Monday, November 24, 2008

The World's Longest Thoughts on Parenting with absolutely no pictures whatsoever

Internet, I ain't going to lie. It's been a hard month. A hard two months. A hard year, in many ways.

For the first 2+ years of our marriage, K. and I just... coasted. Snuggled up, watched Scrubs, and mostly reveled in being with each other after our long-distance courtship.

There is less time for everything these days, including snuggling. We definitely need to get better about scheduling date time that's not just the couch-flop after Annaliese goes to bed.

And yadda yadda yadda, of course it's worth it. Baby years are hard for a reason (be exceedingly kind to all people you know with young children). But they do end, so we've stopped counting the bad nights, thank God for the good ones, power through the temper tantrums that accompany diaper changes, and revel in the snaggled-toothed smile and daily accomplishments of our very bright and charming daughter.

But becoming a parent, as brief a time as I've been one, has so far changed the way I feel about many, many things (from childbirth to Baby Einstein), including-- adoption and those who opt not to have children.

I didn't really get either before.

On adoption-- 

I used to think that there was something special about having a biological extension of your lineage, etc.

Well, it's kind of fun when K. sys that Annaliese has the shape of my eyes, etc., but in general? She is not at all related to me.

By which I mean that I often get the feeling that I am less a "parent" and more of the assigned caretaker for this little sprout of a person, who dropped from the sky with her own soul, mind, heart, etc.. And that her personality and such has nothing essential from either me or K. and instead, she is herself, and would be if she happened to land in a different family. So it makes perfect sense now to adopt, because either way, you're just signing up to be a soul's caretaker during their incubation phase, and if you adopt, you get to skip the peeing eight-hundred-times a-night, morning sickness, and the never-ending FUN of labor.

Secondly, on choosing childlessness:

I kind of feel like people without children should never, ever, ever complain about ANYTHING, especially not sleeping well. (But that's just silly pettiness, I know.)

More seriously: having a child is a really big commitment, and like everything in life, it costs. Money. Time, time, and more time. And for the first time in many people's lives: putting someone else's needs ahead of your own. Over and over and over again; in fact, a hundred times a day. 

K. and I came down with the stomach flu at the same time last Thursday. We literally could not stand up. And yet, the baby had to be fed. And changed. And rocked to sleep. Rinse and repeat. That's a dramatic example; how about this morning, when Annaliese pooped before I'd finished my nausea-quenching cup of morning tea, like she does almost every morning? 

My point is that I didn't used to understand people who didn't want to have children, and now I do. Because it's ok to like your life so much that you don't want to give it up for anyone. It's understandable to know yourself so well that you can say, I'd rather be a loving aunt/godmother/whathaveyou than have my own children. I get it.

(This is turning into a really long post.)

And here's something else I'd like to say: 

I always wanted kids. Now I have one and one on the way. I love my daughter INSANELY. I'm literally always happy to see her smiling face, even at five o'clock in the morning. And I'm sure I'll fall in love with our next child too. 

All that being said, I think babies kind of suck. (For the first six months, they're both incredibly demanding and incredibly boring: a deadly combination.) I'm really not looking forward to having another newborn, because I sure didn't enjoy it much this last time and now it'll be even harder.

That's the God's Honest Truth. I don't want to go through labor again, I don't enjoy seeing the clock at every hour of the night, and breastfeeding's a whole lot more fun when you're not spending LITERALLY six hours a day doing it. If I could hand my babies to someone for the first six months, someone who I could trust as much as I trust myself, then I really probably would.

But sometimes life just sucks, ya know? And so I hope we can remember to count our blessings (healthy child, we chanted during Annaliese's infancy. healthy, healthy, HEALTHY child.) and trust that the hard times will gradually phase out (and then in, and then out, and then in again) and then someday there will be a glorious day when K and I turn to each other and say, they're not babies anymore. They can wipe their own butts, put themselves to bed, and guide spoons and even FORKS to their mouths on their own. 

And then we will high-five each other, ship the bebe children off to loving grandparents, and go do Very Adult Things in our little cabin in the woods (by which I mean drink more than one glass of wine and stay up after nine.)

And THEN

we will drive home too fast because we missed them so. (Sort of.)

Can't you see it?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think you are jaded by having this terribly high maitenance baby the first time around!! You're going to get a 'normal' baby this time, and you will have it SO much easier :) (Because I said so)

Anonymous said...

Really enjoy reading your blog and your honest and "real" approach to life including this post! I think too many women (and society seems to perpetuate this) put a face on for the world and even themselves that parenting is all rainbows and sunshine. Its really a disservice to womankind. Like anything in life, parenting too is yin and yang - wish more women could be honest about that.

Anonymous said...

Love, Love, Love this post. I've always loved how REAL you are. I'm praying for the next little one-- Mom says it is easier the second time around. She had Ann and me closer together than you'll have these two. I think you are incredibly COOL, btw. NEVER underestimates your COOLNESS. Babies are tough. Life is tough. And you have a great sense of humor about it all. Zany. That's my new word for you. Happy Thanksgiving. Stinks

Sarah-Katherine said...

Thinking about you guys... Great post, and I can't wait (as always) to read more

Sarah L said...

I completely missed your post a month ago about baby 2... OH MY GOSH! I can't believe it. I still haven't even met baby#1! I hope you're doing well, my friend. Love reading the blog, as always. Fun to see your thoughts :)