Monday, August 23, 2010

I'll never...

Before you become a parent, or an adult for that matter, there is a laundry list of things that you swear you will never, ever do. This list of things is blown out of the water bit by bit, like a slow, painful game of Battleship.

"I will never go out in my sweats with no makeup on." - This was one of the first ones to go. My neighbors probably wouldn't even recognize me with makeup on.

"I will never act like my parents." - Don't even try this one. Parent or not, you will turn into your parents in some form at some point in your life. Being a parent just accelerates the process.

"I will never be one of those parents that..." - You have no idea what you will and won't do as a parent until you are a parent. This excludes the obvious stuff that no parent should do. This is more for things like, "I will never use the TV as a babysitter" or "I will never let my kids eat refined sugar." Kudos to those parents who outline their parenting approach and stick to their guns, but most of parenting is improvising and thinking on your feet. Sometimes, you really need a shower and The Disney Channel is the only babysitter around.

"I will never drive a minivan." - Yeah. I tried really hard to avoid this one, but I have three children in car seats and that doesn't fit in anything smaller than a minivan. I bought the coolest, least minivan-ish minivan on the market, but it is still a minivan.

You get where I am going with this little list. When you plan on becoming a parent, or just plan on growing up, also plan on throwing out your list of "I'll nevers."

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Definition: the ability to understand a toddler who is barely speaking.

Each toddler speaks his or her own language and you, as their mother, can understand a good chunk of their mumblings.

While a bystander might hear "Dasa um nok," you hear "Pardon me mother, but I would like some more milk when you can spare a moment to refill my bottle. Thank you so much. You are very kind and beautiful." Okay, that's probably not the correct translation. It's probably something like "You -- mom-person! Get me more milk NOW!!!!"

See? I am a mom-terpreter!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The voice of uncertainty

The moment the test confirms a pregnancy, we dive into waters of uncertainty. Am I ready? What if I have a miscarriage? Do we need a bigger house? When do I start saving for college? Crap, I had a glass of wine last night - did I just give my baby brain damage? You get the drift.

I hate to break it to you, but this probably won't stop for a long time, if ever. The concerns just change over time.

Wow, Laura, aren't you just a little ray of sunshine.

Well, hold on. It isn't all doom and gloom. In my opinion, these worries just confirm how much you care and that you want to do the right things. I have found that the little voice who churns out lists of my insecurities has quieted over time. It hasn't gone away and sometimes it manages to find a loud speaker, but by and large it has become a dull buzzing in the back of my mind. I usually can't hear it over the sound of my boys laughing as they play.

I have found a pretty good antidote for my little loud speaker that you can try. When it gets bad, I ask one of my kids for a hug and a kiss. I know they will reach an age where I get an eye roll and a groan to my request, but, for now, they are little and eager to please. I get my hug and my kiss and I realize that I must be doing something right.

If you are pregnant and these concerns well up, give your tummy a little poke. Chances are, your little one will poke right back, which is the prenatal equilalent of a hug and a kiss and just as powerful.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Queen to chamber maid: the difference between being pregnant and being Mama

When my husband and I got married, we were the first in both of our families to do so. Being the first family wedding in a long time, everyone was very excited. Their excitment for the wedding was nothing compared to the insanity that ensued when we announced, not all that long after the wedding, that we were expecting our first baby. The first grandchild, the first nephew/niece, the first grand nephew/niece, and on and on.

I was immediately exalted to a place of worship. Everyone cared about how I was feeling. Every doctor's appointment was crucial. Every new sign of the life within was fascinating. Every task and chore was too much for my delicate state.

Then came the baby.

There is a scene in Lady and the Tramp where Jock and Trusty tell Lady what happens to the family dog when a baby comes along. It is kind of like that - without being forced to eat the leftover baby food.

I jest. My family far from ignores me by any means. While the kids are the main attraction, they still take interest in Mama.

Plus, I'll let you in on a little secret. Unleash the kids on the grandparents, aunts, uncles and you can bow out for a bit. I'm not talking about doing a runner to Vegas, but a nap upstairs may go unnoticed. Just think of it - a nap!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Old Me?! When did I become New Me?!

Before you have kids, you swear that you won't let becoming a parent change you. Hip and cool will be the words that everyone uses to describe you. You'll lose all your pregnancy weight right away and no one will even be able to tell that you have a kid. Late nights won't leave you tired. A shower will be had, hair and makeup done everyday - you'll still be smokin'.

Don't worry, I'm not going to tell you that you are condemned to a lifetime of frumpiness. Hot moms exist and you can be one, just not all of the time.

My kids have changed my life in every way possible, but it took me quite some time to see how much. When you lose (or gain) a lot of weight, you don't really see how drastic the change is until someone you haven't seen in a long time reacts to your new look. Stay with me, I'm almost to my point.

I was on the phone with one of my close, non-parent friends. She lives far away and we don't get to talk very often. We were talking about the possibility of taking a trip together with a few of our other girlfriends and she said, "You won't have the kids, so you can be like the Old Laura for a few days."

Have I changed that much? Does she think I am lame and boring now that I am a mom? Other similare questions along that line swam into my head and stayed there for days.

It helps to know that I was in full hormone overdrive when she said this, but the sentiment still stings a bit. I even went so far as to ask my dad if he thought I had changed and he told me that he thought I was a completely different person. This did not help to calm my fears that I had become some kind of Loser Mommy Pod Person.

Time, as usual, brings perspective. Of course becoming a mother would change me and it isn't a bad thing. Do my friends see me differently now? Yes. Does that suck? Well, sometimes it does. I have a lot of non-parent friends and being a mother makes you "older" than everyone else. You are automatically passed by for party invites because it is assumed that you can't get a babysitter. Late nights wouldn't be an option because of those early mornings anyway. On the other hand, the perks are way better. I get baby kisses, tickly giggles and smiles that could light the world. I am the infallible, unstoppable Mommy.

Old Laura isn't entirely gone. There are pictures of her around the house. I have some great memories of her. If I tried to conjure her for a night or two while I am away from the kids, she might make a cameo, but it would be a mere shadow of her. New Laura is here to stay. While not all of my friends will have kids down the road, they will all have an Old Me someday. I think parents just get them sooner.

Help from a brother

In preparation for pre-school, we are potty training C. This has been a very, very long process that started last year. Upon meeting his first potty chair, he stuffed it with bananas (like you do) and laughed at us.

Anyway, we have finally made some headway with potty training and M has decided to do his part.

Now that he is talking, M follows C around repeating the following statement:

Do you have to go pee-pee?!