Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Observations of a Parent

The many truths I've encountered since becoming a parent are staggering; truth really is stranger than fiction. Before parenthood I lived a blissful, ignorant existence when it came to these notions, but I know that I live a far richer life having learned what I have to date on the job. Some of what I have learned is universal to parents, others may be more exclusive to my home and family. The truths I'm about to uncover are unfiltered and raw. Read at your own risk.
First, from the moment I became a parent I had no idea how much I could love a tiny baby. That love is intense, proprietary, protective, and pure. At the same time, I had no earthly idea how exhausting and painful becoming a parent was and how those feelings, co-mixed with the unadulterated love for the baby, left me a rather emotional, soupy mess. And no matter how much you love the baby, your desire to sleep, uninterrupted for longer than twenty-two minutes, makes new parenting difficult. But eventually my baby slept and so did I.
Next, the amount of poop a baby can produce is bewildering! Diapers filled with waste that logically shouldn't be able to come from someone so small, leaking, nay, oozing out and ruining the fourth outfit of the day, the one your in-law sent and wanted you to pose the baby in for (insert event here - Christmas, birthday, 4th of July, etc.).  Along these lines, puke is the same in amount, intensity, and wowness factor. When a baby (or toddler or school-aged child) vomits, I start looking for the items you typically look for under couch cushions because surely that much upchuck has to contain those types of hidden treasures. And, for those of you looking for accuracy, the pukes usually come in the middle of the night, rousing you from a deep sleep and making you spring into action and leaving you like a deer in headlights momentarily because you don't know whether to change the sheets,  help the puking child, or run screaming from the house so you don't have to deal with the traumatic scene that you alone need to contend. Although I've had those fantasies of running away, arms flailing, and screaming incoherently, I've always stayed and managed. I'm lucky, my husband is home and extremely helpful.
Children notoriously create loud, involved and "standing up" games ONLY when there is a television program either mom or dad or both want to watch during their awake periods. My husband and I haven't been able to watch a NASCAR race, or any other show, since 2002. Once the show is over, the game they were dedicated to playing and "please don't make us stop" mysteriously looses all hold on the children and they immediately turn into sedate zombies. Nice.
Since becoming a parent I am the funniest human being to my children, and, at the same time, can hold the title for being "the meanest mommy in the world". Fortunately my children are still young enough that on the tails of the latter statement, my comic genius can shine through and I can still get those little rascals to laugh...uproariously! Sometimes I burst out an exclamation like, "Holy Guacamole!", to which my children laugh like fools because they've never heard such an outlandish expression (I feel they're too young to know their mother isn't completely unique). What my reward, in turn, is when my middle child busts out his own exclamations like, "Mommy, this dinner (it's breakfast time) is delicious petitious!". How can you argue with THAT?!
Last year my son had a play date with a young lady from his class. When guy friends came over the play centered around shooting, chasing, capturing, etc. After lunch the two children disappeared into the play room and began playing House (not the medical show, but the old-fashioned game of a family living in a home). As they were in second grade there was nothing untoward about the game, but it struck me how differently boys and girls play. Instead of being a Transformer or a character from Star Wars, my son was the "Daddy". And the best part? My son loved it!
Finally, adding a girl child into the household was a glorious thing. Her moods and quirks are deserving of an entire blog! But what strikes me the most in her first year has to do with laundry. When I used to do the laundry before I had my daughter, if the items came out of the dryer pink I knew I had messed up the load - I had washed something red that had discolored the underwear or socks or gi of my sons or husband. I was always mortified and disgusted with myself when this happened, and I hate to admit it happened several times over the years. But, once I had my daughter, it took months before I could pull a pink item out of the dryer and not wince thinking I had ruined yet another load! You see, nearly her entire wardrobe is pink! These items are pink ON PURPOSE, not because I mixed red and white in the washer again! It's a lovely daily reminder that we've been blessed with a little girl in our family.
Parenting has been the most richly rewarding, entertaining, hardest, and most frustrating job I've ever embarked. The hours suck, the pay is worse, and I've probably never looked worse due to lack of sleep, the baby weight I've got encircling my mid-section, and the shards of hair missing because I've pulled them out because of the stuff they do. But, my bonuses come in the form of "I love you"s, hugs, kisses, shared laughter, hand holding, snuggling, story time, and homemade cards and gifts for every holiday, Mother's Day, and any given day they feel crafty. I have a built-in helper(s) for making cookies, cakes, and eggs. I have the privilege of sharing movies, experiences, music, and books with my children for the very first time and seeing it through their eyes. I have the blessings to see these wonderful children grow up with the man who created them with me. I am lucky to see these truths, know them, and experience them first hand. I am a parent.


  1. You are more beautiful now than the day I met you.

  2. Oh Chief, dontcha' know? I (italicized, bold, underlined) am the MEANEST mom in the WHOLE. WIDE. WORLD?!?!? :)

    Beautifully done! I too am lucky to have the "Rebekah load". Amongst all the jeans, graphic tees and dark sweatshirts, it is nice to have a load that represents femininity.

    Whoever said that "If having a teenager doesn't put you on your knees in prayer, nothing will", wasn't kidding. It makes me miss those "blow out" diapers, days he thought I was the funniest thing alive, and enjoyed helping clean up his room.

    I used to call compliments about my children "paychecks." Since mommies do not get a monetary paycheck each week to show us how we are doing our job, I often took compliments as "payment" for how I was doing. I've gotten older and wiser now... I don't need paychecks from others. But I look closely to any paychecks from my children. Having just one of my kids respond to "Love you, have a good day!" on some mornings as they run out the door to catch the school bus is a paycheck with bonus! Double bonus if I get some sort of grunt from the teenager acknowledging that something was said to him. lol!

    As much as I dislike the word journey (as it is too often used), parenting certainly is that!

  3. I remember those days. The biggest reward comes later when they make you a grammy. Grammies get to hold the baby then give it back. No sleep deprivation. Love it. Then you get to play with them and go places as they get older. The sense of humor that kids have under ten is awesome. It's great being the funniest comedian ever.

  4. Parenting sounds like sooo much fun :-)

  5. I remember my granddaughter was in a recital and a little nervous. She was searching the crowd for a familiar face. We made eye contact and a BIG smile came to her face when she saw me.... AAAHHHH those are the things I will never forget.