Dear Jo: Pump and Dump

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July 8, 3 years A.B. (after-baby)

Dear Jo,

Let me just say, a margarita never tasted so good.

I told Paul at dinner that he would be handling bed time, while I sat in the backyard.

“What are you going to do there?”

“I don’t know. But I can’t stand to listen to her crying anymore.”

Dear Jo: Pump & Dump

I had spent the 5-, 10- and 15-minute intervals over the last three nights listening to Lyla cry. I had been the one to go into the room and rescue her, holding her closely and rocking her until her tears stopped flowing and she finally went to sleep. But I couldn’t do it another night. I know that according to Dr. Warner this whole “modified” cry-it-out approach would only take another night or two before she learned to put herself to sleep, but I couldn’t listen to her crying anymore.

So after dinner, I loaded the dishwasher, put away the food, grabbed a book and headed out the back door. The only company I had was Arnold. The cat is so domesticated that he didn’t know what to do with his freedom. He walked along the back of the house, chewed on a couple of blades of grass and then plopped himself underneath my chair. He purred as birds chirped and took flight, but he didn’t chase any of them. After so many years inside the house, it appears that he has forgotten he’s a cat.

I made an attempt to read, but I couldn’t focus on my book. Honestly, I couldn’t even remember what was going on in my book. I had been reading it off and on since Emerson was a baby. Some day I would finish it, but today wouldn’t be that day. I looked up at the first stars of the night and attempted to tell myself that a few minutes of crying did not matter in the grand scheme of the universe. But before I could completely discount my own thoughts, I heard a familiar voice.

“Mind if I join you?” Emily asked from the other side of the white picket fence.

“Not at all.” As I stood from my chair to open the gate for her, Arnold fled from the shade of the chair and took cover in a nearby bush.

“I come bearing gifts,” Emily said as she held up two margarita glasses and a pitcher full of drinks.

“Did you bring…?”

“My homemade margaritas.”

Friends who come with gifts are one thing. Friends who come with homemade margaritas are a whole other level. Suddenly you felt very thankful that you let your guard down when you two first met and you cried on her shoulder at the playground. Embarrassing then? Yes. Paid off now? Definitely.

She filled two glasses and before you took the first sip you asked, “Are these virgin?”

“Let’s just say I thought perhaps tonight would be a reason to pump and dump.”

You paused for a moment, then held your drink high and said, “To motherhood.”

“To motherhood,” she said, raising her glass.

“Whether you like it or not, you are now my new BFF.”

“I figured as much,” she laughed. “So, how’s tonight going?” she asked as she nodded towards the house.

“I honestly don’t know. It’s the 20-minute night, but when I walked out of the house, Paul hadn’t even started getting the kids ready for bed.”

“Yeah, well, I left Aaron in charge, too. I made the drinks and left before the table was even cleared.”

“One of those nights, huh?”

“One of those days, more like.”

“I hear ya,” you said, raising your glass in the air. “To motherhood.”

“To motherhood!” And then she began, “So this morning Luke found a Sharpie.”


“Oh, yes,” she said, pausing long enough to take a drink before continuing with her story. “And then he found Joel lying under his floor gym.”

“Oh, noo…”

“Oh, yes. I walked into the living room just in time to see him complete the second side of the mustache.”


“Yes. And then the cat walked by,” she paused for another drink. “Apparently Luke thought Figaro needed some polka dots.”

You couldn’t help but laugh.

Emily downed the rest of her drink and then continued. “Tonight at dinner we had peas. Luke had them twice. Once going down and once coming back up.”

“Is he…?”

“No. He’s not sick. He just doesn’t like peas. That’s when I left the table, mixed up the drinks and headed over here.” Emily grabbed the pitcher and refilled her glass. “Want some more?”

“Fill me up,” you said.

She filled your glasses to the brim once again.

“To motherhood!” you said together before taking another long, cold sip.

“You know, just the other day I got a call from the practice where I used to work.”

“What did you do?”

“I was a speech therapist.”

“I didn’t know that.”

“Yeah. I tried working some after Luke, but it just got to be too much. I miss it at times, but really hadn’t thought about going back to work for a while now. And then today happened.”

You raised your glass high. “To motherhood!”

“To motherhood!”

“You know, when Aaron and I talked about having kids, I never thought it would be like this. It’s just, it’s so….”


“Yes,” she said. “Why does no one tell you these things? Why does no one tell you that your son may use a Sharpie to decorate your baby and when he does, you will feel so much anger and disbelief and question your ability to parent?”

“Why does no one tell you how hard it will be to hear your baby cry?”

“Or that peas may come back out of their mouths. With full force. And with the rest of their dinner.”

“To motherhood!”

You both poured back your drinks and finished them in one chug. As Emily reached for the pitcher once again, the backdoor opened.

“Enjoying your drinks?” Paul asked as he stepped out onto the patio.

“We’re just toasting motherhood,” you said as a hiccup escaped.

“You know, all those surprising moments of motherhood,” Emily said. “Speaking of, you don’t know how to remove Sharpie ink from a cat, do you?”

“I’m sorry, I don’t,” Paul said, “But I thought you’d like to know that Lyla is asleep.”

“She is?”

“Yep. It only took her about five minutes. She didn’t even get fully worked up tonight. She started to fuss a little and then she got quiet. I gave her about ten minutes before I looked in. She’s passed out asleep.”

You didn’t know if it was the alcohol or exhaustion, but tears came to your eyes as you grabbed your glass and held it high.

“To motherhood!”

Dear Jo: A {fictional} Diary of a Modern Mom“Dear Jo: A Diary of a Modern Mom” is a serial fiction story written by Meagan Church. Stay tuned for the next diary entry of one mom’s attempt to chronicle what she has been told are the days she shouldn’t forget…spit-up, tantrums, milestones and all. Visit the Dear Jo page to catch up on the already-published entries. And, be sure to subscribe today, so you don’t miss a single installment:


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