Sunday, November 20, 2011

What I've Learned as a Parent So Far

Big news: 'Rad has started attempting to roll over!  The big movement hasn't happened yet, but the prospect of it is both thrilling and terrifying.  No more laying him down and walking away to do some quick something or other.  And all of those straps that come with his bouncy seat and changing table and swing?  We're going to have to start putting those to use now.  Last night we were cleaning up the house and C-rad was chillin' on his play mat.  I stood up from whatever I was doing and spotted him on his play mat, swinging his legs up and trying to flip himself over.  I yelled to Ziggy and for the rest of the night we were on watch.  If either of us saw movement we yelled to the other.  I've learned that when you become a parent, things that you wouldn't imagine as entertainment are exactly that - entertaining.
Today we went over to a friend's house with 'Rad in tow.  We had a great lunch, some easy conversation, and watched a little football.  It's easy to visit friends when they have a kid and you don't, but it doesn't seem as easy for friends without kids to visit you when you're the one with the kid.  I've learned that when you're a parent it's imperative to have friends with kids if you want to keep your sanity. 

Before we headed out for our lunch date with friends, we had to get out of the driveway first.  That involved loading up 'Rad's diaper bag ("Did you pack an extra change of clothes?"  "Yes."  "A bib?"  "Yup."  And so on and so forth), a couple of bottles of milk, his bouncy seat, and the man himself.  Might not sound like a huge list, but it always involves a process of double-checks and are you sures?  We're semi-pros at it at this point, but there's always the possibility that we've forgotten something.  I've learned that you can never be too prepared and that you can never be perfect.  

I can accomplish a lot of things during the day - doing the dishes, cleaning up the house, putting in eight hours of work, walking the dog.  But nothing gives me as much of a thrill as making C-rad smile and coo.  It sounds completely cheesy, but once you can do it, it's like a drug and I'm a complete addict.  I've said this before, so I'll spare you my rehashing how his smile lights up his face.  And I won't repeat that his eyes turn into sideways crescents when the corners of his mouth turn up.  I've learned that when you're a parent, you will do anything to make your kid smile.

Ok, so this isn't him smiling.   Still cute though, right?

As much as they can be adorable in their little outfits with their delicious head smells and incomparable smiles, babies can also be the most trying, frustrating little beings ever encountered.  What do you do when they're crying uncontrollably and you're exhausted?  You get frustrated.  I've learned that as a parent, if expletives used to make you cringe you maybe find yourself using them often.  Away from Jr.'s sensitive ears, of course.

Having a baby opens your eyes.  WIDE.  What used to matter before may not matter to you so much anymore.  And those things that you never gave a second thought to suddenly become of the utmost importance.  The most important thing I've learned as a parent and maybe moreso as a mother so far is that you can always push yourself further; you are stronger and more resilient and can do more than you thought, even when you feel like giving up.  I wanted to return Connor when he was three weeks old - being a mom was too hard and exhausting and just not as rewarding and I expected.  But the hospital had a strict return policy, and how happy am I that I had lost my receipt?  

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