Posts Tagged ‘ parenting ’

One Reason to Have Another Baby

Friday, November 16th, 2012

When I was a young, lazy thing, loathing my daily chores, I was certain my mom had kids just so she wouldn’t have to do as much work (mothers everywhere are laughing at my stupidity). I envisioned the day I’d have a gaggle of whippersnappers to do my bidding while I sat on the couch, ate bonbons and watched my progrums. Not that my mom did any of that, but as a young lady who wanted to be of leisure, I dreamt big. Oh how much I thought I knew, but really did not know in adolescence.

One of the biggest motivating factors to have another child was to give our daughter a sibling. My husband might tell a different tale of my incurable baby fever with the only prescription being more babies, but this is my account and baby fever was only moderately responsible for our decision.

Really, it’s because with all my heart, I believe in siblings. But not because of the fictional Cinderella syndrome I had when I was younger. It’s because family makes you better.

It’s not that I think singletons are at a disadvantage. I know families come in all shapes and sizes but for me, family means siblings and chaos and noise. There are 8 kids in my family (pick your jaw up off the floor). I have learned from them that there is an unbelievable bond in sharing a childhood with others who were raised under the same roof and turn out so alike and yet, so different. I love my big, fat, crazy-opinionated family. Not to mention, it’s really comforting knowing there are others who share my idiosyncrasies and don’t judge me for picking my nose. Or at least have stopped calling me out on it.

I believe there are character building attributes learned best in the trenches of sibling-hood. I know my brother and sisters have made me a better person and I want to give my daughter the same chance of betterment from her familia. I have learned a plethora of things from my near baseball team number of siblings, but here’s a few of the more noteworthy lessons.

Things I’ve Learned from my Siblings:

1. Trust. Nothing teaches the value of trust like the battlegrounds of sibling rivalry. When you see one sister feeding another sister lotion, claiming it’s vanilla pudding, you learn very quickly what the word trust means. Also, a secondary lesson about the actual color of vanilla pudding.

2. Forgiveness. A good follow-up to trust, I learned quickly to forgive, and that perhaps forgiveness may not mean forgetting and possessing a wariness of vanilla pudding for the remainder of your life. In addition, I know I did things everyday to tee off my siblings. I am no saint, but to this day, despite the bickering, we’re all really great friends. Even the sister whose cheeks I grabbed in jest right after she had her wisdom teeth removed. It might have taken some groveling, and she may still keep her cheeks far from striking distance, but I’d say we’ve let bygones be bygones. Right? Seester?

3. Sharing. When 7 out of 8 of your siblings are girls, that means closets. Well, hopefully, if they’re sharers. Right now I force sharing upon my daughter because it makes her a better, more generous member of society, but also for my sisterly sharing clothes days of yore. I want her to be the one who generously opens her closet to her baby sister (my young teenage dream). I mean no one wants to be known as the stingy sister. I know I wasn’t the stingy one because I was the one forcing my sisters to say it was MY item of clothing if they got any sort of compliment about it. Yep, I was that sister. At least I shared?

4. Empathy. Heartbreak, breakouts, parental drama, siblings have been there. They get it. They know why curfew is impossible to keep and agree that your mom is the only mom sleeping in your bed until you get home from a late night out. Enter exasperated sigh. They feel for you differently than your friends because they have lived with your parents too.

Years later, they are also the same people with whom you’ll discuss how smart your mom was for sleeping in your aforementioned bed and you’ll simultaneously rack your brains to remember all of your parents’ other stellar tricks now that you’re a parent.

5. Unconditional Love. Perfect is most definitely not anyone’s middle name. Especially for me. I get a little too cutthroat at board games, I don’t always think before I speak, I sucked my thumb until I was 14, and I had 1980s bangs until the year 2000. Even though I wish my siblings had told me sooner about my bangs faux pas, I knew they unconditionally loved me for me; the big banged, bucked tooth, thumb sucking, awkward tween.

I am still honing the above characteristics, but I’m grateful for the jump start my siblings gave me. Learning and growing with those who share the same DNA and quirks makes life infinitely better. And if for some reason I totally flub these lessons for my girls, at the very least they’ll have someone else to complain to about me.

Image: My mama and some of my siblings

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To Keep a Baby Forever: The Moment I Found Out I Was Pregnant

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

I sat alone in the bathroom during the bright but chilly dawn of an usually cold June morning, surreptitiously awaiting the results of a pregnancy test. My period was late. My stomach was bloated with more than just a food baby, and my boobs were as sore as if I’d finally had them done after years of talking about it. There was no denying these tell tale signs. But there I sat, unglamorously, humbly, obediently waiting. A Cheshire Cat grin crept across my face as the two little lines intersected into a positive plus sign, confirming what I knew.

I very much regret being alone when I found out I was pregnant. I count it as my first with you, new baby, in the slew of regrets that holds hands with parenthood.

I snuck a pregnancy test on a quick trip home to see my parents that your dad couldn’t make. It coincided with the earliest I could find out. Patience is not my best virtue. I needed dollar store pregnancy test proof that this wasn’t just a wish that my heart made. But I regret that I didn’t have your dad there to immediately share our secret. I missed running into our bedroom at an ungodly hour, like I’d done with our first pregnancy, shouting the news and seeing his joy. I didn’t want to text him. It seemed too Teen Mom. Too impersonal for something so grand.

But regret eased as elation took me by surprise. I knew I wanted to be pregnant. I knew I wanted another baby more than anything in the world, but I didn’t know if it would feel just as moving, just as thrilling as the first time I found out. I was terrified it would lack the first kiss-type thrill of my previous pregnancy. I half expected, and prepped myself for the surge of panic regarding the impending sleepless nights, inconsolable crying, painful engorgement, projectile vomit, breastfeeding stress, and mesh hospital panties that accompany new babies. It didn’t come.

Instead, I stared down and felt certain that there are few signs in life sweeter than the plus of a positive pregnancy test. Those intersecting lines mark the crossing of two lives that are inextricably linked for the good, the bad, and the heart-wrenching. Regardless of when either of those lives ends, they cross forever.

I stared at those lines and prayed that they crossed for a long and healthy life, and not in a few short, nerve-wracking first trimester weeks.

I wistfully thought of the hundreds of lines they represent and we’ll cross with you new baby: The line into parenting two children, the line at the front door when we first bring you home, waiting for the school bus lines, everyday grocery shopping lines. And the bigger lines: The cruelty of others, heartbreaks,  disappointments, mistakes, successes, loves, leaving home, the millions of lines that make up this crazy but beautiful life. And as I looked at those lines that I needed so badly to confirm my tell-tale pregnancy symptoms, I didn’t feel a twinge of nerves, just unadulterated joy.

I can’t wait to be a mom again, your mom, to keep another baby forever.

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