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They say that you learn something new every day.

On Tuesday I learned that there is no parenting book in the world that prepares you for the sheer terror you feel when your 15-month-old takes a header down the stairs.

My heart rate sped up just typing that sentence.

In that instant, as I saw N lose his balance, tip head first down the (thankfully carpeted) stairs, and hit every step as he log-rolled down, I forgot everything I’d ever been taught about staying calm in a crisis.

I screamed and cried and screamed some more. I’m sure I scared both the dog and the baby (and likely Husband, who was just about to get in the shower). And I ran like hell down the stairs to pick N up and start feeling for broken bones.

Luckily, Husband was right behind me, because my shaky hands and tear-filled eyes were not the most effective at that point.

Now, more than 48 hours later, N is fine. Hell, he was fine less than an hour later, albeit with a Harry Potter-esque scratch on his forehead.

I, however, am still feeling the mom guilt of having that fall happen on my watch. I felt helpless and terrified and panicky. And if I think about it too much, I still feel all of those things.

I was a little worried that N would be scared of the stairs from here on out – I know I’m scared of him on the stairs. But he’s not. In fact, he wants to come down them like a big boy now, holding hands with someone and walking down like a little adult.

Something tells me that there will be more tumbles in our future. I just hope my heart can handle it.

Let’s start with the simple fact that I am not a natural when it comes to golf. Mini-golf has taught me that much. But, I thought to myself, how hard could it be to just go to the driving range and smack the shit out of the ball?

Answer: very.

As part of my 30th birthday weekend, Husband surprised me with plans to do several things that I’d never been able to cross off my past birthday lists – including a trip to the driving range.

We got our clubs and basket of balls, and Husband started giving me simple lessons on stance and swing. “See how my hands are here?” he explained, holding the driver, as I stepped in closer to get a better look. “This is how you want to hold it, and then you bring it back, like this.

*SMACK*

It turns out that I was paying such close attention to how he was holding the club, that it took me by surprise when the end of it crashed into my face.

Luckily, he wasn’t gearing up with full strength, otherwise this fun birthday trip may have ended with broken teeth and a trip to the hospital. As it was, we finished our brief lesson (through tears, on my part), and I finally found out first-hand how unnatural a golf swing feels for me.

drivingrange - terrible swing

Photo courtesy of Husband, naturally

For every decent hit I got (and there were a few), it seemed that I also had a number of bloopers. One blooper in particular dropped barely a foot from where I was standing.

Just go ahead and pick it up,” Husband said. “You can reuse it.

So I did.

And as I was bending down, a baby bee stung me right in the center of my top lip.

In that moment, I realized that I’d forgotten how much a bee sting (baby or not) can hurt. Especially in such a sensitive area. That had already been hit with a golf club.

But after a brief rest and a well-placed ice pack, I was back in the game. And I only asked Husband to make sure my lip wasn’t swelling every other minute or so.

I found my stride toward the end, and hit at least a few balls past the 100-yard mark – a vast improvement from the complete misses and bloopers that I started with. And despite the minor injuries, the outing was ultimately a fun way to celebrate 30. Which is probably why Husband suggested: “Why don’t you take a ball to remember the day?

Oh, baby,” I told him, “after all of this, I really don’t think I’m going to have trouble remembering our trip to the driving range.

It’s all relative

When I was younger – think, about 7 years old or so – I remember taking an acting workshop. Nothing fancy, just a short class one summer at the local community center, most likely. (Mama can fill in the details.)

The point is, I remember one exercise where we had to come up with a character. We had to decide the age, sex, career, mannerisms, etc. of this persona that we were going to portray. When the teachers (who were probably in their early 20s) came around and asked me about my character, I told them, “I’m a middle-aged woman.

So about how old do you think that is?” one of them asked me.

Oh, you know, 30,” I responded, nonchalantly.

I don’t remember the teachers’ reactions, but I have to imagine that it was either a laugh, a groan, or somewhere in between.

I’ve thought about that character exercise a lot in the past few months, for one very specific reason. And that’s because today, according to my younger self, I have officially become middle-aged.

And I’m surprisingly okay with that.

I loved my 20s – a lot of good things happened. But, as with any decade, there were also a number of shitty things, too – things that I’m not sad to leave behind.

I’ve never really been one for dwelling on the past. I do love old stories, and can get nostalgic with the best of them, but more often than not, I focus on what’s ahead.

So in that spirit, I decided it was time for the birthday list to make a comeback – a little 30 for 30 of the non-ESPN variety.

It’s an ambitious list, but it’s worth a shot. I just hope my newly middle-aged body is able to keep up.

I am 29 years old.

I am too old for hickeys.

But apparently, my hungry, teething, 4-month-old did not get that memo.

nicohickey

Thanks a lot, kid.

Note to self: feed him immediately next time.

Road trip conversations

Me: When you see a road labeled “business” what does that mean to you?

Husband: It’s like having a local or express lane.

Me: Right, but which one would it be?

Husband: Local. Why?

Me: Oh…well, in my head, the business lane was always the express lane. Because I always imagined that if you’re on business, you want to get there faster.

Husband: No…[many jokes involving the phrase, “Out of my way! I mean business!”] but I love the way your brain works.

 

And I can’t even blame this one on pregnancy brain.

Well, that went quickly

It seems like one day you’re begging your unborn child to just get out already, and the next you have a 4-month-old who coos and giggles and has newly discovered happy baby pose.

I've yet to capture happy baby pose with the camera. He's too fast!

I’ve yet to capture happy baby pose with the camera. He’s too fast!

 

How does time do that?

After N was born, and I had managed to scrape together more than 20 minutes of sleep at a time, I had all of these blog ideas running through my head:

  • Things I wish I’d known about labor (including how to cope when the epidural wears off before you start pushing)
  • Why “sleep when the baby sleeps” is impossible
  • What to do when strangers reach for your child
  • Pretty much anything about strangers reacting to and asking personal questions about your baby and childbirth

And yet, you’ll notice that there has been complete radio silence since I last posted. Not even a, “Hey! He’s here!” post. Nothing. Because you know what?

This kid is a time-suck.

To be fair, I mean that in the best possible way. Of all the things that I could be spending time on, I love that it’s him. But these past four months have been a complete shift in priorities and time management. They’ve also been an incredible learning experience.

I’ve learned that:

…a 15  minute shower is a luxury.

…baby smiles make everything better.

…when your baby is teething, anything that comes near his mouth is fair game.

…you’ll need at least twice as long as you think you will to get out of the house.

…it’s perfectly normal to go from laughing to crying to laughing in the span of two minutes – both for you and the baby.

…you will get peed on.

…you will get poop on you.

…OxiClean is amazing.

…baby yawns are almost as cute as baby smiles.

…joint baby and puppy naps will melt your heart.

…I wouldn’t change a thing.

mannyniconap

Past due

Dear Baby,

Get out.

I’m sorry, that was rude. You’re new here (or, at least, you will be), so maybe you don’t know the rules yet.

When someone invites you over (with an expected end date), feeds you, houses you, and doesn’t complain (much) when you kick them in the ribs or squeeze their bladder, it’s only polite to leave at the appropriate time.

Maybe you’re nervous about the next steps, or maybe you’re just incredibly comfortable, which is all understandable. And that’s why most hosts, myself included, will be flexible with a day or two.

A full week is pushing it, my friend.

I am tired. I am tired of lugging around 30+ extra pounds, and running out of breath going up and down the stairs.

At this point, I would gladly trade waking up in the middle of the night to feed you, for the current situation of waking up multiple times to pee.

I’d like to be able to stand up from the couch, without needing a nudge from your father.

And I’d love to be able to walk anywhere without waddling.

But mostly, Baby, I just want to meet you. So does Husband; so does Manny, though, in fairness, he might think you’re a toy at first.

See? He's anxiously awaiting your arrival.

See? He’s anxiously awaiting your arrival.

You also have two grandparents already here to meet you, and one on her way shortly. And you do not want to keep any of them waiting.

I know it’s been a long, cold, snowy winter. And maybe you’re just making sure that spring is real before you make your debut. Maybe you’re waiting until the Phillies have a winning record (don’t – we don’t have that long), or until Manny’s birthday, so you can always share a party. (I wouldn’t recommend it, though – he’ll always go after your cake.)

But I want you to know we’re ready for you. As ready as we’ll ever be.

And there are countless friends and family members (pets included) who are also anxious to meet you and sniff you and hold you and love you.

So don’t think of this as an eviction notice, but as a gentle nudge toward the outside world.

I promise it’s not so bad out here.

I already love you,

Mama

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