10 Aspects of Mama-hood I Never Imagined I Would Be OK With

Life Lessons from a One-Year-Old, Motherhood

Becoming a mother rocks your world. It rocked mine so fiercely that I hardly remember what life was like before I had a baby. EVERYTHING changes when you have a baby, but the best part is that most of those changes are good ones! With me, for instance, things that would have totally grossed me out or driven me crazy are now just details in my day-to-day adventures in motherhood. Here are 10 things I never imagined I would be OK with once I became a mother:

  1. Sharing food. Today for lunch I pulled a day-old half of a Jimmy John’s Club Lulu out of the fridge, and tried to eat it with a crabby teething baby on my lap. Well, he wanted that sandwich more than I did, so we took turns eating bites off the same end. You couldn’t have paid me a million dollars to share a gooey, slobbered-on turkey sandwich with ANYONE before that baby came along, but these days I’m just happy to be eating something.
  2. Sharing a cup with a back-washing monster. The allure of a tall glass of freshly poured, cold water from the fridge door is hypnotizing to a one-year-old, it seems, especially when he knows it’s “mama’s water.” I cannot bear to not give him a sip of it, even though it will most likely have Jimmy John’s bread crumbs floating in it when I get it back. No big deal.
  3. Diapers. Change a diaper on the seat of my Tahoe? Sure! Change a diaper on my couch? Certainly! Change a diaper on my bedspread? Why not? Change a diaper on my knees at a basketball game or in an airplane? Yep; check, and check.
  4. Yoga pants as clothes. Enough said.
  5. Friday nights in. Bars? Dancing? Movies in a theater, even? People actually have the energy to DO those things? An exciting night for my husband and me now means watching a recorded episode of Deadliest Catch in a blanket on the couch-maybe even with microwave popcorn-before crashing at 10.
  6. Driving a mommy bus. I adored my sporty little Volkswagen back in the days of just me and my dog. Now that I haul up to six people around at any one time, I cruise my mommy bus around proudly. What’s not to love about seven seat-belts, eight cup-holders, and a DVD player with headphones?
  7. Germs. I loaded up on hand sanitizer, anti-bacterial wipes, and pacifier wipes before the baby came. These days? A quick mama-suck after a paci has fallen on some random germ-infested floor, and it gets popped right back in his mouth. I am building that boy some serious immunity. (At least that’s what I tell myself as I pop it back in his cute little mouth.)
  8. Having a Buddha belly. No, we are not growing baby #2 in there, but it definitely appears that we are! Gone is my flat pre-baby stomach, and in its place is a lovely little baby gut. Sucking it in? Nah. I grew almost nine pounds of baby in there so it’s bound to show a little, and I’m good with it.
  9. (Super) Early mornings. I used to think 9 a.m. was sleeping in. Now I know that 6:30 a.m. is actually sleeping in.
  10. Spending all of my money on the baby, instead of on myself. My current wardrobe consists of maternity shirts, my stretchiest pre-baby jeans, and my oh-so-stylish (but comfy!) slip-on Sketchers I bought when my feet grew a size while pregnant. My baby outgrows his entire wardrobe every two months, so that is where the money goes. And I don’t mind one bit! It’s WAY more fun to see those tiny little new clothes on him anyways, and I have finally realized that my husband is no more enamored with me if my clothes are “in style.” (In fact, I am pretty certain he can’t tell if they are anyways.)

Motherhood has taught me that pretty much everything I used to worry about is insignificant in the grand scheme. All that really matters is that tiny little heartbeat I helped create, and all the rest is just details. I am certain that someday I will get into some new clothes or back to a bar to go dancing, but right now my crazy mama life is pretty wonderful. I wouldn’t trade it for all the sleep in the world!

Yes that’s a maternity shirt. No, I’m not 4 months prego, it just looks like it.

Christmas in June

Life Lessons from a One-Year-Old

After I got baby all tucked into bed, I walked out to the kitchen.

Why does it smell like Christmas in here? I haven’t baked anything in a long time – 

Oh boy. I know why. Those darn CLOVES! The cute little red jar of cloves that Hank was rolling all around the kitchen earlier, while I did the dinner dishes? Yep. Well, apparently he mastered the skill of biting the top open with his teeth tonight, and I didn’t notice, because it was now sprinkled across my kitchen floor. Of course, he couldn’t have chosen the whole cloves (you know the nice big ones you stick in oranges?) That would have been so easy to clean up! But oh no, not Hank! He picked the GROUND cloves to dust the entire kitchen with.

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What are we baking today, mama?

But clove dusting aside, it was a big day for Hank! And mopping up those cloves gave me some nice quiet time to ponder on my two big Hank ‘Firsts‘ from the day! One was really great; the other, well – not so great.

The great First:

After almost 13 months of trying to get my son to love books, and failing miserably, I finally had a successful story-time!

Well, let me back up and clarify that first statement a little bit. Hank has always loved books. He loves slobbering on them, chewing on them, biting holes out of the covers, tearing off the ‘flaps’ that hide the cute little surprises, and most of all he loves chucking them across the room as hard as he can, with a big “hiyaaaah!”

But tonight, he gave the frustrated teacher-mom in me some much-needed hope. Hank walked over to his book crate library, picked out Where’s Spot?, crawled into my lap, and let me read him the whole thing. And he thought that was so great, he had me read it a second time! And he laughed his adorable bald head off every time I opened one of those darn little flaps, and we saw that Spot wasn’t under it! I almost couldn’t believe that he didn’t try even once, to sneak his little ninja hands on a flap and give it a tug.

Thank God, maybe there is hope after all!

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My little future reader (hopefully!)

The not-so-great First:

Our other surprise tonight, was not quite as much fun as story-time was. Hank got his very first goose egg! Remember when I said how I needed to get my running shoes ready, so I could keep up with him? Well, I didn’t realize I needed to get them this WEEK, but it looks like I better get some rounded up!

So, Hank decided he wants to disprove the saying that you have to learn to walk before you can run. Tonight was a failed attempt, sadly, and I certainly didn’t earn my Mom-of-the-Year badge tonight, either. Like every bath night, I had a good laugh while he frolicked around his room in his post-bath, diaper-only freedom. BUT – I was so entertained watching his new little skip-hop-step attempt at running, that I didn’t anticipate the header into the side of the crib that followed! Or the goose egg that popped up shortly thereafter. Once Dr. Daddy had inspected his little melon and told me it was nothing to worry about, I felt much better, but I was already starting to pull up a google search about head bumps and babies on my phone.

I was hoping to not have a repeat of a night earlier this week, when I remembered an article on Facebook that struck a chord with me (about some child who died from secondary drowning.) Suddenly, mid-bath, I panicked. I was sure that Hank had just swallowed a dangerous amount of water while splashing like a maniac in his 2 to 4 inches of 97-degree bath water. I mean, he kept burping! After splashing in the tub! So that means he must be trying to cough up water, right? His eyes even started to water!

I can’t tell you how many times I checked on him that night, clicking the monitor on and off, making sure he was moving and breathing normally. That was exhausting. And while my day brain told me that he only drank a tiny bit of water, and he isn’t in the 1% of kids who actually have this happen, my night brain was still a nervous wreck about it. Because it was nighttime, daddy was on the road for work, and our precious little life was depending on me and me alone, to not let him die of secondary drowning from splashing too much in the tub!

Whew. Even just typing that out was exhausting.

So, here is my rambunctious 1-year-old, teaching me another life lesson. I am going to take the story-time success, the fact that my kitchen now smells lovely, and the positive report on the not-too-serious goose egg as my “Christmas in June” presents from Hank. And I will be giving myself another, equally fabulous present – a vow to myself as a mother in The Age of Social Media. I vow to myself, that I will no longer read all the articles on Facebook warning me about every possible injury/disaster/illness my child might encounter and the 57 million ways to prevent them. 

I have common sense, right?

I know that somehow, my parents raised me and my brother, in the good old 80’s, without reading any articles warning them about secondary drowning. And they taught us to water-ski at age 4. In a lake. I am sure I swallowed some serious water that summer. But I survived!

I grabbed my phone, and clicked close on the tab of my “head bumps and babies” search window. And with that, came peace of mind. And with peace of mind, can come sleep. So I better get some, because who knows what exciting adventures will be waiting for me tomorrow with my (almost) RUNNING baby!

 

 

There’s nothing more uplifting than a balloon

Life Lessons from a One-Year-Old

Hank “the Tank” was about to turn one year old, so what more perfect theme could there be than a camouflage army party?  I couldn’t think of anything more fitting, so I found some pin-spiration online and set out for the party store.  My stars must have lined up perfectly that day, because I found a pile of camo-print party decorations-covered with big red tanks even-stashed on the back clearance wall!  Jackpot! I giddily bought up everything they had, and while checking out with my bounty I happened to glance over to the wall of big fabulous mylar balloons.

There it was. . .a huge camo TANK!  It was the perfect finishing touch to my decorations, so I bought it and a matching camo balloon bouquet to go with it.  All I could think about was how cute it was going to look floating above my perfectly camo table-clothed dining room table.  I was making this (almost) pinterest-worthy party happen!  On very little sleep!  AND for half price!  Yay me!

I had absolutely no idea the true impact these six balloons would have on my son’s life.  Or my own.

Party day arrived, and thanks to my cake-baking partner/sis-in-law, I had the three layer tank cake finished-complete with a spark throwing chocolate wafer “cannon” and a plastic army man popping out of the top!  I was certain that adorable cake and the cupcakes topped with plastic army men would be the delight of Hank the Tank. Boy, was I ever wrong.

Daddy had volunteered to go pick up the balloons since I was decorating while the birthday boy napped, so they were already floating majestically over the table when I carried him out after he woke up.

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The incredible floating tank

When that little boy saw those big shiny balloons, it was absolutely electric.  Hank lit up like a little blonde lightbulb!  I set him down and he crawled frantically over to the table and pulled himself up on the table leg, squealing what would come to be dubbed “the balloon squeal” and pointing up at them as hard as he could.  I got tears in my eyes as I watched him be more excited about these six balloons than I had ever seen him be about anything else.

All day long, Hank would point emphatically at his balloons and let out the balloon squeal. Feeding him lunch in his high chair was a riot, as he would take a bite, then point and squeal at the balloons.  Another bite, then another point and squeal.  The. Entire. Meal.  Later that afternoon when guests starting walking in for his party, they were greeted not with a wave like usual, but with a crazed point at the balloons and the balloon squeal!  Hank was more concerned with his party guests seeing his balloons, than he was about anything else, the entire evening.  Cake?  What cake?  Presents?  Sure, but did you see my balloons?  Hey you guys, check out my balloons!

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No time for pictures mama, we are looking at the balloons

Anyone who helped him practice walking or carried him around or helped him ride his new four-wheeler around the kitchen got forcefully redirected over to the table where the balloons were.  [Pointing]  Did you see my balloons?  [Balloon Squeal]

Post-party, those camo balloons took on an even more important role in Hank’s life the week of his birthday.  They actually became his comforter in a way that I thought only a mommy could be.  To our rough-and-tumble Hank the Tank, the boy who loves no lovey, and drags no security blanket-a big tank balloon and five plain green ones had suddenly become his coping mechanism for everything.

When Hank did an impressive face-plant crawling at mach one across the kitchen, the tears started pouring.  As I scooped him up and tried to calm him with mama kisses like usual though, he turned his face, stuck his pointer finger out in the air toward those darn balloons and sucked in his quivering lip.  Those crocodile tears dried up like magic!

When Hank got a stern “No-no!” from mama after chucking his pasta down on the floor instead of into his mouth at lunchtime, again the lip started to quiver.  Rather than start to cry though, like usual, he suddenly flashed me his brilliant 8-tooth smile and pointed as hard as he could at those balloons.  [BALLOON SQUEAL]  I know I just threw my lunch on the floor, but mama, look at my balloons!  

Sigh.  As much as I loved that those balloons delighted him, and had even given him some new-found resilience; I didn’t so much love how he thought they were also spectacular enough to distract his mama from dealing with his naughtiness.  As much as I hated to admit it, that adorable little not-yet one-year-old had outsmarted me.  The overflowing love he had for his balloons was so endearing that I let the food-throwing go.  Just for for this one special week, I told myself.

Helium runs out, eventually, right?

Amidst all the learning-to-walk crash crying spared by the balloons, and even the (kind-of funny) naughtiness cover-ups; what my sweet Hankers and his beloved balloon bouquet taught me was simple yet powerful.  In this often difficult life, if we can just focus on what we really love when times get tough, everything will be ok.  So far, I’d say it’s working for him!