hospital wherein the nurses claimed the beautiful baby girl would sleep 20 out of 24 hours. Even as the young parents tried to cope with the extreme wakefulness of their progeny, the situation went from bad to worse. The baby girl developed colic and began to not only stay awake for 20 hours a day but to scream from 4 in the afternoon until she collapsed in exhaustion some time around midnight.
In later years, the young mother would claim that the only thing that kept her from doing away with her daughter, was the scent wafting from the child's head after the collapse. In fact, as they would fall onto the sofa in exhaustion, the young mother would swear that the longer the child screamed, the sweeter the scent from her head. No doubt the ultimate strategy to prevent the overwhelmed mother from leaving the babe in a basket on someone else's doorstep.... A passing fancy she considered many times over the next 18 years.