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Posts Tagged ‘sometimes i wonder how i’m a functioning adult’

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.

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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.

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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.

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I’ve long held the belief that running a marathon is similar to giving birth. And soon enough, I’ll be able to test that theory.

The nerd in me is thrilled.

(You know, in addition to being thrilled about finally meeting my son.)

So far, I can only speak for marathons, but my hypothesis is that the following apply to both scenarios:

  • You prepare for months ahead of time, but when it comes down to race/birth day, it’s all just a crapshoot, dependent on the amount and quality of sleep you got, the weather, your previous meal, the encouraging signs, etc.
  • You push your body to its limits, make it go through a certain amount of pain and agony, and come out with a prize on the other end.
  • There may be blood, chafing, or other bruises.
  • You can’t walk normally for the next few days and yet, when you decide to do it again, you conveniently forget that part.

When I went through my Marathon Maniac phase, I remember finishing the Chicago Marathon, collapsing, and thinking, How the hell am I going to do this again in 3 weeks?

But I did. (And then I did it again.) Because the body is an amazing machine. And somehow, in three weeks, the pain was nothing compared with the adrenaline of crossing the finish line and achieving my goals.

I don’t know what birth is going to be like. Or rather, I don’t know what it’ll be like for me.

I very much doubt that I’ll be willing to do it all over again in just three weeks – never mind the fact that that’s not even possible. But I imagine that, given some time, I’ll forget the pain and only remember the wonder of bringing a little human into the world.

I mean, it’s got to work that way, otherwise there wouldn’t be any younger siblings, right?

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I wish I had recorded this phone conversation and could share it that way, but this is the next best thing. It’s not exactly word-for-word, but it’s pretty damn close.

It all started with me updating my mom on our baby preparation.

Me: And we have an appointment tomorrow to get the car seat inspected.

Mama: You have to get it inspected? Why?

Me: You don’t have to, but to make sure it’s installed right. Make sure it’s not too loose, all of that.

Mama: We never got our car seats inspected. They just trusted we knew how to do it. And you only fell out once.

Me: What? When?

Mama: I don’t know. I was in a hurry. Maybe I didn’t buckle you in right, or maybe the seat was loose. But I noticed eventually when you were on the floor in the backseat.

Me: Oh, good. Was this when you hit the guardrail?

Mama: No, that was a different time. You didn’t fall out then.

***at another point in the conversation***

Me: And we got a mirror so we can see what’s going on with him when he’s in the car seat.

Mama: That’s what the rearview mirror is for.

Me: Yes, but that doesn’t work when they’re rear-facing.

Mama: What?! They’re rear-facing? Since when? And why? How am I supposed to notice when you’re eating pennies or sticking them up your nose?

Me: That’s what the backseat mirror is for!

***and later on, referencing the permanent bump on my head***

Mama: I know when you got that bump.

Me: You told me you weren’t sure.

Mama: Well, it could have been any number of times. You did a lot of face plants, and none of them had to do with a car seat being too loose.

Me: Not even when I fell out?

Mama: You didn’t fall on your head that time.

Me: On that note, I know you have baby gates, so how is it possible that I went down the stairs in my walker? (one of my many face plants)

Mama: I don’t know. Maybe I didn’t put the gate up. Maybe I thought you couldn’t reach it. Or maybe you moved it.

Me: So you underestimated me?

Mama: Constantly.

So I’ve fallen out of my un-inspected, forward-facing car seat, presumably stuck pennies up my nose, done multiple face plants, and removed baby gates from my path. And I’m fine.

I can’t say that I wish these things for my son, but at least I know that he’ll survive.

And we’re still getting the seat inspected.

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For weeks – months, even – everyone has asked me the same question: how are you feeling?

And once I got out of the first trimester, my answer was always the same: I feel surprisingly great!

I could feel myself getting bigger, but I could still see my toes.

I could feel slight aches and pains in my hips, but nothing unbearable.

I could feel my body changing in all sorts of ways, but I could also feel the little human inside of me practicing his tumbling routine, so everything was worth it.

And it’s still worth it, but I don’t feel surprisingly great right now.  Or rather, my teeth don’t.

I’d been warned by friends that babies take calcium, and some women are more prone to cavities and bleeding gums when they’re pregnant. So when my gums started bleeding more during brushing, I accepted that.

I was not, however, prepared for the type of nerve damage that necessitates a root canal. In two teeth.

But that is precisely what happened today.

I have had one root canal in my life, and I barely remember it. But I’m told I gave the dentist a kiss on the way out, so it can’t have been that bad.

There was no kiss today.

There was pain and drilling and numbing and crying (not necessarily in that order). And now there’s the anxious anticipation of the two follow-up appointments, so they can finish what they’ve started.

On the one hand, I’ll be grateful when I can chew again.

On the other, this is really not the way I wanted to start off my week.

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Recently I’ve been wondering where the time has gone.

There were times when it felt like it was taking forever to get pregnant in the first place.

And then, once we found out we were, that first trimester of not making it public seemed to drag on and on. How do you sit on a secret that big?

Then I hit the second trimester, regained some energy, started showing, and found out that the little tumbler inside my belly is a boy. Everything became a little more real, and even more exciting.

But now we have about 11 weeks left, and I’ve entered the freak-out stage.

I’m still excited, don’t get me wrong, but I’m also keenly aware that I will have a human coming out of my body just a little bit later this year. And I (and Husband) will be responsible for his life.

And, as I said to a friend who has two beautiful little girls, despite all my confidence and experience caring for other people’s children, all of a sudden I’m terrified that I’ll do it wrong with my own.

She assured me that babies are tough to mess up, and that parenting is a process, but still I worry.

  • I worry about breastfeeding (especially after reading this article).
  • I worry about having the “right” bottles or diapers or swaddling blankets – none of which I can test out before he gets here.
  • I worry about knowing how to take care of him and making sure we get him to all the appropriate check-ups and appointments.
  • I worry about becoming so sleep-deprived that I can’t focus on conversations, or so consumed that I can’t talk about anything else (kind of like I’m doing now).

I worry about many, many things, and then I worry about more.

But at the end of the conversation, Mom-friend said this:

You just have to come to terms with the fact that something is going to have to give. Your house might not be clean, you might not have clean underwear, and you might have stale bread – but you will have a happy home filled with people you love and so the rest doesn’t matter.

So, for the next 11 weeks, I will attempt to commit that to memory, and try to breathe and stay calm.

And I will also buy extra underwear. Just in case.

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