A few weeks ago, an old friend sent me a text asking if motherhood was living up to my expectations. I had to think a bit before answering. As I wasn't sure if it would actually happen, I never really had an opportunity to build any expectations. I figured that it was supposed to be hard. Everyone says it's very hard. As much as it would piss me off when Myrtle would complain about motherhood, I did appreciate that she was painting a realistic picture of what it could be like. At times it even feels that infertile mothers aren't supposed to complain about parenting. After all, we paid a lot of money to go though many painful procedures just for the privilege. Yet, I can honestly say, that so far, it hasn't been as hard as I thought it would be. I won't go as far as to say that it is easy; but manageable. I'm very fortunate to have a very healthy and rather good baby and I get a lot of help and support from my husband. Least, I create the impression that our life is all sea shells and balloons; here is a list of my worst mom moments.
The Puke Shower
I watched in horror as my friend Jill, the first in our circle to procreate, once caught baby sick in her hand. "Oh, we don't care anymore." her husband explained. "We don't even bother with burp clothes." Although I didn't wanted to have children at that time; I vowed that if I did I would always keep a cloth handy. Enter reality, getting puked on is part of parenting. I became apathetic. It's why I change into my 'mom uniform' of yoga pants and a long sleeve grey Gap shirt as soon as I get home. Yet there was something about the last puke of the day that would break me; and a few times brought me to tears. Looking back, I don't think it was as much about the puke as it was about the fact that it was getting close to Kate's bedtime and I was waiting for Husband to come home from his hockey game, so he could put her to bed and I could start preparing the crap food that would become our dinner. You know, because his life doesn't seem to have changed on the surface and he didn't have to spend all day along with a crying baby. Yeah, that probably was an influencing factor, but it still sucks to get drenched in puked. Recently, I left the house to go to the gym and I grabbed my favourite hoodie sweatshirt. As I was walking into the gym, I noticed a large stain of puke down the front. I kept in on and continued walking. It represented my 'Mom Badge of Honour'.
I think I'm finally past the shedding phase, but it would make me so mad when she was seeming trying to pull out whatever I had left. I've discovered first hand just how strong and tight her grip is, and I've contemplated bringing back the Sinade O'Connor from the 90s look. Equally as annoying, but not as painful: when she pulls my glasses of my face.
In the first few weeks of her life, Kate seemed to have a sixth sense of when I was about to eat, and would wake up at that time. I think it's how I was able to lose weight so quickly in the immediate postpartum period. Once we had established a routine napping schedule, she figured she could have more fun at night by waiting until I've finally climbed into bed after a long day, and then erupting into a piercing cry. I would rather be woken up in the middle of the night. At least then I've had some sleep. This just felt like I was being teased.
Cat vs Baby
I wasn't sure how Tyler would take to Kate, but my intuition felt that he wouldn't be aggressive towards her. As I sometimes catch him sleeping outside her door, I wonder if he even feels a bit protective. Now that she's becoming more curious about him, I'm starting to feel more protective over him. I fear that she'll grab his big fluffy tail in the same way she grabs my hair. I also feel a bit of kitty mom guilt when I have to get up during the night to tend to her. If it's not hard enough to get out bed when you have a warm kitty snuggling beside you, but I feel badly that Tyler is losing out on his mummy time.
The Purple Nurple
While I lucked out with a late teether; there were a few occasions when she would squeeze her tight little fist over the other nipple while feeding. It was enough to want to pack it all in and declare that breastfeeding is over.
The Car Seat Strap
After pinning down my wiggle worm and attempting to strap her in, I'll discover that the strap has become twisted. If you have a Britax car set, I'm sure you know exactly what I am talking about, although maybe other brands have this same problem. I'm not sure how it gets twisted, as it seems impossible to untwist it by folding the strap and moving the fastener over it. I am pretty sure it is because of this car seat that Kate will be correcting her teacher when she learns her ABCs in pre-school, "No. My mommy says it's fucking-A."
Diaper Wrestling Match
I would rather deal with a massive blow-out from a two month old with every diaper change, then wrestle down my nine month old just to change a wet nappy.
Humpty Dumpty Had a Great Fall...
As she started to roll over, Husband and I cautioned each other that we would have to be very mindful about leaving her unattended, even for a second, on the bed or changing table. However, we also acknowledged that it would eventually happen. Sure enough, the fall occurred on my watch. I placed her on my bed so I could get a photo of a possible outfit to share with our photographer. I turned my back just to set the phone down, as I soon as I turned around, she was right at the end of the bed. I rushed over as fast as I could, but I didn't make it in time. She took a tumble of approximately three feet from our bed, and fortunately landed on her shoulder. A kiss and a cuddle latter, she was fine, but I can't stop replaying the image of her going off the side of the bed.
Day Care Over Time
When it's my turn to pick Kate up from Day Care; she's always the last baby to leave.
One Year Announcements
I have yet to send out my birth announcements. It was originally as goal to complete this task before the end of my maternity leave. I was going to use a very sweet photo that Husband snapped with his iphone, but as we were scheduling her professional photos, I learned that these images could be used with Tiny Prints. This would also help justify the high price we were paying for the professional photo sessions. We finally settled on our prints around Thanksgiving and I placed the order with Tiny Prints just after Christmas. The first chore was to go through and update our address book. Seven people moved, one died, lots of infertility blogger friends to add. Husband suggested doing about 10 per night, and I quickly banged out the ones intended for friends in England and sent them off to my in-laws to post. Then I seemingly lost motivation. The box of announcements just sat in my bedroom. I may even have thrown some clothes on top of it.
As she hit her nine month birthday, I began to wonder if there was any point to sending out announcements, I mean I think everyone knows we had a baby about now. Yet, I felt reminded that she's my one and only baby and I still needed to engage in this parenting ritual. Plus, it would just be a waste of money if I threw them away, so it made sense to spend more money so that the recipients could throw them away. Finally decided to get my act together. Discover we don't have enough 2 x 4 inch labels. I could have sworn I had an unopened package. Target doesn't carry the labels; make a special trip to Staples. Find that my original package of labels fell behind the printer. I have enough labels to get through the next three holiday seasons. Print out a few pages of return address labels and shut down my laptop. Discover that the pages fed incorrectly and the printing didn't align properly on the labels. F-u-u-u-c-k. Can't be bothered to fire up the Mac again. Alas the announcements have sat in their box for another two weeks... Meanwhile, I did buy some stamps...
As Kate seemed to enjoy them, I was curious to know how the kale and green apple teething waffers tasted. After sampling a small bite, I decided that they were rather good and I ate an entire packet.
Me and My Shadow
Husband was recently asked to umpire a hockey match on a Sunday. The coach was in a bind as a previously committed umpire had to cancel. I reminded him that is also umpiring all day on Saturday. I also added that I was hoping to get my hair cut on Sunday. Yet, it was an opportunity for Husband to help a friend in need and get paid $125 for one game (since it was last minute, the coach bumped up the payment). My split ends would have to wait. I have to be the default parent, it's just seems to be presumed that I'll always be available to take care of Kate. I'm still jealous of his freedom. He has an outlet; something that can give him a reprieve from parenting for an extended period of time. All I wanted was an hour to myself to get my hair cut. I know that being a parent means your needs are moved to the bottom of the list at times, and I feel that I'm making too big a deal out of this, but it shouldn't be a big deal. I hadn't had a hair cut in over six months, it required that my husband watch our baby for an hour. I didn't realise that I would be harder to schedule with him that I would be to book with my stylist.
As I was still stewing over this issue hours later, I realised that I was longing for something more than the feeling of running my fingers through clean hair. It was time to acknowledge that I feel like I'm losing a bit of my identity. Excluding work related meetings and lectures, I've only been able to pursue my own activity twice, as I've logged two solo 10 Ks. Yes, I love bringing her to the gym and love receiving the adulation from some of the elite athletes who are impressed that I can do over head squats (with PVC pipe) with Kate strapped in the Baby Bj.orn. Yet at the gym, or while on a run, I have to be a mother first. It's not quite the same. My present life represents everything I wanted so desperately for the past four years, maybe even longer. It has exceeded my expectations and yet I still miss aspects of my past life. I missed our recent swim meet. Although my coach asked me to swim on a relay team in her usual weekend before the championship desperation state, but I couldn't. I haven't been in a pool in over six months. The last time I swam was in the Autumn Short Course Meters event, where I stunned myself by pulling out a personal best in the 50 Free while my baby watched while being held by my coach. My plan was to return to swimming in the morning after I finished breastfeeding and would have more time to get myself ready for work, but I don't think I can wait. I resisted swimming at noon on my day off (presuming I could coordinate her nap during that time) as I knew that swimming just once a week wouldn't be enough to get back into competitive shape, but once a week will have to do. I'm going to try to attend the 7 AM class on Tuesdays. For all the weekends that husband gets reprieve from parenting on a hockey field, he can watch her for an hour in the morning for me. It's not ideal, but it's a start.