Sunday, October 30, 2011

Second Time Around

Parenting doesn't get any easier. Ever. Anyone who tells you that it does is a big, fat liar or childless. You just adapt faster. Or you are so sleep deprived that you don't have time to think or worry. Keeping the kids fed, bathed and clothed are the most attainable goals you have. In addition to post-partum depression, I had 3 bouts of mastitis after I had our first child, Sara. Let's just say that I was a scary, hormonal mess to be around. And I made people stick around. I was terrified to be left alone with her. Who in their right mind would leave me with a child unsupervised??? I rallied all the troops - my working mother/sister-in-law, out of town friend and my father were all fair game. When my husband had to leave town for work, I had my sister-in-law work a full day, leave her 2 kids and keep my newborn and me company. I had no shame and I would do it all again. She even brought dinner. When her shift ended at 10 pm, my friend finished her waitress shift and drove 30 minutes to be with me overnight. Next on deck was my out-of-town friend who had NO experience with children. Within an hour of her arrival, my darling daughter peed on her. Baptism by fire, so to speak. I even extended her prison term when Paul was delayed. Did she really think I would turn her down when she offered to stay?

Sara turned four when we had our second child. I felt slightly more qualified to mother another live being. Not much. I figured I had kept her alive for 4 years in a row so my chances were pretty good. As we settled back into life with a newborn and around the clock feelings, I realized that I wasn't the nervous wreck I was last time. I didn't panic every time he cried for no apparent reason. I didn't read every parenting book and freak out because they all contradict each other. I was not convinced that every decision was vital and wrong and scarring him for life. I actually sat back and enjoyed watching him grow and discover the world around him without worrying about all the harm I was doing to him. I wasn't consumed with crazy thoughts. Am I playing with him too much? Not enough? Am I holding him enough or too much? I could actually shower and not panic that evil men would break in and kidnap him. They say that grandkids are so much fun that you should have them first. I think we should all have our second children first. Or learn to sit back, relax and enjoy it. Because, before you know it, they are in school and busy with their own lives. And they have developed the verbals skills to say 'no!" to everything you say. Makes you long for the days when you had all the control and they couldn't talk back.

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