Saturday, December 10th, 2016

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10. biggest surprises of parenthood -- how has having a child compared to what you thought parenthood would be like? ([identity profile] hamsterwoman.livejournal.com)

I always thought that I would be a parent, mostly in an abstract way. When we were 19 and first talked about kids, Bear wasn't sure about kids at all but I knew I wanted them at some point. (As he got older he came around, obviously). I never really dealt with babies or toddlers at all, so that was all a big mystery to me. I barely held a baby until my friend Marianna had one and even then it was for like a minute. And I was just scared of that stage. I never even thought about what being pregnant would be like. I did always like kids and I worked in summer camps for all three summers of college when I was 19 to 21, first at sleepaway camp and then at day camp. There I dealt with girls aged 7 to 10, so I was always comfortable with that and could picture that age. But I never really deeply thought or fantasized about parenthood, other than abstract, yes I would like kids someday, to have a family. Once in a while I would have most idealic pictures of playing and talking and sharing my love of books. I didn't really have expectations other than what the hell do you do with a baby? Can't they just magically get to be 6?

So a year after we were married and I was 33, it was really time to get pregnant. And I did pretty quickly. My pregnancy gave me all the happy hormones until about month 6, I only started getting nervous then. But there are books, which helped and I had my Mom who came around a lot and helped tremendously. The most terrifying moment was when we came home from the hospital and my parents left in the evening. They were coming back the next morning, but Bear and I were left with this helpless 2 day old baby with no idea of what we were doing. I don't think i slept that night or for that first week.

The biggest surprise so far was just how much I love this little person. Like we made an actual person. Daily life with a baby or toddler can be boring, frustrating, annoying, tedious but then I look at her perfect face and her curiosity or she says something and it's just amazing. She wanted me to climb up the chain ladder at the playground today, and I said I can't and she just tells me "poprobuy" (try). She won't accept, "I can't". It's funny every time. She is just amazing. She didn't sleep through the night for like 13 months, but I was just willing to wake up at night and take care of her. Just that protective/nurturing instinct was surprising.

And I get so proud of all the little things she does. When she was 2 months old, she was lying on her stomach and I held up her toy giraffe and she raised her head super high for the first time. And I got so happy. How happy she makes me when I think of her is definitely was not something I was expecting very much - I was never a super emotional person.

My other surprise, I think, is how much easier it has gotten with every year. She's still very demanding obviously, but I preferred her being 1 to being a baby and I definitely prefer her being 2 to being 1 - I love her talking all the time and her ability to tell me what she wants. I thought terrible twos would be terrible but it hasn't been bad at all. She has occasional tantrum but I usually know the cause and don't overreact. But she's on the good schedule so she doesn't tantrum often. I think because I didn't know what I was doing and nursing for over a year, so having to pump when I was at work, and lack of sleep all that made the first year the hardest. I'm hoping the baby stage will be a little easier with the second one, although there will be two of them and that will take some new skills and I have no clue how to cope with that. But I will learn.

Speaking of the second one, if everything will go well, I will have one in June! I'm pregnant! Just officially entering my second trimester (there is a reason I put this question on this date). The last two months were pretty terrible - so much nauseousness. I basically coped by going to bed with Tanya at 8:30pm and sleeping early to avoid the worst of it. It's easing up during the mornings and days, but evenings are still hard. Hopefully, it should taper off now. I would really like my evenings back. I barely see Bear as it is. I really hope everything works out since I really don't want to be pregnant again. Fingers crossed.

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