Monday, March 29, 2010

Childhood is Wasted on the Young

This morning my child woke up, ate for 15 minutes, and is now asleep again. This leads me to my latest epiphany--childhood is wasted on the young. I think someone famous has a quote out there about this and I have heard people say this before, but I never really thought about it. Now that I have a baby I realize how true it is!!! She sleeps whenever she wants, eats when she's hungry, and has two adults to do her bidding. We are basically her staff of two--maid, cook, butler, and clown all wrapped up in mommy and daddy. Don't even get me started on wast management duties. Do you know what I would do just to get one of those at my disposal? (Not the clown, clowns freak me out.) I have always thought I would want the cook the most, but these days I think it would be the housekeeper. Lucky Alice has no worries, she flies by the seat of her diaper. What a great way to live. So this is my point--she doesn't even appreciate it! Ever since she has been alive--12 whole weeks--her every need is met in a hot minute. Sure she may have to scream a little to get someone's attention, but who doesn't occasionally have to shout at the help? She definitely has it down to a science already. She gives us a 30 second window of whimpering to give us a fighting chance to get whatever she needs before she launches into her full on tirade. Since 99.9% of the time it takes me at least 30 sec just to stand up, then the real demands start in the form of angry frowny face and shrill shrieking with some deep gasping thrown in for balance. This will make you hop to. Anything to stop the noise that the wee one makes to make sure we understand that she is not pleased with our performance as her employees. She is constantly reminding us very vocally that we need to get a move on when she needs something. Fortunately she will occasionally give me a hint of what she wants--fist biting (think Dorothy on Golden Girls) when she is hungry. Screaming while covering her eyes, while seems like she cannot bear to look at such incompetent house staff, actually means she is sleepy. So we do what she wants and live to make the Lady Baby happy. This is precisely what I am talking about. I would like for a staff of 2 to make me happy whenever I demand it! I would like to eat when i feel like it, sleep when i am tired, and someone to spread my toys all around me when i would like entertainment. (In my case it would probably be moving the remotes where i can reach them and bringing me a stack of books!). To top it off, she gets assistance to work-out. As her personal trainer, I help her sit-up, make sure she is positioned the most comfortable way possible so she has plenty of room to wave her arms and legs like a maniac, and lay her on her tummy to make that neck and shoulders nice and strong. I wish a trainer would do all that for me!
Sadly for little Schmalice, she will not remember being catered to constantly. She will not remember that we did everything in our power to make her life perfect and stress free when she was baby. Not to worry though, I will constantly remind her as she grows up. I will also make sure she knows that she can return the favor once I am an old lady and will need some help to eat and someone to bring me a blankie when I am cold. I figure she will really owe me after the good job I have done as her personal assistant of life.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Who does she look like???

The husband and I spend our days, and nights, saying things like "whoa she is gassy, just like you" and "your daughter won't stop screaming-- she is angry, like you." The "you" depends on who is making the statement. For what ever reason, I blame everything bad on Anthony, and he does the same for me. Usually it is pretty funny. Occasionally, if I am feeling especially tired or cranky, it is not so funny. But that is neither here nor there. My point is, why are we so quick to pin everything on one of us? Every quirk, every grin, every fart. We think it is straight from us, good, bad, and otherwise.
The first time you see your baby, it is amazing that you are holding this person that you helped create. According to science its technically half mom and half dad. Of course, some kids look exactly like one parent or the other, which always seems kind of funny to me--to see a baby that looks exactly like the adult. A true mini-me. When it is not so cut and dry, when the wee one is a little more of a mix, there is constant conversation about who she or he looks like. I ask everyone who they think Alice looks like. We get a mix--lots of people say she has my eyes and nose and Anthony's coloring and hair. I love hearing that she has something of me in her that people can actually see. Why do I love that? Why is it so important for people to see a little bit of me in her? Partly because I worked so hard to get her here. Then, I carried her for 9 mos (and 2 days) and labored for a good many hours to bring her into this world. There really is something beyond amazing about bringing another person into the world and having her carry a little piece of you around in her, whether it is her round nose, the way her little finger has a crook in it, or that one eyebrow arches and one is straight (all things she gets from me!). It is like mother nature reminding us--this is your baby. You made her and she has some of you in her always. What could be more life affirming that that?
I am so eager for her personality to really start to emerge. Will she be clever like her Daddy and quick to laugh like me? Will she love to organize things like him, or be messy like I am? I truly hope she gets the best of both of us. Because that is what we really want for our kids, for them to be the best versions of us. While I would love to able to see myself in her in every way, it is not only unrealistic, but would not make her the best she can be. The world already has one of me!!! It would do the child some good to get her Dad's good money sense and confidence. And maybe I will have given her some of the things I like about myself--my positive outlook or my creativity. But however she turns out to be, no matter what what she gets from who, she will still be our perfect daughter. Perfect in the sense that she is exactly the way she was meant to be. Even if she gets some of the things that are what make us less than perfect, like a poor sense of direction or clumsiness, that is okay too. Heck, we have been living with them for our whole lives and can share a little bit of wisdom about it! The munchkin will grow up to be herself and there will also be things that did not seem to come from either of us. Maybe she will play the trumpet or love volleyball. We will love the whole package, however she turns out!
I will keep asking friends and strangers alike who they think she looks like. We will always blame each other when she has an impressive dirty diaper or barfs all over us yet again. I will continue to look for little glimpses of myself in her, but I also will take joy in all the ways I see her Dad in her. I fell in love with him for many reasons, and what better way to remember that than to see all the great ways his little girl takes after him. I have always said that I would love for her to have his hair, but even more than that I would love for her to have his strength and determination.
Our child is a shining example of how much we love each other and that family is the most important thing in our life as a married couple. However A and her future siblings turn out, whoever they take after or look like, they will be perfect and loved. And it certainly won't hurt anything if Alice has my sense of humor, lucky girl.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Smile

This morning when I went to get the wee one out of her crib she was wide awake. I sleepily put her on her changing table and started taking off her sleep sack. Usually she does not like the process of changing her clothes and fusses a lot. So imagine my surprise when she looked at me and gave me the biggest open mouthed grin followed by a giggle-coo. I stopped dead and just soaked that grin and laugh in. It was the most beautiful smile I had ever seen and it totally made my day. Even though I was sleepy and didn't want to get up when I heard her in her room waking up, seeing that grin made all that grumpiness vamoose.
The instant change that smile had on me got me thinking about how important it is to smile in general. Think about it...isn't it nice to get a smile by someone you pass in the grocery store or when you are out taking a walk?Doesn't that feel better than someone hurrying past you with their head down and shoulders up? I try to be a smiley person, though often I find myself caught up in the business of life, rushing around and being annoyed by humanity in general. However, I am now in possession of a smile inducer. I find when you are traveling with a very cute munchkin even the coolest customers get a goofy grin on their face. Babies cause smiles, wherever you go. Over the weekend we went down to Savannah and on the way stopped at a Cracker Barrel for a break and to feed Miss Alice. We got no further than the hostess station before the ooh's and aah's started. I think our waitress Eunice spread the word amongst the staff that the cutest baby in the world was at table 15, because her cohorts Bonnie, Priscilla, and Cindy all came by to smile and coo at my girl. It was so sweet and I could not help but appreciate all the compliments. When I took her to the bathroom to do a diaper change, it was like we had a waitress magnet on us, because they all came out of the kitchen to bask in her glow as we walked by. How can you not smile when 20 different women smile at you within a span of 50 feet? And that is only one example of the effect babies have on people. It happens everywhere we go. These days I find myself a bit put out if people don't look at little lady baby and smile. How dare that clerk at Walgreen's photo counter look past her? Why did that man at the Teeter not realize he was a mere foot from the most perfect child ever? How can anyone be impervious to that beautiful face and jazzy mohawk? Then I remind myself that maybe they are having a bad day or are extra busy. So I give them a smile instead and hope that it makes their day a little better. I definitely get enough these days to dole a few extras out. At the very least, it will improve my karma a little.
All day I have been trying to make her smile and laugh a little, but she is being stingy with the big smiles. She will give me half smiles and talk a little, but not another one of those big gummy smiles. So I suppose I will wait impatiently passing the time by sharing my own smiles with whoever I can. Even though it may sounds cheesy, try it. Smile at that grumpy old man at the bank, grin at the haggard lady beside you at the stop light. It will lighten your load and who knows what it will do for those people you share it with. It will probably make them feel pretty good too. If that one grin from my number one girl can change my day entirely, then maybe a grin to a stranger can at least improve that five minutes of their day.


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