I am not used to having a child that triumphantly declares, “And I make Mama so happy!”
I am used to my older daughter, going her own way, not really responding deeply to the words, “That doesn’t make me happy.” I am used a preschooler who sat in her chair at the dinner table for three HOURS (not exaggerating), staring at a piece of pizza that she refused to eat.
Imagine my surprise that my soon-to-be three-year-old derives deep satisfaction by making his mom happy. Who rejoices in his mom’s approval.
Some kids care about making Mom happy?
So potty training.
The End is nigh, friends. It is so nigh.
I can be totally content doing overnight Pull-Ups until this kid is four.
But I’m beyond done with the constant vigil of diapering a child. For the past seven years, since 2013, since the beginning of Obama’s second term, since the premier of the first Frozen, we have been changing diapers and Pull-Ups and a significant number of those were cloth, which means thousands of loads of laundry.
And for an added bonus, Child # 2 went through about 8 months of on-again-off-again Toddler Diarrhea (for no apparent reason, which resolved seemingly overnight when he was almost 2). I cannot tell you how many times we woke up in the morning (and sometimes in the middle of the night) to a toddler absolutely covered in poop juice. From the back of his head to his toes. Covered.
Child # 2 is the reason we have a Steam Cleaner. And the ability to initiate hazmat protocol at 2:00 a.m. with a toddler screaming less than a foot from our faces. And the reason we probably spent $150 on tubes of diaper cream. (Pro tip for new parents: Resinol. Google it. Buy a lot.)
What I’m saying is… We’ve worked hard for this reprieve.
We were three years into this decade before the biggest memories were made. It’s strange to think about now, but what did we do from 2010-2013? I remember that we traveled to Finland and Maui. We spent a lot of time with friends, cooked a lot of breakfasts…
… and experimented with making prickly pear lemonade and brewing the perfect cup of coffee.
I wasted a lot of time worrying, wondering if I would ever be able to land a full-time job in my field.
And then one day, there was a newborn hand, wrapped around my finger
Maybe you remember something similar
Maybe if you thought hard right now, you remember
That bouncer where they slept, all swaddled, mitted, and capped
The beep of the microwave (tsk-tsk) as you warmed water for a bottle
The smell of Pampers and Similac and detergent
The creaking of the tea kettle as you boiled water at 3:00 a.m.
All the onesies, the bibs, the burp cloths, the swaddles
And all the Googling.
All of the Googling.
Normal baby poop.
Milk allergy in newborn signs
Breastfeeding milk production normal
How to stop breastfeeding
When does a baby start teething?
How old is a 20-pound baby?
Best car seats
What does croup sound like?
Croupvs. whooping cough
Can toddlers get whooping cough if they’re vaccinated?
My toddler won’t chew disorders
How often do toddlers get diarrhea?
Bleeding diaper rash remedies
And then, the Googling stops. Mostly.
One day, you just decide, To hell with it. It is what it is.
You decide the toddler is more like a preschooler and you let him carry scissors around the house, and play with teeny-tiny Legos, and walk around without a Pull-Up on.
You’re on the brink of Life without Diapers, but not there quite yet.
There is Light. A Sweet and Glorious Future beyond the constant wiping of butts.
And you wonder, How did I ever get used to wiping another person’s butt?
That whole area of another human being used to be totally private and off limits. And then, suddenly, you became completely responsible for the care of another human’s butt and genitals.
It was strange.
But so was the feeling of another person growing inside you, jostling your internal organs, barreling through your genitals, and causing your breasts to ache, throb, and leak.
It was all very strange.
How their tiny cries subsided when they smelled your skin, felt your heartbeat, and heard your voice.
You weren’t expecting to be so moved by this. You weren’t prepared for the swallowing of your heart, how the gentle breath of a newborn on your chest could eclipse all the pain, emanating from top to bottom, inside and out.
You weren’t expecting that you could be this utterly exhausted, and still be strong. And still practice patience. And not completely lose your shit while on the brink of sleep-deprived psychosis.
You expected them to be earthquakes in your life, each a great shifting in the plates of your being. You expected there to be changes, fractures, new landmarks, and new paths to chart in their wake.
But you didn’t expect that it would lead you to new beauty.
That it would create new oases, new islands.
And now here we are.
On brink of having a three-year-old and a six-year-old.
My babies are not babies anymore.
They have become tiny people with personalities that converge in some respects and diverge in others.
It goes by so fast, they all said.
Does it really?
There were moments that felt like hours. Times when I, hand-to-God, prayed that we could all survive the Present Moment. If we could just get through this day, everyone alive, it would be a win.
A huge win.
If I could just get to the end of today, when the kid or kids are asleep, I will be okay.
How many more hours until bedtime?
How many more hours until I can go to work and someone else can do all this?
Oh, Sweet Lord, if I have to tell you to eat your food one more time, I’m going to completely lose it.
…And, there it is. I’ve lost it.
The truth is more like, The nights are long, but the years are short.
The last six years of care-taking is settling in on my face, in lines that are not going away and little patches of gray hair that will one day make a magnificent streak (though I’m not ready for that just yet).
At get-togethers and parties, I’m realizing that, Whoa, I’m no longer the youngest adult here anymore.
I’ve been up and down the scale four times in the last 18 years, losing a total of about 130 pounds over the years. So I’m fairly accustomed to the changes that need to be made and the habits that need to be formed in order to be successful at weight loss.
I’m great at commitment. Fantastic, even.
But it’s true what they say about age–the older you get, the harder it is to lose it.
Which is why I’m so damn proud of myself for having reached this goal.
In a future blog post, I’ll go into further detail about how I lost the postpartum weight this time. (Mostly because I’m too overwhelmed with Life and Work right now to do the topic justice. But in time, I will.)
In the meantime…
15 months later
50 pounds lighter than the end of the pregnancy
37 pounds lighter than the beginning of the postpartum period
Now time to lose the last five pounds that I never lost from the first pregnancy.