Monday, July 15, 2013

How does it feel to have a baby?

I was at a wedding this weekend and was randomly seated next to an old friend from college. We were catching up and when I said I was good friends with the bride from elementary school, he asked if my parents were there.

"No, they are at home with my son", I answered.
Austin vs, Plums
Shocked he repeated - "You have a son!? That's crazy....What is it like to have a kid?"

To be honest, this was the first time I had ever been asked that question. Sure, my friends asked about child birth, the pain, the process, and all the sexiness that comes with labor but how does it feel to actually bring him home and be yours - forever?

"Well, to be honest - it was hard for me at first". I explained. "One minute he wasn't there and then he is and your whole world is changed".
I explained that little things we take for granted, like running to Walgreens for toothpaste, are now pain-in-the-ass tasks. Sleeping, at first, is a blessing long taken for granted, and no matter how prepared you thought you were - you aren't.

Then there is the baby itself. In one of Jenny McCarthy's books she describes a newborn as a blob, and as bad as it sounds - I have to agree. Your newborn doesn't laugh, smile, or cuddle. He is crinkly, confusing, and indifferent to all of your parenting efforts. Cry, Eat, Sleep, Rinse, Repeat. You are at the mercy of this pattern during those early days and you might feel selfish as you think about all the new sacrifices you will need to make for the rest of your life (pause for dramatic effect).

As a new mom, you are wiped out and the new dad is overwhelmed. You will have a "what have we done" moment, maybe more than once and wonder when this baby's "real parents" are coming to pick him up.

Then - something wonderful happens -

At two months or so, your baby smiles at you and you are in love. A different love than you feel for your husband and your parents. This kind of love consumes you, your parent-dar is in full swing, you understand that "take-a-bullet" feeling.
Your body swells with this new feeling and you aren't even sure where it came from but it is over powering. You wonder how you ever lived without this little person in your life and you vow to never miss a moment with him. Of course, you relish in his nap time, but you melt when his eyes open and he smiles at you, when he reaches for you, when he holds on tight. When people ask, "will you have a second baby?", you honestly answer - "I don't know. I love my son so much - I don't know if I can make more love". You are brimming with warm fuzzies - your blood has transformed to warm milk and honey, your body is a pillow for your little man, your arms are a blanket, a shield, a fortress.

The smiles turn into laughs, your baby recognizes your face, your voice, your smell. You find yourself revolving your day around hugs, kisses, and playtime, and you love it.

That is what its like to have a kid.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Times - They are a Changin'

Austin - July 6, 2013

In 2010 seven friends and I rented a house in Ocean City, Maryland, stocked the fridge with beer, wine, liquor, and mixers, and lived off of pizza, boardwalk fries, and sub sandwiches for a week. That Fourth of July weekend, we imbibed, debauched, and were gluttonous. We, eight "adults", had no responsibilities, other than finding out the cover charges for area bars and when we had to arrive in order to beat them. We stayed out too late, we drank too much, we puked, we rallied, and we slept in as we pleased. It was glorious!

July 4, 2013 was a far cry from those care free days when our biggest worry was if rum tasted as good with Sprite as it did with Coke and what was the lowest SPF we could get away with, without burning.

I was up with Austin at 6:30 am, digging through his drawers for something Patriotic. I knew I would have to find several somethings since we go through a few outfits a day and I would need back ups. Daddy joined the ranks a little after 7 am and I hit the garage for a quick workout before BBQs commenced. (The Elizabeth of 2010 might have thought about working out, but the mere idea would have been exercise enough for that day).

Our first stop was a 3rd Birthday party for a family friend - low key - but with the oppressive heat we didn't stay long since we were having company at our house later in the day.

Fast forward to our party, Austin and his friend, Logan, spent about 15 minutes in a baby pool in the yard. The filling of the pool took longer than its actual use but at least it kept the boys cool and entertained while Dad fired up the grill. Sun dresses of the past, were traded in for gym shorts and an old tee shirt in case we experienced an explosive poop or rogue spit up. Everyone was doused in SPF 50.

Between chasing around newly mobile babies, spoon feeding pureed vegetables to Austin and supplying Logan with enough Gerber Puffs and Goldfish,  the adults were able to, at least, take a sip or two of wine and beer between activities. All was going smoothly until the heat of the day hit one of our little soldiers and all of Logan's Goldfish were regurgitated on the floor.

If this had happened at our beach house, the cuteness factor would have been non-existent and the puker would have been left to fend for himself. But, we, new mommies jumped into action grabbing carpet cleaner, wipes, paper towels, and Frebreeze. If I had glanced out the window during the raucous, I might have seen 2010 Elizabeth, peeking in with a vodka cranberry in her hand, sun burnt from a day a the beach, laughing at the unfolding chaos, but as it was - I didn't have time. By time the puke had been cleared, Austin was crawling away into another room and Logan was getting hugs and kisses from his mommy, being told everything was okay.