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My Child Makes Me Feel Like Gollum

I am pretty smitten with my son.  The extent totters on the ridiculous.  I love to watch as he interacts with his environment.  I love to make him smile & laugh.  I know he is the most adorable thing I have ever seen.  I sometimes have to make sure I’m not squeezing him too tightly when I’m getting my snuggles because I could honestly just hold him forever and be satisfied.  This golden-haired angel has made me crazy.

As I lovingly dote on him after I’ve laid him down for his nap, I marvel at my precious child.  Then the words, “I will risk no harm to him. He is precious to me” in Gandalf’s voice pop into my head, and I laugh at myself – hard.  Suddenly, I am Gollum, and James is my own, my precious.  So I tell myself to take it down a notch, you crazy nerd, and go get my chores done while I have a chance.

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My Kid Needs a Helmet

Le bèbè is 7 months old, and for the past couple of months, I have noticed one thing we really needed in our lives: a helmet.  In the progression from flat-laying, stationary infant to sitting up, crawling, pulling up baby, there have been a lot of bonks, mostly on the head considering it is still about 1/4 of his body. That and the fact that my son charges head first into exploring his world.

The first solid hit was to the corner of his right eye. I just knew he was going to have a shiner; it was red & purple all over. Lesson one: kids heal fast. I distinctly remember after James’s first bout of diaper rash cleared up almost instantly after starting to apply cream, my husband & I swore our son must be Wolverine. After a few days, he was back to normal, and it never progressed to a black eye.

There have just been so many since then. Try as I may, he would find a way to fall from sitting & smack his head on the one area of floor around him that I didn’t have padded with boppies & throw pillows or just fall between them. Or he will get ahead of himself while crawling (even though he’s had it down for a while) and face plant – extra unpleasant since he started getting his top front teeth.

One day at playgroup, he lost his balance from sitting up while holding a toy so was unable to catch himself before falling onto the edge of another toy and busted his eye. That tiny slit in the corner of this right eye oozing slightly with blood sent me into near panic. But the butterfly strips I purchased were not necessary as it turned out the split was already scabbing up nicely on it’s own. Wolverine.

The other lessons I’m gleaning from this mess:
1. I will probably be getting paid back for all those trips to the ER my mom had to suffer through, since it would appear my son will be accident-prone like his mother.
2. You can’t baby-proof the world. I will not be able to save him from every hard, rough, or pointy surface. I’ll just have to steel my nerves, brush up on my first-aid, and cross-my-fingers he’s a quick learner.

So, here’s hoping the cranial awareness increases real soon or my next Amazon search might be “baby helmet.”

Poopocalypse

Dear Naive Childless Person,
If you become a parent, there will be poo.  More importantly, it will not always be nicely contained in the diaper.  Oh no, it will escape.
Sincerely, Survivor

I wish someone had written that note to me just over 7 months ago.  It’s like your brain knows a baby will poop, but it just cannot fathom the horrors to come.

The first day we brought our teeny little baby boy home, he shot poop over the changing pad onto the couch during a diaper change.  It made about a foot long trajectory down the cushion & off the side.  My sleep-deprivation delirious husband and I could only laugh because it was so ridiculous such a mess could have so quickly happened from so small a thing.  And we dubbed it “Poopocalypse.”  It was like our initiation into parenting.

There have been oh-so-many since that first experience:
– my dear husband being so distracted by the cuteness of the naked baby that he picked him up anyway and got poop in his hand… the baby pooped. IN his hand. Poopocalypse!
– the day I was changing the diaper and a little expelled gas decided to bring a little poo with it which shot onto my arm. Poopocalypse!
– and the innumerable times the diaper just couldn’t be bothered to contain all the poo, leaking it out into people’s laps, all over their clothes, and anything else at all the baby might come in contact with.  Poopocalypse!

I have no doubt there will be many more to come. We’ve yet to have any poop during bathtime and potty training promises to be eventful.

Parents even talk openly about poo.  We stalk the color, quantity, consistency of our baby’s feces as it goes through a whirlwind of changes in the first month.  Then even more fun as we introduce solids.

So, if you are thinking about having a kid, start bracing your gag reflex for the Poopocalypse!

The Battle

It would appear that my consistency has only improved with parenthood … almost 7 months later, how the time flies!

I actually went into labor 2 days after my last brief post, and that is what this post is about.  Don’t worry, there will be no gory details here.  I just feel like people who haven’t experienced it, as a mother or a support person, can have no idea what labor is really like.  I certainly didn’t 7 months ago!

The entertainment industry will never be able to fully grasp the experience of childbirth, even if it wanted to, which I am sure it doesn’t.  Most of all because you simply cannot have a scene that long.  Most movies have some version of some screaming, some pushing, maybe some swearing, but all in all after some heroic, yet brief effort out comes a baby, fairly tidy with no umbilical cord.  That is not how it works.

Labor is a battle.  It is a great effort of sheer will and determination.  It doesn’t matter if it is long or short, medicated or not, at home or in hospital – it is a fight.  A fight to bring a person into the world.  It manifests differently for each person, but afterwards there are the scars of battle, no matter how it progressed.

I look back on that experience and feel like a total bad-ass.  (sorry for the language, it’s the only appropriate word for it)  I see other mothers differently – my friends & family, like we should all be slow-motion walking with an explosion behind us.

We should probably add the fathers in there too because I have been realizing that parenthood is the war of which our labor battle is just a tiny part.  We battle to grow & birth a person.  We battle against exhaustion & frustration to learn to care for a tiny tyrant.  My current battle is with little white teeth that are throwing my norms into an upheaval.  In the future, we will battle illness, annoyance, the outside world, ourselves, and our own child as he fights his way through growing up.

Don’t think we are alone, though.  We have each other: our spouse, other parents, our parents, but most importantly our Heavenly Father.  He is the one who can see us through; when we are tired, when we are frustrated, when we are lonely, when we don’t know what to do, when we feel like we have nothing more to give, He is there.  And thank goodness for that!

Also, remember the spoils of war: the tiny miracle you hold when your battle is over, that sweet little face that thinks you are the best thing ever.  Cherish the smiles and the snuggles, the laughter and the playfulness, the cutest thing you have ever seen in your entire life that makes you want to spend all of your time just staring at him.  I love our new life and would never go back.

Parenthood is the greatest gift.  It is the battle that I willingly choose every day.  It isn’t easy, but it is so worth the fight.

Nap time is over; back into the fray!