22 Aug 2011, 10:18pm

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A Year of Being Mama

As the final weeks come to a close before my baby’s first birthday, I have been reflecting on what has changed in my life (besides having a baby), what I’ve learned and how I’ve grown by becoming Mama, and what I did and did not expect.  It is a surprising long list, compared to what I thought it would be like last year at this time.

Washing clothes up at our cabin in CO.

Things that have physically changed:

1)  I don’t get nearly as much rest/sleep.  I haven’t held a job since 2008, lived a life of whim, and took naps at random.  Now, I praise God every time my husband suggests I take a nap.

2)  We own a bigger vehicle.  We traded our Honda Element for a Chevy Avalanche.  Not only did we end up with twice the amount of stuff to haul around, but it is REALLY hard to get a car seat in and out of an Element.  Trust me.

3)  My travel necessities have cut themselves in half.  Hair dryer – Nope, Makeup – sometimes, Multiple shoe choices – um, tennis shoes or flip flops.  If I am gone for three days, guess how many outfits I take…4.  One extra in case someone gets stuff on my outfit.  I also only take a small toiletrie bag that holds my toothbrush, a sample size toothpaste, sample perfume, floss, Neosporine,  and perhaps a random item or two.   That’s it.  However, my daughter’s stuff keeps multiplying…and multiplying…

4)  People give us more slack.  Having a baby gets you major brownie points at restaurants (assuming they are kid friendly), the grocery store, and most retail stores.  I couldn’t walk two feet in Coldwater Creek, with my mom and baby, without having someone coo and offer to help me.

5)  I carry a huge diaper bag with a lot of junk in it.  Oh for the days of cute little purses.  I don’t suppose I’ll ever go back there?

6)  My wardrobe is no where near stylish.  I wear jeans and t-shirts almost all of the time.  In the last 6 months I think I have bought maybe 4 new clothing items that would be considered cute by certain crowds.  All of my shopping prowess goes into my daughter or yarn.

Things that I am getting used to:

1)  I do not think I realized that I would be “on call” 24/7.

2)  I am numero uno in my daughter’s life…well I guess it’s a tie with my husband since he is a true co-parent.

3)  I do not know about other babies, but mine wants me there, RIGHT THERE, all the time.  No moving, no yawning, no eyeball rolling.  JUST SIT THERE AND HOLD MY HAND.  I may be slightly exaggerating.

4)  I have a hard time being patient.  While I would say I am much more patient these days than before, it’s still a struggle.  Sometimes I just don’t want to walk up and down the stairs 50 times.

5)  Sometimes I get annoyed by people stopping me and asking, “How old is she?  What is her name?”  Then they want to touch her.  I am sorry, but in this day and age, I am not sure if you’re trying to determine if she is still young enough to steal, or if you just think her cheeks are too sweet.  I have decided I may start making information up.  Is that wrong?

Things that are useful:

Every mom learns something new and wishes on hind sight that she had known it from the beginning.

1)  Pacifiers are not evil…sometimes they are very, very good.  However, I took H’s away at 9 months and have not regretted it for one minute.  Okay, maybe one, but then I got over and and realized that my baby has very pretty lips!

2)  If, like me, you do not want to use a changing table to change diapers, here is a big suggestion.  For at least the first 2 weeks after having your baby, change him/her on the sofa or bed, not the floor.  While it sounds like a great idea to change diapers on the floor, and is after a while, in the beginning it will be hard for you to get down onto the floor and back up off of it.  Not to mention, how to pick up the baby while you’re doing it.  So, do your body a favor and find higher ground.  DO NOT LEAVE THE BABY ALONE THOUGH!

3)  When changing diapers, have a burp rag or paper towels handy.  My baby spit up major time, and I was constantly changing her clothes in the beginning because I wasn’t prepared.

4)  Do not feel guilty if you do not end up nursing your baby, even for one day.  After 6 weeks, H went to formula 24/7.  Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about this.  Sometimes it doesn’t work, or just doesn’t feel right.  That is OKAY!

5)  Sometimes I lick my baby’s face to get it clean.  Just around the mouth.  Yes, I feel like a mama cat, but let’s face it, if she has ice cream on her face I don’t really want to waste it…and she thinks it’s hilarious.  Is it that much different than getting a big sloppy kiss?

6)  I swore up and down that she would not watch TV until she was older.  However, my husband got Looney Tunes for her (the classics) and she LOVES them.  They are a nightly ritual before bed.  And that is okay.

Things that are useless:

In my situation, some of the items we bought/thought we would use, were in fact useless.

1)  My daughter basically skipped baby food.  I wasn’t too keen on the jarred stuff, and making it myself took forever and just didn’t feel rewarding when she drooled it all out, so I just skipped it.  I claimed I would NEVER do this, but I chewed her food for her for the first 4 months I fed her adult food.

2)  H slept in her real crib maybe twice or three times.  Thank goodness it was a free crib!  I wish she would have slept in it, but she just refused to sleep on her own.  We tried everything.  So she slept with us for a while and now she sleeps on a futon mattress on the floor.  She is much happier that way.

3)  She used her cool whale tub for about 6 months.  Now she bathes in the big tub alone…well I don’t leave her by herself.  She couldn’t stand being confined…notice a pattern?  However, the whale tub makes a GREAT toy bin, haha.

4)  When it is REALLY hot outside, H doesn’t wear clothes.  She wears a diaper and that’s it.  I do not take her out in public this way, but she is such a warm body that I can’t make her wear clothes.  I never thought I’d let her do that.

Things that make it all worth while:

1)  She knows the word Mama and uses it at least five times a day.

2)  Peekaboo is awesome.  She really thinks I have disappeared and reappeared magically.  What wonder.

3)  Baby kisses.

4)  Her eyes literally sparkle.  I swear.

5)  She snuggles up in my arms when she is sleepy…and her yawns are priceless.

I am hoping to put up a list of my favorite and most useful baby products in the near future.  In fact, I will promise to have it done next week, assuming nothing super urgent comes up in the meantime.  Here’s hoping!

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