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Ask Me Anything Meme; Dec 10

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

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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( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
mspeacockwi
Dec. 10th, 2016 10:59 pm (UTC)
I was the same way when I was young. The only thoughts I had about kids were "Yeah, I'd like to have them some day..." and then BOOM! I was pregnant as a teenager and I had absolutely no time to plan anything. My own fault of course but there certainly was no "warm up" period or lovey dovey-ness surrounding planning a pregnancy, etc.

My biggest surprise in regards to parenthood is I can't believe how much love you can have for another human being.

Congrats on your pregnancy! My first trimesters were always horrible. I hope things ease up a bit for you!

I know a lot of parents, me included, think the "terrible twos" really aren't that terrible at all. Three was waaaaay worse for us. Terrible twos, tantrum threes and fuck you fours are just around the corner LOL

Edited at 2016-12-10 11:06 pm (UTC)
bearshorty
Dec. 17th, 2016 05:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Now that I've entered the second trimester it is starting to get much easier - it feels so nice after two months of misery!

LOL I've that about the tantrums of three. And I'm sure it won't be easy with moving and a new sibling. We'll just brace for it!

hamsterwoman
Dec. 11th, 2016 12:00 am (UTC)
First of all, CONGRATULATIONS!!! :DDD -- and heh, you're welcome for the "straight man" question to which to tie this announcement ;)

Second of all, yes to so much of what you say! I also knew I wanted kids in the abstract, but I never actually wanted a BABY. I do have a younger sibling, but I was too young, when he was born, to be interested in him as a baby (or for my parents to let me babysit him when he was very small) -- I played with him when he was in the toddler stage already, so I felt more comfortable with that, but not with any of the infant stuff). And I was the first of my social circle to have a baby, so I didn't even have any friends' babies to practice holding. Even my aunt's baby came after mine!

Like we made an actual person.

This is still occasionally a staggering realization. Nature, man!

and I said I can't and she just tells me "poprobuy"

That is so adorable!

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.

For me it's not happiness exactly, but a feeling of having my emotions so tied up in another person -- the way their joy is contagious and their sadness elicits a huge immediate protective response from me. I've never been a very emotional person, and other people's emotions, even people I really love, don't tend to rock my emotional boat, but with kids it is totally different -- I don't control it at all, and the "ripples" seem to be much bigger than in reaction to my own issues. Which is so weird!

(And there is some kind of rewiring of the brain in this regard, too, because not only was I reacting this was to my own children's problems/happiness, but all of a sudden fictional children in trouble started affecting me much more deeply and very disproportionately. Do you know the "Mama dlya mamontenka" cartoon? I was watching that and bawling over a cartoon mammoth, and that was, like, the apotheosis of this weirdness. Which at first I thought was post-pregnancy/nursing hormones, but it stayed with me after the hormones got flushed out of my system, so apparently this is a permanent change. Presumably so if I were to find a random baby in the forest I would take care of it, since I now know how?)

First year was definitely the hardest (first year with #2 was hard also, though in a different way; although it seems to hold true, per my anecdata, that if you had a baby that didn't sleep well, your second will, and vice versa). We did find the Terrible Threes harder than the terrible twos, which is apparently not uncommon, although in out case there was also the overlap of O entering toddler stage when L was three, and that definitely played a role. But O at three was quite a handful also.

Sorry to hear that first trimester has been rough, but hope the nausea will go away now and you'll have more energy. Fingers crossed for everything to go well for you guys!
bearshorty
Dec. 17th, 2016 05:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

Your question was just perfect not to put on this date!

After I got pregnant the first time (still weird to type that :) ), my own emotions just skyrocketed. I didn't used to cry at the emotional TV moments or commercials - and now I can't help it. And it didn't taper off after nursing, like I thought it would. I agree with you that it is brain rewiring - I know exactly the cartoon you mean and I don't dare rewatch it!.

I heard about Terrible Threes being more terrible and I'm certainly bracing myself for it. Tanya will have to deal with a move to a new place, getting her own room to sleep in, and a baby sibling - I'm sure that would make three even harder.

So far second trimester is proving much better - the nausea has eased and I'm starting to feel better. Thanks!
smittenbyu
Dec. 11th, 2016 12:43 am (UTC)
Congratulations!!! This was such a wonderful post with such a great ending!! sneaky - sneaky - see what you did there!! :P

I never actually ever pictured myself being a parent - of having a child. It was I guess a culturally expected norm? A natural progression in life? A duty to fulfill. So, of course, defiance was my thing and I sat on the other end of NO KIDS! :) Well, how all that changed. And my goodness, you are right how one can be so emotionally attached and completely amazed/stumped that one can create another person!!!

In hindsight, two's weren't so bad - they were just more frustrated they couldn't communicate. Threes were hard and six - OMG - there are days I want to scream. But six is also such a fun age!! Just love it.

Children are also such wonderful teachers!!

Hope you have a better 2nd and third trimester!!! :)
bearshorty
Dec. 17th, 2016 05:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I think every age has its own ups and downs. I'e heard about threes and have no illusions! But I hope for the best! And at least the cuteness helps when I get frustrated. Tanya talks a lot for two years old, she started talking early, so I think her ability to communicate is certainly helpful in avoiding a lot of tantrums but since she's two, listening is not a strong skill set yet!
nightshade1972
Dec. 11th, 2016 02:55 am (UTC)
Congratulations on your pregnancy? Best of luck for an uneventful pregnancy and smooth delivery.

:-)
bearshorty
Dec. 12th, 2016 01:08 am (UTC)
Thank you! We are very happy. And I will take all the luck!
nightshade1972
Dec. 12th, 2016 01:32 am (UTC)
Oops, that should've been an exclamation point, not a question mark. My bad!

:-)
obsidienne
Dec. 11th, 2016 04:14 am (UTC)
Congrats on your second pregnancy! :D
bearshorty
Dec. 12th, 2016 01:07 am (UTC)
Thank you!
qwentoozla
Dec. 11th, 2016 06:08 am (UTC)
Congratulations!!! That's so exciting! I hope the rest of your pregnancy goes smoothly and with less nausea. :)
bearshorty
Dec. 12th, 2016 01:07 am (UTC)
Thank you! I really hope so too!
jenny_evergreen
Dec. 11th, 2016 12:44 pm (UTC)
Congratulations!

I always couldn't wait for my babies to be older. I am in the sweet spot now...8 and 11. It will probably never get better than this, because next is teenagers! But they are boys, so I think it will be less drama and mostly making sure they don't do irreparable damage to anyone or anything while they learn to be adults. :P
bearshorty
Dec. 12th, 2016 01:10 am (UTC)
Sweet spot sounds very lovely. I like reading about your boys, they sound like great kids. Hopefully, they will prove good teenagers too - to the best of teenage ability.
sophiawestern
Dec. 11th, 2016 04:47 pm (UTC)
Congrats!!
bearshorty
Dec. 12th, 2016 01:06 am (UTC)
Thank you!
pax_athena
Dec. 11th, 2016 05:24 pm (UTC)
Congratulations :) So excited for you <3
bearshorty
Dec. 12th, 2016 01:05 am (UTC)
Thank you!
zoefruitcake
Dec. 12th, 2016 04:48 pm (UTC)
Congratulations!

I can't have children, I went through premature menopause in my late 20s and early 30s. I was never keen on having them but I'd changed my mind and that was when I found out it wasn't possible
bearshorty
Dec. 17th, 2016 05:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you.

And I'm very sorry. That must have been hard - I can't even imagine.
frelling_tralk
Dec. 13th, 2016 03:24 pm (UTC)
Congratulations:)
bearshorty
Dec. 17th, 2016 05:30 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )

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