For my Child Starting School

For your first birthday I had a cake decorated to look like your favorite book, because you were my only child and I had all kinds of time for such things. The woman at the bakery asked if I had cried yet over my daughter turning one.

That’s silly, why would I feel sad about you getting older? I thought.

I had yet to learn that the days are long, but the years are short. Now I’m sitting here nursing my third baby who is half of a year; while my middle one yells for more toilet paper and you, my love, are writing all nine letters of your name on the last of said toilet paper in preparation for kindergarten and I simply can no longer wrap my mind around where the time has gone. It’s hard to believe that while you were once inside of my body and I gave you life--you must now go experience a place without me. It feels almost unfair. I know that sounds selfish, but if you choose to become a parent, I am certain one day you’ll understand. I cannot tell you what the passage of these past five years have felt like because that would be like trying to describe the wind--it’s something we cannot see, only feel. And watching you start school I feel so many things.

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I feel curious for the life lessons you will learn that I was not meant to teach you.

I feel scared for things I cannot even type on this page--things so terrifying my breath catches in my throat. If you are there and I am here how would I use my body to shield yours and why do I have to worry about such things?

I feel grateful to leave the phonemic awareness and pencil positioning to the experts, whom I trust completely with your education, with absolutely no teacher there for the paycheck—I need to focus on being your mother.

I feel excited for all that will unfold in front of you that spans beyond the classroom walls. School is a place that unlocks the jungle gym of your mind and explores new vulnerabilities of the heart.

I feel jealous because there will be pieces of your story, I know, you must write alone.

While I’m here feeling all these feelings, I recognize this is not about me and my blubbery tears, it’s about you. And perhaps you may be too young to understand the enormity of these moments, I can see by the crinkle in your forehead your uncertainty of the unknown and I hope I’ve given you enough tools to withstand the weight of it all.

Most of all, I feel nostalgic for the days that it was just us versus the world and now it’s just you out in the world and somehow I already miss you.

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Easy, Baby

There is no so thing as an “easy baby” because raising tiny humans is the hardest job there is. Period. There is only one line in their user manual and it reads: “completely unreasonable”. So this weekend when my cousin with one baby asked how life with three is even humanly possible--I told her having three children is absolutely amazing with one important stipulation: the third baby must love everything. Without this, it would likely be a complete disaster. I recognize by putting this into the universe I am breaking the cardinal rule of motherhood: never speak the good aloud or you forfeit your right to sleep and must do a round of Hand Foot and Mouth as penance—but it must be said: Josephine loves everything. She loves: nursing, vegetables, her sisters singing unreasonably loud 1 mm from her face, pacifiers, no pacifier, sleeping, the front back, her car seat, swimming, baths, and everyone. In a completely unsurprising turn of events yesterday I discovered she loves the swings at the park. The one thing she isn’t fond of are bottles, but even then, she won’t complain about it or cry she will simply eat solid foods and wait without complaint until me and my boobs get home.

Now that mothers everywhere have stopped reading and unfriended me, just know that I know how lucky I am.

I had heard of these mythical unicorn babies before but couldn’t believe they existed or were sure they were exaggerated by delusional, exhausted mothers. After all, I thought Charlotte was a good baby and she had colic for 4 months. Am I being rewarded for having the foreknowledge only acquired through the trial and error of my previous babies? I have absolutely no idea. But I am soaking up every ounce of her little smiling face without ever questioning the magic. Despite her undeniable goodness, you will never hear me call any baby “easy” because the only thing I find simple about raising babies is how easy they are to love.

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The Things We Do

On any given day in parenthood you should consider yourself extremely lucky if you only have to do, ponder, or explain one ridiculous thing. Things, that make you hover above your own body, look down, and go how did I get here? These things include but are not limited to: flushing countless unflushed toilets, locating the tiny hat that Barbie was wearing last Tuesday, making up endless answers to questions because “I don’t know” is not an acceptable response to an inquisitive child. I think the measure of true parenting friendships these days are looking each other dead in the eyes and saying things like, “How do you get your kids to stop leaving used toilet paper all over your house?” And them nodding right along in solidarity while simultaneously adding an Amazon book to your cart entitled, “So You Think You Can Wipe”.

There are so many elements to my day that often feel too silly to be true. We would truly do anything for our children and the proof, as they say, is in the pudding… the pudding I spent 20 minutes making, only for them to decide it’s “too goopy” to eat.

 

1). Hiding every pair of pants and socks they own so my daughters will be forced to wear shorts and sandals in 100-degree heat.

2). Having to convince my 5-year-old that grapes that are “just too squishy” are still edible.

3). Pondering if “where is my _______” were made into a daily drinking game, we would surely die.

4). Claiming that the knobby bone on your ankle that sticks out is there to make you run faster.

5). Fishing a bead out of a toddler’s nose, not once, but twice…in the same day.

6). Calling poison control on 4 separate occasions for the consumption of: deodorant, hand-sanitizer, and dog’s heart-worm medication.

7). Having to Google “where does the baby poop go during pregnancy” because now the kids have me curious.

8). Having a mini-genetics lesson with one child while simultaneously trying to get the other to stop poking the baby inside their matching dimples.

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I thought I’d take a moment to share just a few of these gems, so you know that you are never alone on this amusement park ride called parenthood--with extra emphasis on the amusing.