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Worry

When Leebie was first born, I was hit by this constant state of anxiety. I was always worried about something. Was she hungry?  Did she eat too much? Did she eat too little? Was she tired? Did she sleep too much or not enough? Did I sleep enough? Was she gaining weight or losing it? Was she hitting her milestones? It was a completely new and foreign feeling to be so constantly worried over another person’s well-being. I kept thinking that when she gets older and stronger, and not quite so fragile and vulnerable, that I’d worry less about her every waking minute.

Boy was I wrong about that. Now I worry about things that I can’t control. Will she get sick? (We ARE experiencing a weather shift, and it will be getting much, much colder). I worry more because I see what can, and very often does, happen to children of all ages. Splinters, stitches, glue, staples (shudder), broken fingers, toes, arms, and legs. They fall, they get pushed, they get hit, and you can’t watch them ALL the time. What about when they’re at school? And you can’t put them in a bubble either.

They grow up, they become mobile, and they fall. A-LOT. And they bang into things. A-LOT. And then they get bikes, and roller blades, and skateboards, and scooters, and cars (G-d help me). You can’t keep them in helmets and knee pads and seatbelts ALL the time. Can you? Of course these things are bound to happen, they are kids after all, and they’re daring and curious, and all I can hope for is that my kids listen to me better than I listened to my mother and never ride their bike without a helmet.

I promised myself I would never be this person. I would never be this kind of mother. You know the kind I mean. The neurotic ones. The ones who bring their kids in to the doctor for every sniffle and minor cough. The ones who always imagine the worst possible outcomes. But I guess I should know better, this is just me, this is my personality, and at least I can admit it to myself. And isn’t admitting you have a problem the first step to recovery? What else can I do?

Pray.

Milestones

So, the past few weeks have been really exciting for us. We’ve hit some major milestones. The other day as I was leaving for work, I waved bye-bye, and she waved  back! I was stunned, she was actually beginning to communicate back to us and to copy our actions. We’ve since taught her “up,” and my personal favorite, which I taught her just today, “show mommy tongue” where she sticks her tongue out at me (ok, I never claimed to be the world’s best role model). Even more amazing is that she’s started taking her first steps and every day she walks more and more. Of course her tiny little steps maker her look more like a drunken sailor, and she falls more often than not, but I can see her getting stronger everyday.

I’m so proud of all her accomplishments, and the biggest one is yet to come. Leebie’s first birthday next month! I’m completely freaked out about it. She was just born, how could it be a year already? I still remember holding this feather light little girl, and now she’s so heavy I can’t hold her for too long because my arms hurt. And every day she gets cuter and cuter. I’m sure there’s a point where her cuteness plateau’s and she just starts to get obnoxious and bratty, but right now she’s at her peak of cuteness. And every day I love her more.

I’m fortunate enough to have a job where I get to see every stage of life, from 4 days old to 94 years old, and every patient is different and unique, but some stay with you more than others. A patient came in the other day with her 13 month old son, and she said something that really stuck with me. She said, “you can’t imagine how much I love this boy, you can’t know. I love him so much it comes from in here, I feel it in here,” and she pointed to her gut. I don’t have to imagine. I know. And every day that she grows and she reaches new milestones and new stages in life, I love her more.

Mom Licence

Even though I’ve been a mom for almost nine months already(!), and I feel that I’ve settled into the role somewhat, I still can’t believe that the universe thinks its OK for ME to be a mom. It seems like they’re just letting anyone these days be mothers, for example Britney Spears…(need I go on?) I just feel like there should be some kind of screening process or boot camp. If a woman wants to have a baby, she should have to go through some kind of training process. They should lock us in a house with children of various ages, and if we all come out alive a week later, then they can award us some kind of mom licence, expiration date infinity. I definitely think that would give us moms some kind of idea of what were getting ourselves into. It’s not as if babies come with instruction manuals, and for first time moms, it can be extremely shocking and overwhelming. We should at least have some kind of warning of what our futures will look like. I think it would make us better moms in the long run.

While in theory, mom courses might be helpful, in reality, I think its experience that makes us good moms. I like to think of those moments as, “you’re not a mom until…” moments. Like for instance, when my daughter had a dirty diaper which leaked through her clothes, and I had to change her at 4AM and wash her poopy undershirt in the bathroom sink, I thought, “you’re not a mom until you’re washing poop off an undershirt at 4 AM.” Or when I dropped her jar of sweet potato and it shattered all over the floor, and I had to wash it off the walls, I thought, “you’re not a mom until you’re washing sweet potato off the kitchen walls.” While I may wish I was better prepared for these situations, they are important rites of passages that we must go through as mothers so we can be prepared for the really hard stuff, like the teenage years.

As a new mom, the most common words of wisdom I got was, “savor these moments because they pass so quickly.” Of course I thought it was all a bunch of baloney. I thought they were crazy. To me, time was crawling. All I wanted was for her to be a surly teenager already to we could both sleep late again.

In fact, when my daughter was just 2 days old, I looked at my niece who was about 8 months old at the time and said, “how did your mommy make you so big??!” I thought she was so big at the time, and I looked at my tiny little girl and despaired that she would never be as big as her cousin.

But now, I can’t believe that my 8 month old is such a big girl already. Where did this child come from? Just last week I was watching some early home videos and it really hit me then, watching this floppy baby barely able to hold her head up, with her arms and legs waving wildly. She could hardly bat at her toys and even then, she only connected with them about half the time, if she was lucky.

 Now, I’ve got this girl who’s starting to crawl, who sits independently and pulls to stand, and just today starting clapping her hands. These may seem like small accomplishments, but just look at where she started. Pretty soon what they all said will come true. She’ll be a toddler and then a surly teenager before I know it, and I’ll wonder what happened to my sweet little girl whose greatest joy was to play with mommy and daddy when they came home from work. So this is me savoring.

Weekend Mommy

I envy my babysitter. She gets happy, cute, adorable baby, and I get tired, hungry, cranky baby. It’s not fair. I miss my sweet, good-natured little girl. I miss spending the day with her, and playing with her. I miss hearing her little squeals of joy, and seeing her sunny smiles.

That’s why I love the weekends. All cute baby, all the time, and all mine. Even as I write this, said troublemaker is desperately trying to get her tiny little hands on this computer. But when the weekend is over, its back to good baby for the babysitter, and cranky baby for mommy. I feel like a weekend mommy.

 So  I try to get in as many bonding experiences as I can. This week we went for professional portraits. I was a little aprehensive at first because I know my little girl. She doesn’t do well with strange people in strange places (at 7 1/2 months, she’s at that age). But she surprised me. She behaved like a champ, and gave us one of her cutest performances. I was so proud, and I can’t wait to see how the pictures will come out. This was a home run for mommy-baby bonding.

It Gets Better

I love music. I love country, pop, rock, classic rock, classical, etc… I feel that music is modern-day poetry (of course that depends on the kind of music) and can better express my feelings sometimes than I can. So from time to time I will mention songs/music to help me emphasise my pont.

When I first brought my daughter home from the hospital, people kept telling me, “don’t worry it’ll get better,” but of course you feel that it never will. You’ll never sleep again, you’ll always have spit-up stained clothes, you’ll never have time for yourself again.  This song had been released around that time and it said everything I’d been feeling and thinking. This is Darius Rucker’s “It Won’t Be Like This For Long”:

He didn’t have to wake up
He’d been up all night
Layin’ there in bed listenin’
To his new born baby cry
He makes a pot of coffee
He splashes water on his face
His wife gives him a kiss and says
It gonna be OK

It won’t be like this for long
One day we’ll look back laughin’
At the week we brought her home
This phase is gonna fly by
So baby just hold on
‘Cause it won’t be like this for long

Four years later ‘bout 4:30
She’s crawling in their bed
And when he drops her off at preschool
She’s clinging to his leg
The teacher peels her off of him
He says what can I do
She says now don’t you worry
This’ll only last a week or two

It won’t be like this for long
One day soon you’ll drop her off
And she won’t even know you’re gone
This phase is gonna fly by
If you can just hold on
It won’t be like this for long

Some day soon she’ll be a teenager
And at times he’ll think she hates him
Then he’ll walk her down the aisle
And he’ll raise her veil
But right now she’s up and cryin’
And the truth is that he don’t mind
As he kisses her good night
And she says her prayers

He lays down there beside her
‘Til her eyes are finally closed
And just watchin’ her it breaks his heart
Cause he already knows

It won’t be like this for long
One day soon that little girl is gonna be
All grown up and gone
Yeah, this phase is gonna fly by
So, he’s tryin’ to hold on

‘Cause it won’t be like this for long

It won’t be like this for long

It won’t be like this for long

Thank you Mr. Rucker for knowing exactly how I felt and putting into such a beatiful song. Thank for helping me believe that it really would get better, that I really will sleep again, have clean clothes, and free time to myself. And it has. It only gets better and better.

Shots!

So, tomorrow, I’m taking my daughter to the pediatrician to get her 3rd set of shots, and even though it makes me a hypocrite, I must admit that I am feeling extreme trepidation. Why does it make me a hypocrite? Because it’s what I try to convince mothers to do all day.

 I work for my pediatrician, who also happens to be an internist (which makes my job extremely interesting, and noisy), and the community I work in is extremely reluctant when it comes to immunizing their kids. Most of the parents are hesitant to give so many shots at once, or they only want to give what is mandatory for schools, or they only give shots at the latest age possible. You try giving shots to a 6 year old boy, NOT EASY. So I try to keep them up to date, or catch them up if they aren’t. It’s no small or easy task.

My personal belief as to why they are so anti-immunizations, is because we don’t really see the diseases and illnesses that the immunizations protect against. They work very well, and most people have never seen polio or pertussis. The diseases are not real to them, and so they do not scare them. But I know what they are, and they scare me. Sure, I’m afraid to immunize my daughter, because I know better than most what the side effects can be, but like I tell the patient’s, I do it because I love her, and I want to protect her. So I immunize my daughter, but I’m still entitled to be a mom, and this mom is nervous for tomorrow.

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