Thursday, June 28, 2012

10 Parenting Surprises (so far) that I did NOT Expect

The pup overseeing the baby's foray into dog food. 
1. I never expected to have anyone, even the fruit of my loins, spit-up in my mouth. This is one of the most disgusting things I've ever experienced... and right after it happened I realized I was the only person home and it would just not do to get all grossed out and vomit-y. So I washed my mouth out and got on with my day. What kind of a person is okay with that? Apparently, me. 

2. I am typically okay with my baby eating dirt, and, bugs, and dog food (just not the ones that are recalled because of salmonella).
I guess there's not too much to say about this, other than I am pretty sure my theory is backed by scientific evidence that dirt-eating tends to result in stronger immunity for all kids, but little girls don't usually get the opportunity for said dirt-eating experiences. So, the husband and I are breaking the mold and allowing the little drool-monger to dig in as much dirt as she wants. Bring on the ringworm. The bugs are more of a "by chance" sort of thing, but I did actually find my child with wings and legs sticking out of her little pouty mouth the other day. Ugh.

3. My daughter enjoys licking toes and feet... so now I know what it feels like to have my toe and/or foot licked... and I do not enjoy it. 

4. I have (almost entirely) trained myself out of gasping in horror whenever it looks like my kid is going to take a fall for the worse... and every time I don't gasp I am so proud of myself. This is one of the things that has been incredibly important for both my husband and I. This is not to say I don't worry-- I do! Nor is this to say we just let her hurt herself unnecessarily or that when she finally does hurt herself we just ignore her, we do not. But, when she surprises herself with a little "hurt" and immediately flashes those big eyes at one of us as if to ask "Am I really hurt?" we try our best to look at her, pick her up (if needed), and say in a very upbeat voice, "Did you go boom? You're okay. Let's play *fill in blank with obnoxious toddler toy"." So far, she hasn't caught on to the game, and I'm hoping she never does!

5. I think holding a newborn is truly one of the most comforting and calming things in the ENTIRE world.
As much time as I spend ranting about random BS a person might come to believe I dislike parenting, and while there are aspects I would rather not partake in, I LOVE being mama to my girl. She is AWESOME (and has the fattest little baby legs to prove it). But, nothing compares to those sleep-deprived moments after we first brought her home. I would be so easily driven to tears and I just remember holding her and reminding myself to calm down because she was just, so, newborn. After reading a couple of new mama blogs and Facebook posts, I am reminded of how calming my little girl's presence was in those most difficult moments when I felt like I was going absolutely crazy.

6. I don't really want my kid to be a super-nerd (unless she really wants to be one).
I always thought I'd want to encourage my kid to be the "most" or "best" at everything she ever tries or wants to do. Lately, I've realized that I really don't want this (unless that's what SHE wants). I do want her to do well in anything she tackles, but (so far) I don't feel the need to do more than encourage in what she wants, and those developmental milestones she's expected to reach. Otherwise, I just want her to be happy... whatever (or almost whatever) that may mean to her. (But I'm still telling her to go to college... she can choose not to use a college degree, but if we're willing to pay for four years of partying, she might as well take us up on it!)

7. Truly trying to do what is best for my kid... even when it makes me feel uncomfortable every time I do it.
Shortly after my little babe was born some not-so-fun family relationship issues arose (as things like that will when exciting things, like babies, happen) which made it difficult to partake in certain family activities that were once second-nature to me. Nevertheless, both the husband and I have truly tried our hardest to come to a point of agreement about the aforementioned issues so that we know baby girl is getting the best chance possible at having a positive relationship experiences now, and throughout her life. I don't doubt that many things we do or encourage or attempt to do for her will eventually result in some sort of therapy, but I am surprised at the amount of time and energy we have put into making each facet of our daughter's life as positive for her as possible.

8. I sleep so little, and I am (mostly) okay with the lack of sleep.
I used to sleep SO much. I could easily sleep away twelve hours of a day, and I could never get up earlier than 10am without the help of one (okay two) alarms. I used to sleep so much that my husband just assumed I would continue to sleep for hours on end and not get up with our child. Little did her know, I am now the world's lightest sleeper. If I am on mom-duty I wake up if she cries out just once, and if she cries out more than once I get out of bed on my own accord-- no prodding needed! I also tend not to be able to sleep even when I'm utterly exhausted, and if I drink the night before, I usually wake up an hour earlier than if I spend the entire night teetotalling. I cannot wait for the day my sleep returns, and I fear that day will never come now that I am connected to this little thing for life.

9. The hair bows are SO cute it almost hurts!
On most days, I am perfectly fine with sending my kid out of the house in whatever her dad chooses for her to wear. He usually picks something that mostly matches, and our kid is SUPER-CUTE, so she looks AMAZING in anything (seriously). Nevertheless, I am now obsessed with making sure she has a bow in her hair whenever she leaves the house (even though she tries to eat them) because I wasn't able to put any bows in her hair for four months when she had to wear a head-shaping helmet for four whole months!

10. Babies are actually born with the beginnings of their little personalities; or, we're just THAT good at projecting character traits... either way, my VERY first picture of my daughter posted online was accompanied by a caption that read "Our beautiful, squishy, stubborn little girl." That description continues to capture the essence of my daughter. She IS beautiful, I will be terrible and brag: people tell us literally every time we go out. She IS squishy: at first she was squishy because she looked like a Benjamin Button doppelganger, now she's squishy because she has the kind of legs that contain no knees because the rolls just  skim right over that knee bone into the cankle that is her calf and you just want to eat them up. She IS stubborn! SO stubborn! Each week it's a new focus and new thing to whine about, or crawl to, or attempt fifty time without ever being successful, or a new word (she's got at least five now). We're totally screwed, she IS our kid, and we're pretty bad examples as far as stubbornness goes.

What do you think? Does any of this surprise you? Have you ever been surprised by a baby's actions?

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