My husband has pretty good fashion sense (he is Italian after all) but he is also a dad, and I am pretty sure that before they give you your Daddy license, they have to make sure that you own a pair of Crocs. How else could you explain the prevalence of this hideously ugly rubber footwear among men who are old enough to know better? Anyway, so Daddy has a pair of Crocs that he wears around the house and to do yard work. Today, we were outside in the garden, and then decided to take a short walk around the hood. Halfway down the street my daughter stops in her tracks, points down at daddy’s shoes and says, “UH OH!” My sentiments exactly, honey.
As soon as I hit the ripe old age of 22, there seemed to be only one thing that anyone could talk about. “So, do you have a boyfriend?” “Why don’t you have a boyfriend?” “When are you going to settle down and get a boyfriend?” “Your dad thinks you’re a lesbian.”
By the time I turned 25, I was so annoyed with all the questions that I finally did get a boyfriend. Then, after about a year or so, the annoying questions started again. “Have you thought about marriage?” “Are you guys going to get married?” “When are you going to get married?” “You are a sinner, living in sin, you unholy slut!!” (ok, that one’s not actually real, but I felt like people were thinking it so it totally counts.)
So, after 4 years, my boyfriend and I were annoyed enough that we did, in fact, get married. But then – surprise, surprise – after 5 whole seconds of being married, the questions started again. “Have you started thinking about a family?” “When are you going to get knocked up?” “Have you started trying?” “You aren’t young anymore, I wouldn’t wait too long.” At 30 years old, me and my dried up old ovaries were doing just fine, thank you.
But finally, to shut up everyone (including my ticking biological clock and my shriveled raisin ovaries) we had a baby. Phew… safe from annoying questions, right? Wrong. After finally slogging through the first amazing, exhausting, awesome, terrible first year, the questions started again. “Have you started thinking about the second one?” “Ready for baby #2?!” “You do want to have more than one, right?” “Put down the wine, coffee and sushi because it’s time to get knocked up again.”
Ok, so here’s the thing. I DO want to have another baby if we can. I have a brother who is 2 and a half years younger than me, and he is amazing. He is my best friend, and even though we spent a LOT of time fighting when we were younger, he has always been my best friend. All of my greatest childhood memories are somehow tied to him. He was my constant playmate, plaything, teammate, opponent, doll, and confidant. Yes, there were times that it was me against him, but most of the time it was me and him against the world. Or at least our parents. I can’t imagine not having him in my life. And so I can’t imagine my daughter not having a sibling in her life.
But… I am scared. I know that I was scared before having my first baby, and that all worked out ok. And I know that there are fears that I had then that I probably won’t have again, like: What if I am not a good mother? What if I don’t like being a mom? What if she doesn’t love me? What if I drop her? What if her swaddle blanket comes unwrapped and chokes her to death? What if I never sleep again? What if she has red hair?! (ps. that fear was actually realized and her red hair is absolutely beautiful!)
But there are some fears that I don’t think will ever go away: What if I never lose all the baby weight? What if I get postpartum depression? How are we going to afford this? What if my baby gets SIDS? What if my baby dies?!
And then there are a brand new set of fears that come with adding a new baby into the mix. First off, there’s the whole pregnancy thing. Been there. Done that. Didn’t like it. Call me an asshole, but the thought of voluntarily being nauseous, uncomfortable, fat, tired, swollen, acne-prone, and emotionally unstable just doesn’t appeal to me. And don’t get me started on the whole no-alcohol, no-caffene thing. As I mom, those two things (plus a
bit ton of chocolate) are sometimes the only things that get me through the day.
And then, after surviving the joys of pregnancy, I actually have the new baby to contend with. Or course, I worry about how tired I am going to be. The never-ending carousel of newborn baby exhaustion is tough enough, but how can I possibly manage doing that while waking up at 6 am every morning to take care of an energetic toddler. An energetic toddler who doesn’t understand that mommy was up all night with the new baby and doesn’t have a single brain cell left in her head to remember all the words to “Itsy-Bitsy-Spider”. (Why oh why do they make these children’s songs so hard!?)
Ok, I know that being tired or being afraid of not losing the baby weight is no reason not to have a baby. If it was, no one would ever have a baby. EVER. I can get over being tired. I can get over stretch marks and saggy boobs and cellulite. What I am most afraid of has more to do with the inconcrete questions about bringing a second child into my household. I am worried about what this will do to my daughter. Will she understand? Will she feel resentful or even angry? Will she feel that we don’t love her as much? How will we have enough time for both of them?
I know that many, many people – including my own parents – have faced these questions and fears, and many, many people have two-plus happy healthy children in their happy healthy families. I know that having more than one child is normal, if not the norm. BUT I haven’t yet revealed my biggest fear. It is not only my biggest fear but my deepest, darkest secret. A secret that I haven’t confessed to anyone yet… not even to myself really. The true reason that I am afraid to have another baby. Deep breath, here goes…
I love my daughter, Lyla, so much. So much that it physically hurts. I love her in a way that I cannot possibly describe (although if you have children you likely know.) I love her, not simply because she is my daughter, but because she is Lyla. I love her in a way that I cannot imagine loving anyone else. Not even another baby. I feel pretty positive that there is no way I could ever love anyone as much as I love her. You see, I was never really a kid person. But then I had Lyla, and she is so wonderful that she can turn even an angry, drunk, homeless man into a kid person (true story.) I worry that if she wasn’t so sweet, funny, charming and relatively easy, that I wouldn’t love her as much. And I am terrified that if the second baby is a crier or doesn’t sleep or doesn’t eat or is sick or even if he or she just isn’t Lyla, that I won’t love him or her as much. And it makes me feel like a horrible person. And it makes me feel really scared.
I suspect that it is the same as the way that no one can tell you how truly amazing it is to have a child until you have one of your own. I assume that no one can tell me how I much I will unconditionally love another child, until I find out for myself. Odds are good that I will love a second baby as much as the first. But it seems a pretty big gamble, and I have never been a gambling woman. Hell, I only play the penny slots in Vegas… and there’s a lot more than 100 pennies at stake here.
To spawn or not to spawn… that is the question.
That is question that keeps me awake at night sometimes.
But I guess, it might be time to roll the dice.
Like the title says… Life is funny. And I don’t just mean 10,000-forks-when-all-you-need-is-a-knife-isn’t-it-ironic-funny, I mean Gut-busting, Mind-blowing, Pants-Wetting FUNNY. So go ahead and laugh. If you can manage to do that, your life will improve 10,000%. I money-back guarantee it. And if it doesn’t… you know where to find me.
ps. I don’t have any money
**photo credit: someecards.com
Not to brag… ok, who am I kidding, this is totally bragging… but I have been awarded FOUR different blogging awards. However, due to circumstances beyond my control… like illnesses, vacations, and – let’s just face it – my own laziness, I have taken a long time to formally recognize most of these. But make no mistake, it is not because I am not thrilled to have gotten them. I am honored to have received all of them, not just because it is amazing to me that anyone reads my simple little no-frills blog (although I am working on some frills for you all…more on that to come) but because the nominations came from bloggers who I truly respect.
Awards aside, it is always wonderful to hear from friends, strangers, followers and even some unexpected people how much you enjoy my blog or how a certain post really resonated with you. I truly relish all of the comments, likes, shares, retweets, and the recounting of your own personal stories and experiences. At the end of the day, that’s what writing this blog is all about for me: the connections and the community. Parenting can be an isolating experience sometimes, and this blog is my way of reaching out to all of you – to let you know that you are not alone and to remind myself that I am not alone either.
So keep it coming! If you like or dislike, agree or disagree with something I am writing about, then please tell me. If you know someone who you think might appreciate this blog, then please share it with them. If I write something that particularly speaks to you, please share it with your own audience.
In the spirit of this amazing blogging community and also partially due to my aforementioned laziness, I have decided to formally recognize the blogging awards I have received by creating an Award of my own. I am not sure if this is allowed, but this is my blog, hence my world and I make the rules… so by the power vested in me, I now pronounce the importance of a very important award, for better or for worse, and uh for.. ever. I now present:
The Saggy Award for General Awesomeness!
The Saggy Award for General Awesomeness would like to recognize the General Awesomeness of the following blogs:
Mommy On The Go In Holy Toledo Thank you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award
Up With The Chickens Thank you for the Kreative Blogger Award!
Unfinishedbizness Thank you for the Sunshine Blogger Award!
Structure In An Unstructured Life Thank you for the Reader Appreciation Award!
Totally check out their Generally Awesome Blogs. Totally.
These blogs are also Generally Awesome in totally different ways:
The rules for this award are simple.
1) Accept the fact that you are pretty much the bee’s knees aka Totally Fucking Awesome.
2) Celebrate your Awesomeness in any manner you deem fit (I personally recommend a bottle of Cabernet and a tub of vanilla frosting but to each her own)
3) If you are so inclined, share this General Awesomeness with your readers and inform them of some other blogs you that find Awesome. That’s it.
Congrats to all the Awesome people and thank you everyone for reading.
Her Saggyness (Courtney)
I just wanted to let you all know that Lyla is recovered and seems to be back to normal…well, as normal as a one-year-old can be. Mostly I wanted to thank you all for your concern, well-wishes, thoughts and messages, as well as the sharing of your own personal stories, experiences and worries. It meant a lot and reading them helped me get through a LONG week.
But Lyla is recovered and back to confusing and terrifying me in new ways and I am done stressing about this illness… and on to stressing about everything else.
Full Disclosure: After being quarantined inside the house for 4 days due to my daughter having highly contagious HFMD and ridiculous temperatures, I started to go slightly crazy. Please bear with me during this low period, and I apologize in advance.
My daughter is not quite a year-and-a-half so she is not really into TV, besides the fact that I don’t like the idea of her watching TV too much. However, I am a true believer that sometimes parents do what they have to do to survive the day, and to survive 4 days cooped up in the house with a rambunctious 16-month-old, I turned to TV. One of my friends said that she sometimes lets her daughter watch “Dora the Explorer” because it is educational, so in a moment of pure desperation, I decided to give it a try. Lyla seemed to like it… for about 5 minutes. But anything that can get her to sit down for 5 minutes is a success in my book. But long after Lyla had already moved on to 3 other activities, I continued to watch the intriguing Dora. Here’s my conclusion: Educational? Yes, I guess. I like that there is a multilingual heroine on American TV. Especially since I hope that my daughter will be multilingual (my husband speaks Italian to her.)
Ok, so Dora is pretty cool in my book, but this entire opening now leads me to the random thought that has plagued me since I started watching and I just can’t get over…
Just how old is Dora and why do her parents let her roam around the countryside, “exploring” with just a boots-wearing monkey to chaperone? She hitchhikes… and although she does wear her seat-belt, in California I think kids need a booster seat until they are nine. She attends dubious fiestas at the Big Red Chicken’s house (never trust anybody whose name begins with BIG). And she gets around town with the help of a singing map. At least get the kid a GPS or a Smart Phone. Sheesh!
Ok… so now you have a little insight into the places my brain goes when I haven’t had proper adult interaction in nearly a week. It’s a dark place, and I apologize.
On the crazy up-and-down, round-and-round carousal that is parenthood, of course a fun and laughter-filled weekend with friends and family would be followed by illness. I found out yesterday that my daughter has Hand, Foot and Mouth disease. Huh? Although many people, me included, would I argue that I have a perpetual case of Foot-in-Mouth Disease, I had never heard of HFMD until yesterday. It sounds pretty damn gross, but it actually sounds much worse than it is. It is a viral illness with the primary symptoms being blister-like sores all over the body but concentrated around the hands, feet and mouth… ok that is pretty gross… and a high fever. And when I say high, I am talking Snoop Dogg hotboxing with Willie Nelson high – my daughter hit 104.5 last night. The good news is that the fever does come down with medicine, as well as scream-and-cry inducing cool baths; the bad news is that it doesn’t seem like good news at 3 am when her fever has shot back through the roof.
There is nothing worse than when your child is sick. It is not just how horrible you feel for them, but how totally helpless it makes you feel. You can have a medicine cabinet stocked full of anything your child might need, you can have your doctor on speed-dial, you can read books, websites, medical-journals, mommy blogs, and doctor advice sites. You can prepare for the worst, but nothing can prepare you for IT – for that feeling that nothing is really in your hands. Not even your child’s life. And nothing can prepare you for how insignificant that makes you feel.
I wonder if it ever goes away – the worry, the heartache, the pain of watching your children suffer without being able to do anything. I think not. I guess I hope not… I wonder what it would mean if it did.
“A two-year old is kind of like having a blender, but you don’t have a top for it.”
~ Jerry Seinfeld
Me and my kitchen floor agree wholeheartedly. = )
Since becoming a parent 16 months ago, I have done many things that I thought I would NEVER do. I have nonchalantly wiped my daughter’s poop from my forehead, licked a kleenex and then used it to wipe her face, picked up a cracker that she threw on the floor and then gave it back to her to eat (hey, it was the last one!), let her run around with a watermelon-stained shirt for hours because I was too tired to change it and knew it would only get dirty again, and let myself run around in a vomit-stained shirt for hours because I was too tired to change it and knew it would only get dirty again… just to name a few NEVERs.
Although I have learned to never say never, the truth is that before becoming a parent, I have never been so tired. I have never been so ungroomed, disorganized, forgetful, weepy, or tired… did I mention tired? I have never gone so long without seeing or at least talking to many of my friends. I have never gone so long without seeing an adult-sized human. I have never gone so long without getting my hair highlighted, shaving my legs, putting on make-up or even showering. I have never gone so long while sleeping so little. That is the truth.
But I have never, ever laughed so much, loved so hard, or felt so happy. And somehow (in a way that I think you have to be a parent to understand) this love and laughter far outweighs a little vomit and sleep deprivation.
The truth about parenting is that it is a math equation that doesn’t add up, but somehow works anyway.
Happiness is… my daughter waking up and immediately wanting to start a dance party. 7 am might be a bit early for dancing in your house, but not in mine! After a couple of nights of my own insomnia and a few rough nights for my teething daughter (including this mornings 4 am original wake-up call) I was dragging ass this am, sure that it was going to be a rough day. But my daughter’s sweet smile and booty shaking to “Call Me Maybe” (her choice, but how could I argue?) turned the whole day around for me. Now I am in a great mood and in turn having a great day.
Lesson: Start your day with a smile and a little bump n’ grind, and never have a bad day again.