I apologize for the long silence; we're on vacation, and we realized that this is the first time in our entire marriage that we've taken a full week for a vacation, so we've been living it up. And by "living it up" I mostly mean ignoring the internet as much as possible. But today I'm taking advantage of baby girl's nap time by sneaking out to a nearby coffee shop for some Wi-fi and a little writing time. :) I'll be back with more regularity and a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT next week, I promise!
Becoming a mother is an exciting and surprising time, but everyone kind of warns you before the birth of your baby, especially a first baby, so the surprises are oddly expected. However, there were a few things that were a total surprise when they first happened, and I thought I'd pass on a few nuggets so that maybe you can avoid a shocker or two. :)
1) Poop- yes, I knew that babies poop. And I knew that sometimes that poop makes a surprisingly big mess. And I knew that it would seem incredible when that tiny human made such a big, poopy mess. But I have been surprised more than once by how many different surfaces that poop mess can cover and by how quickly it can happen. Seriously. Bath tubs? Carpets? Beds? Toys? Sofas? Armchairs? All of these and more are fair game. I strongly recommend replacing all furniture with leather furniture and exchanging those lovely white carpets for hardwoods.
2) Sleep- Sweet A started sleeping through the night at 2 months. I thought I had it made. I was so proud (foolish mortal that I am) of my perfect baby angel girl who slept like a dream without me even knowing what I did to make it happen. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Something happened at 6 months that ended the sleeping through the night miracle, and it's apparently still happening because sleeping through the night is a vague memory from days gone by. I don't know what or why, and it was a dirty surprise when I discovered that having a two month old who sleeps through the night does not mean that you will also have a 6 month old or even a 12 or 17 month old who sleeps through the night. Alas.
3) Bibs- I thought babies wore bibs. Grand were my thoughts of baby-led weaning with Little A wearing a precious little bib calmly eating her meals while maintaining a clean outfit beneath the bib. That's a funny joke. She hates bibs. And by "hates" I mean that she will spend an entire mealtime trying to pull the bib off and be so intent on removing the offending garment that she won't even look at her food. And that's significant because my petite little girl can eat as much as me if I've made all of her favorite foods. We've been given some funny looks, but the only way for any shirt to survive a meal is to remove it altogether. I was a little surprised when I realized that we're that family who just strips their kid down to the diaper for each meal. I have also been surprised by how much I regret the times I say, "Oh, this meal isn't that messy. It'll be okay!"
4) Personality- If I had a dollar for every person who has commented on how much personality Little A has we'd be gallivanting around Europe this year. Okay, probably not, but you get the point. It's been surprising to A) see how much personality she has and how early it started to come through and B) how much like mine her personality is. You guys, it's freaky-weird to watch the toddler version of yourself run around attempting to rule the world. It's also kind of awesome and completely intimidating to think of the responsibility we have in raising this little girl.
5) Ferocity- I have never thought of myself as a particularly fierce person. I went to a Mennonite university, so a significant piece of my education was rooted in pacifism, and, for the most part, I would probably consider myself a pacifist. Except for where a certain 1-year-old girl is concerned. There is nothing I wouldn't do to keep her safe and healthy. I was thinking the other day about that heart-breaking tragedy from Disney World a few weeks ago. When I first heard the story about how the parents tried to rescue their little boy from the alligator I was just in awe of their courage and stop-at-nothingness. They tired to fight an ALLIGATOR!! But then, as I was rocking my own little girl to sleep recently, I looked down at her sweet face and thought about how implicitly she trusts us to love and protect her. I thought about how she knows that Mommy and Daddy are a safe haven for her and how she instinctively turns to us when she's scared or hurt, and I became aware of something in me that had been lying dormant until her birth. I realized that there is no force on this earth that I wouldn't face for her. An alligator? Bears? Pack of hungry wolves? Erupting volcano? The Balrog and Voldemort himself? God forbid she ever be in danger from such things, but, if she were, you'd better believe that I would risk life and limb fighting any beast without an instant's hesitation.
I can't guarantee that all moms will experience all of these surprises, but at least now you can say you've been warned. :)