1. After giving birth to your first child you’re not the same you– ever again.
I don’t know what I was expecting, actually I don’t think I thought of this. But from the moment you give birth to your first child, you are not the same person you were even one hour ago. It’s a mysterious process– and it’s final. There is no going back. The person you were before is now gone. She’s been replaced. Instantly and without notice. Or at least you were so busy thinking about how you could get this tiny being out of your hoonie and fast, you just didn’t notice– the previous you has now been replaced. By the next day, you notice it. But she’s long gone now. The New You acts differently. The New You does things like stares a giant pit bull lunging at you and your baby in the eye with a look that says, “You’re about to get a boot to the head if you come any closer Dog,” and means it. The New You would’ve kicked that dog in the face without a moment’s hesitation if it had mistaken your child for its lunch. The Old You would have seen that pit bull coming and gotten out of the way quick! Bye bye Old You, you were lovely, but New You, you rock too!
2. You actually begin to promote ignorance.
It’s an odd moment when you realize that, every chance you get (at least while you’re child is a certain age) you promote ignorance. You think things like, “I don’t even want him to know that is possible yet. The longer I can prevent him from understanding that markers actually make marks, the better.” There were long lists of things, though now I can’t remember what they were, that I didn’t do in front of my son until after someone else showed him. It has a limited time frame, this tactic, and doesn’t work for the second child– but it was extremely useful while it lasted.
3. Repeating yourself about 40,000 times becomes totally normal.
It’s a little irritating at first, but totally necessary. “We eat either in the kitchen or outside,” you hear yourself saying over and over again, removing the toddler with the dripping peach in his hands away from your couch. You have to repeat that rule thousands of times before it actually sinks in. However, then there is the glorious day that you realize that your broken record has been recorded. The child is actually eating only in the kitchen. He knows the rule AND he’s actually following it. Then you have a second child. And the record starts again. But this time you aren’t even annoyed. You repeat things constantly all day long– it’s just part of your routine. You expand your repertoire adding things like, “We don’t take toys away from other people.” And one day after your 150,000 repeat you find yourself thinking, if I repeated something glorious like, “I make so much money!” as many times as I said “We eat in the kitchen or outside,” I would probably be swimming in cash right now. But in truth, you don’t really have time to think about what fantabulous message you would like to give yourself because your daughter is veering toward the ottoman with that smushed banana in her hands.
Once I asked others on my Facebook page what things surprised them about being a mother. I think it was my cousin who answered, “Being able to catch puke in my own hands without vomiting myself.” Blissfully, I haven’t had that experience… yet? But tell me yours, is there anything that surprised you?