Before…and After

I’m in the process of paying at my local toy store and the clerk, who is very pregnant and moving slowly, looks at me apologetically:

“I can’t wait; everything will just be so much easier when the baby is out,” she groaned.

“Are you kidding? Enjoy this part; it is definitely NOT easier once the baby comes out!” I curtly replied while looking down at shrieking Lady, who had taken a toy baby off the shelf and was frantically trying to rip the bottle out of the package and feed it.

Even as the words were being vomited out of my mouth, I began to regret them.  This is what the mommy who has spent too many weeks at home with two toddlers and no camp or classes would say.  On any other occasion I would have said something to the effect of, “Oh of course it will, having a baby is so wonderful; really, a blessing.”   In other words, I would have lied.  I was 9-months-pregnant with my first kid once too—I remember being anxious to just get him out and get the show on the road, and I definitely would have resented it had someone burst my ignorant “baby bubble.”  But that was before, while he was still inside of me.

 

Before I had kids I assumed that one day, when they finally started sleeping through the night, I would eventually return to my original state of restfulness and energy.  (P.S. I also thought kids started sleeping through the night by three months.)

After having kids, I realize that it’s more like adjusting to functioning at this new level of energy, or lack thereof.

 

Before I had kids, I promised myself that I would not allow too much, if any, television.

Now, it’s like: we can go to the farm or the play ground and I can run around like a chicken with my head cut off while my two toddlers run in opposite directions for the next few hours… Ooooor, I can sit here as you go into your third hour of Max & Ruby.  Every once in a while, for my own physical and mental wellbeing, I need to choose the latter.

 

Before I had kids, I assumed that as long as I exposed them to all sorts of foods and flavors, they would eat pretty much anything.

Now I know that they can find even the blandest of pastas with butter offensive!

 

I used to think that I understood what love was; I had experienced both familial and romantic love, right?

Wrong, there is no love like the love for your children.

 

Once I had my first kid, I assumed that what worked for one would work for the next.

It took me about 30 seconds after Lady was born to realize we were dealing with a whole different breed of baby.

 

I used to see people doing these outrageously selfless things for their kids, like taking them to the park at 6AM just because they were awake (back when I was up because I was coming home from my night out) or using their own clothes/body as a human tissue.  I would think to myself, I don’t think I could be a parent; I’m just too selfish to do those kinds of things.

Now, I do them without even thinking.

 

It was going to be “my way or the highway.”

I’m not sure what way it is, but it is decidedly not my way.

 

I can recall being at brunch one day in a nice restaurant and seeing kids playing hand-held video games and using iPads.  My husband and I looked at each other and actually spoke the words, “Our kids will never do that.”

Ha!

 

I assumed breast feeding would come naturally because I am female and I have breasts.

Now I know; you can try your hardest, see all of the specialists, cry your eyes out and then keep trying, and it still might not happen for you.

 

I used to think that little boys were automatically grosser than little girls.

This is simply not true; Lady is the grossest toddler ever.  Seriously, she’s disgusting.

 

It doesn’t matter what books you read or how prepared you might think you are, nothing can prepare you for how completely children change your lives.

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