Now that little Terry has crossed the threshold from infancy to toddler-hood, I am reflecting a little on the things I didn’t know about motherhood. I’ve decided to summarize this in a “Top 10” list, Letterman-style.
#10. Yoga pants and sweatshirts would become my clothing item of choice. Seriously, who wears jeans? They are so constrictive (like, how can I chase after a baby hell bent on sticking his finger in the one plug without a cover). And when the baby sits on your lap while covered in Vaseline and no diaper, it leaves behind a big ass-shaped grease stain that no amount of stain remover or repeat laundry cycles can remove. Yoga pants and sweatshirts are cheap. They expand and shrink with you as you go from hourglass to pear to apple to corn-on-the-cob shaped. They hug you. They make it all better.
#9. That new perfume I’m wearing should be labelled “Eau de sour milk and dirty diapers”. ‘Nuff said. Just plain nasty. But eventually, you fail to notice your own pungent aroma and it becomes status quo.
#8. The body has a strange ability to keep functioning long after it should have shut down from sheer exhaustion. I’d like to know how all these celebrities end up hospitalized for exhaustion? I partied all night long with an infant for the better part of 5 months and I didn’t need to be put on bedrest. Sure, at times it was hard to see and I felt nauseous, but this body sucked it up and kept on truckin’. Go body! The mind, however…. it might not have fared as well. See item #7 below.
#7. Stringing together coherent sentences is much more difficult that I remember. For those of you who follow the Barbie Fails blog, you are likely familiar with my vocabulary follies over the years. Despite the fact my career is focused around communications, I’ve been known to mix up words and say silly things. This has become worse over the last two years. The hormonal changes have melted my brain. And I think these changes are permanent.
#6. I narrate everything that I do. I was told this was a great way to help baby learn language skills. So, I pretty much spend the day talking to myself at home, in public… wherever. I appear slightly insane, but whatever, he’s learning.
#5. I will never have nice furniture or things again. Nope. But leather and vinyl might be viable options.
#4. I will see reality differently: things that are choking hazards and things that are covered in germs. This is pretty self-explanatory. Although, over time, I am loosening up on my “germ” phobia.
#3. I will never judge the parent of a screaming, tantrumming child again. Because, unfortunately, I have THAT child. You know, the one that has a complete meltdown in the grocery store because you said no. Perhaps he is “spirited” or he has an underlying “behavioural problem” — who knows at this stage. But right now, I have one little monster when he doesn’t get his own way. Of course, I was a terribly behaved toddler and I believe this is what is referred to as karma. Damn.
#2. Having a dog does prepare you for parenthood. They do. From training to housebreaking to breaking the house, babies are an awful lot like dogs. For example, yesterday, I caught Terry gnawing on the side of the coffee table. The other day, he was shredding Kleenex into little strips. These are both things that my dog did when she was a puppy. The good news is that she has survived 9 years, so I am doing something right. My houseplants, however… not as lucky.
#1. I will never, ever be the person I was before children again. This is actually a good thing. The person I was before Terry came along was one who did not stop and smell the roses. I worked too hard, I played too little, and I wasted time worrying about silly, unimportant things. And while I continue to worry about silly things, I worry for different reasons and it all comes back to making sure that my little man is healthy, happy, and becoming a wonderful little human. Parenthood changes you. There is no doubt about that. And even though I have a list of ten items above, nothing in this list would make me choose differently.