Tuesday, March 27

What I Know Now That I Didn't Know Then

As of last Monday I have officially been a mother for a whole year (technically I think I have kind of been a mom for a year and 9 months, and Blaine might even suggest that I've been a "mothering type" ever since the time we started dating, but my official mom status began March 19, 2011). During the past 12 months, I have come to realize so many things about myself. I have had to eat a lot of my words, and I've had to hold my tongue quite a few times. I have learned everyone has an opinion, and hardly anyone seems to think the way you do things is the right way. But that's okay because I've also learned a lot about accepting feedback from people and handling criticism with grace and dignity (and maybe a little venting to my husband or best friend behind the critic's back). I can say with complete certainty that I am not the exact same woman I was twelve months ago, and I am positive I will not be the same woman I am now, twelve months from today. That's how it ought to be though. We grow and change and go through these different phases; we learn some things and forget some things, and hopefully we come out better for it all in the end. Anyway, enough with the serious philosophizing and on to the real point of this post.

I've been reflecting the past few weeks on some truisms that I've become aware of over the past year and thought I'd share them in a post. So here are my little nuggets of wisdom, the things I know now that I didn't know back then (B.M. before motherhood):

  • Never get rid of your fat pants.   After Blaine and I got married, we both gained some extra weight that first year. Anyone who knows Blaine, knows this is quite a significant thing because he has always been lean and trim his entire life, but he gained about 25 pounds in the first couple years (and then lost it in like a month when he just started running). I, on the other hand, have never had a problem gaining weight (losing it is a different story), and typically just looking at something like a cheesecake can cause me to go up a pant size. I gained about 20 pounds the year after we got married. I guess I'm just a really great cook or something! Anyway, after we moved back home to Chattanooga from Louisville (where we lived the first year of our marriage because Blaine was in school there), I joined Weight Watchers and lost my extra 20 pounds and went down about 2 pant sizes within a year. Yaay! So what did I do with all those fat pants? Um, I got rid of them as soon as possible. My thought process was: "If I don't have any fat pants to wear, then I won't allow myself to get that big again." If only it were that simple. During my pregnancy I gained about 35 pounds and only lost about 15 after having the baby so now (yes, even 12 months later), I'm back up in that undesired weight area and wish I had more than two pairs of pants that fit me. If I had saved my fat pants, I would have some extra clothes these days. (Side note: I have started exercising and eating better though, and I will probably get back down to my goal weight just in time to get pregnant again, ugh.)
  • The garbage men are in a conspiracy against nap times.   It seems to never fail that any time I lay Brock down for a nap, about 30 minutes later the garbage truck comes, or the neighbor revs his mustang up, or the UPS man decides it's time to deliver a package, or anything else that could possibly make lots of noise outside Brock's bedroom window finds nap time is the perfect opportunity. Perfect example, no lie: Two little girls selling candy bars just came and rang the doorbell making Piper bark, and guess what time it is. Yep, it's nap time. Go away little girls! I don't need any candy; I'm trying to lose 20 pounds. Just kidding, I bought a Reese's from them. Anyway, I'm sure it's just that I only pay attention to these things when he's asleep and I'm worried they'll wake him up, and really he has gotten more immune to noises now that he's older. But it is frustrating when nap time gets cut short. If only the world went into suspended animation when children went to sleep.
  • Yo Gabba Gabba is like crack for babies.   My first opinion of the Nickelodeon tv show Yo Gabba Gabba was that I had never seen or heard anything so obnoxious, and I was pretty sure the creators of the show were on a really bad acid trip when they wrote it. I still think it's an incredibly strange, disjointed, and random show, but it is fascinating to Brock. There's one episode in particular that he will sit and watch almost the entire way through, which is pretty amazing since he won't sit still like that for anything else. Before you judge me in your head, I do limit his tv watching to one episode a day (maybe two, if it's a rough one). Backyardigans used to be our go-to show, but now that we've discovered the weird world of Yo Gabba Gabba he wants nothing else. Now I just need to figure out how to mount a tv above his changing table so he'll lay still while I change his diaper.
  • Cleaning a baby with a wet wipe after meals is apparently torturous.   While we're on the topic of keeping a child still to do something he doesn't like, what is the deal with my kid acting like he's being water-boarded when I'm wiping his hands and mouth after a meal? I don't know if it's universal, but I know he's not the only one because I've heard from other mom friends who have the same problem. I mean as soon as I touch that wet wipe to his hands, he goes a little crazy. It's not the cold temperature because I've used paper towels in warm water, and it's not the texture because I've used all kinds of cloths. It's not the water because he loves baths and loves playing in the dog's water bowl. It's just the simple fact that I'm wiping him off and he hates it, but I have no clue why. It is a very odd mystery that I'm hoping he'll get over soon.
  • Hot dogs and chicken nuggets should be their own food group.   Speaking of meals, I don't know why, but the only things I can ever think of to feed Brock are hot dogs or chicken nuggets. Unfortunately, neither of those things are very high on the nutritional value scale, and I think both of them are looked down on by healthy/organic people, but luckily I am neither healthy nor organic so those tend to be my default meals. I mean, this isn't what I feed him all the time and he's not a very picky eater so he has tried lots of different stuff, but generally when I'm trying to find something for him to eat, my first thought is "Hot dog or chicken nuggets?" Maybe I've been brainwashed by McDonald's (or maybe I'm just lazy and those are the easiest things to feed a baby; there's just no way to know).
  • Nothing you do as a parent will ever be the "right" or "best" way of doing it.    As I mentioned briefly in the introduction, parenthood seems to come with a welcome sign for criticism from others, even strangers. This has been the hardest thing for me to deal with this first year because I am a perpetual people-pleaser and I don't like when someone has something negative to say about me. Up until recently, I have always felt the need to defend my parenting decisions or my child's behaviors when someone questioned them. Whether it was how much he was eating, how many naps he was taking, what time bedtime is, why he's still doing the army crawl and not crawling like a "normal" baby, whether he's too cold or hot or tired or hungry or teething or wet or any number of other concerns people can come up with, there is always someone there to question you, to make you second-guess yourself and put you on the defensive. I'm getting to the point now where I just don't really respond because it doesn't matter what I say, most people have their mind made up about how great their advice is. People are typically going to think what they want to think, and I can either exhaust myself trying to defend my parenting or I can just shrug it off and not worry what people say. Which, for me, is so much easier said than done. But I'm getting there slowly, and I think it's important to get there for the sake of my sanity and my nerves. Blaine trusts me as the mother of his child, and I trust him as the father of my child, and we have each other's back no matter what, and I'm starting to realize that that is all that really matters. Not that I don't need/want help or feedback from others, but I can't let it consume me and I can't always feel defensive. What I take away from it all though is that I will always wait for someone to ask before I offer up my advice or opinions on children.

So it's been a year of growth for me as well as for Brock, and his first birthday party was kind of my "We Survived a Whole Year" party. I'm looking forward (in kind of a flinching way) to seeing what we learn over the next 12 months and beyond.


    1. little boys hate being clean thats why he doesnt like wipes. put a sign on door 'baby sleeping. do not knock. they will go away

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