I Used to Be Cute, Then I Had a Kid by Laura Marks O’Brien

sistersnew momNote: This is my second installment featuring a guest blogger – my Sister! Many thanks for her willingness to share a story here on my site. I’ll be hitting up other family and friends to commit to more guest appearances. I have lots of Word Nerds in my life who inspire me, so this is my special way to feature and thank them for their positive and encouraging influences upon me. 

 

If I’m going to be completely honest, I probably stopped being cute a number of years before I had my kid. But I came across the photo above of my sister and me in Charleston in 2007, when times were different for both of us in many different respects. And, since this is my sister’s blog, I thought it would be fitting to display the two of us looking our best. Hence the picture from 12 years ago.

Like my sister, I was an English minor and have always enjoyed writing. I even (voluntarily) took creative writing classes through the county back in 2006 and wrote a number of short stories based upon randomly assigned themes. There’s a “My Writings” folder saved to my Yahoo e-mail account (yes, I still use Yahoo) that hasn’t been added to since 2007. Aha, the year I started law school! Yes, one day in late 2006 I suddenly realized that my LSAT scores were about to expire, and it was now or never. So now all of my writing consists of drafting documents beginning with “COMES NOW THE PLAINTIFF” (or Defendant – I practice family law, so we represent both) and ending with “WHEREFORE.” Until now, when my sister Mitchie (a.k.a. Meesh or Michelle) asked me to be a guest blogger on IAMNOTYOURMOM.com. So here goes.

My best ideas for writing come to me when I am awake in the middle of the night, on the cusp of sleep, but not quite, my mind racing yet tired at the same time. Unlike my sister, who tends to draft her blog entries during bouts of insomnia, I just lie there, tossing and turning, sweating, pushing the dog over as many inches as I can, because she’s encroaching on my space again, all while formulating some really great ideas, even down to the sentence, but not actually writing anything down. Such a waste of potential! Maybe Apple can invent a device to track our thoughts and record them at all times so our productivity can be maximized to its fullest extent! Or not…

Anyway, back to the theme of my blog entry: on Valentine’s Day 2017, Cupid delivered the most precious gift ever . . . my six pound, four ounce little bundle of writhing and wrinkled joy, wrapped in the ubiquitous white, pink, and blue baby blanket that appears to be distributed to EVERY SINGLE child born in a hospital in the United States. (Did you know that these blankets are made in Pakistan? Funny, since 99.999% of the other baby/toddler/child products that I own are MADE IN CHINA.) The second photo above is the first photo taken of Baby J and her proud mama. For real. I think I was still in shock that the ultrasounds hadn’t been misread, and she actually had 10 fingers and 10 toes and a perfectly formed head and all of her body parts seemed to be present and intact. (Upon viewing this photo, you now surely understand why this blog entry is entitled “I USED to be cute.”)

Twenty-four hours after being admitted to the hospital, 22 hours after having Cervadil shoved up you-know-where, 12 hours after the first dose of Pitocin was administered through an IV, and after having two “peanut balls” shoved between my legs, one epidural jammed into my spine (yes, it only took one! Lucky me!), one catheter inserted another you-know-where, and a gazillion ice chips later (um, no one told me you couldn’t even drink WATER while in labor?!), out she came at 7:39 p.m. (EST). In the course of 24 hours, my birthing canal (or whatever the medically correct term is – I don’t want to gross anyone out by the use of any gynecological terms; although I know that my fellow mom readers will understand, because they, too, have had their legs spread for all the world to see at one point or another) had gone from the “size of a pencil tip” to 10 centimeters! And the expansion from 3 to 10 centimeters had occurred in less than an hour! And this birthing tale is no sweat compared to so many others.

It’s fun to share mom stories. The authors of #IMomSoHard (one of whom, Jen Smedley, actually went to my high school in Bellevue, Nebraska!) recently published an entire book of their mom tales. Like they say, “From trying to get your kid to eat just one freakin’ green bean, to wondering why it feels like you disappeared the day you became a mom, they get it. They get you.” (Wondering if Mitchie will require me to add a citation here. Regardless, this is a great book and I highly recommend it!) (Do I use too many parentheticals, by the way?)

In true legal fashion, I share with you the following bullet points illustrating just a few of my tales of momdom, in no particular order.

  • Wondering why your toddler still hasn’t woken up by 7:45 one morning and entering her room only to be greeted by a giant pile of barf in her crib, with her face half-lying in pile of said barf. This would probably not be that memorable or repulsive of a moment to most, but when you are a true emetophobe (emetophobia: intense anxiety pertaining to vomiting. It is for real – look it up on Wiki! Matt Lauer and Denise Richards are fellow emetophobes! My emetophobia is the reason I avoided all professions relating to medicine or teaching. But then I became a mother…) it is particularly gut-wrenching. Especially when your husband has just departed several hours earlier for a morning flight to Columbus, where he will be on a work trip all day. Yet, although you are repulsed and disgusted with the prospect of dealing with barf all day, you are secretly radiating with happiness that you get to stay home from work and spend the whole day with your baby, just the two of you.
  • Multitasking to the extreme such that you don’t actually complete any tasks at all. A true oxymoron. For example, seeing a bowl in the sink that you intend to put in the dishwasher which reminds you to fill the dog’s bowl with food which reminds you that you need to take the dog out (the dog who used to be your “fur baby” but suffered a complete downgrade in status since baby came along) which reminds you to replenish the dog’s poop bags which are stored in a little bone shaped dispenser hanging from her leash which reminds you that the baby’s diaper genie is full which reminds you that you need to bring more diapers downstairs from the stash which is stored in your child’s bedroom which reminds you that you haven’t actually changed your child’s diaper in five hours which reminds you that you really need to start potty training which reminds you that you need to buy a toddler potty which reminds you to look at the different options available on the Target website, and we know that once you open that Target website or enter a Target store, there’s no turning back. Oh yeah, and that dirty bowl is still in the sink. And while you’ve been looking at the Target website on your phone, the dog has taken a giant dump on the carpet and your kid has climbed on top of the kitchen table and has removed her shirt, only to be standing there in a dirty diaper, topless, screaming that she wants to watch Peppa Pig.
  • And speaking of Peppa Pig, being able to recite the names of every single member of Peppa’s playgroup – Rebecca Rabbit, Suzy Sheep, Emily Elephant, Pedro Pony, Danny Dog, Candy Cat, Zoe Zebra, Freddy Fox, and in later episodes, Gerald Giraffe, Molly Mole, Mandy Mouse, and Pandora and Peggi Panda, AND each of their parents’ respective professions – I mean, you didn’t know that Daddy Pig is an architect? – but when asked today’s date, you seriously have no idea and might not even recall the current month. But you do know if it is a Monday through Friday, because you have to go to work on those days and leave your child, the most important person in your life, with strangers, essentially (a.k.a. DAYCARE).
  • And speaking of daycare, rushing out of work no later than 5:00 p.m. in order to get to daycare by 5:30 p.m., only to find that there has been an accident on I-66 because there is ALWAYS ongoing construction and putting the daycare’s destination into Waze and being routed through streets and neighborhoods you didn’t even know existed in order to get to your final destination in what ends up being 40 minutes rather than the routine 20 minutes.
  • And speaking of work, usually leaving work by no later than 5:00 p.m. even though before baby was born you never left any earlier than 6:00 p.m. and knowing in the back of your mind that you are being resented and prevented from being paid more because of it – but also knowing that those few hours you spend with your child from the time you pick her up until you put her to bed two hours later are priceless.
  • And speaking of putting your child to bed, you then take a shower because the only time you have to sufficiently cleanse yourself is after she is in bed. Which means that you go to bed with wet hair because you are too tired to blow it dry and thus wake up with crazy bedhead which you not-so-proudly sport to work each morning.
  • And speaking of wishing you could be a stay-at-home mom but then after one full day alone with your kid, looking forward to going back to work where you can have a cup of coffee without interruption and have conversations that do not revolve around Doc McStuffins.
  • And speaking of Doc McStuffins, knowing all the words to her theme song, which floats through your head all day long, and also knowing all the words to “Baa Baa Black Sheep,” which is your daughter’s favorite song, and wondering why she loves the song so much when it refers to a man as a “master” and a woman as a “dame.” I mean, WTF?
  • Sitting on the floor all the time – at your house, at the library, at the park, on the sidewalk, everywhere, so you can be at your child’s level. And feeling really old when you have to use both hands in order to push yourself up from off the floor.
  • Only wearing makeup on “special occasions” and realizing that your mascara has dried out because it’s been so long since you’ve last applied it.
  • Telling other moms how old your kid is when they ask and always receiving the response, “Oh, what a great age!” And then wondering if this age (i.e., two) is supposed to be so great, then what am I in for in the future?!
  • Crying when you see ads for diapers or Johnson & Johnson products, or really any product that shows a baby growing up. Or maybe you don’t watch TV because you really don’t have time for it. Or maybe you only watch Masterpiece on PBS and British police dramas on Acorn TV because you’re turning into your own parents even though you’re not even 40 yet.
  • Having to sit through meetings where clients go on and on about their own children and really just wishing that you could spend this moment with your kid instead.
  • Wondering how on earth parents can handle multiple children, especially children who are close in age, because you struggle to keep control of just one.
  • Breaking out in a sweat every morning, because that’s how much effort it takes to clothe your child in a diaper, shirt, pants, socks, and shoes. The same exertion of effort applies when you try to brush her teeth, although lately she’s been complying if you tell her she has play-doh stuck in her teeth and you have to get it off or else her teeth will rot.
  • Speaking of play-doh, that stuff is described as “non-toxic,” but wow, will it ever do a number on your carpet.
  • Breaking out in a smile because you can’t get over how cute it is when your daughter serves you a plate of play salami and a plastic T-bone steak when in reality, the only meat she will even come close to touching is a Tysons Dino Nugget made of “chicken breast with rib meat.” And it’s considered a huge victory if she eats the entire nugget.
  • Still subscribing to the old school Yahoo email which is filled daily with tons and tons of emails from BabyCenter, Parents, The Bump, The Nest, Mothers of North Arlington, HowToBeAGreatMom, etc. which you glance at and think, wow, I could really learn something from this, I’ll read it someday! But you never do and now your inbox has 737 unread messages.
  • Waking up to your child’s cries as early as 6:15 some days, but still feeling that rush of excitement pump through you each time because the best part of your day is seeing your little girl’s face.
  • Belatedly sending others’ birthday cards, gifts, and other tokens recognizing special occasions, but planning your kid’s birthday party at least two months prior to the big celebration. Which also entails purchasing a gazillion dollars of items on Amazon, including a 4 foot Peppa Pig balloon.

Speaking of belatedly acknowledging holidays, a belated Mother’s Day and early Father’s Day to those of you who are lucky enough to be parents. I am blessed beyond belief to have the privilege and honor to be a mother, and equally blessed to know so many amazing, dedicated mothers, including but not limited to: my own; the owner of this blog; my mother-in-law; my sister-in-law; and my five fellow mom co-workers, with whom I love sharing my tales of momdom. And if there’s any point to this blog, it’s to encourage you to share your own tales of momdom and daddom and auntdom and uncledom and sisterdom and brotherdom and whatever the heckdom with anyone who is willing to listen. Because everyone has these wacky moments, mom or not. And when we share our downfalls and delights, not only do we make others feel better, but we end up feeling better about ourselves, too.

Dedicated to Baby J,
Laura

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