Friday, December 2, 2011


I have to say that I'm grateful on more than a few levels for how our family was made. Obviously, I'm grateful for my children and for how wonderful our life is right now. The boys are happy and thriving and without too many time outs and knock downs :-P

But other than that...

I'm grateful that I know what it feels like to be infertile, what it feels like to go through legal hoops for a child, what it feels like to have a social worker judge you (harshly), what it feels like to step into a third world orphanage, what it feels like to love a child you didn't birth, what it feels like to be a "billboard" for infertility and adoption on the playground, what it feels like to be stared at, recognized, and talked to more than my friends when in public, and what it feels like to be completely out of order with the normal parenting scheme.

In a way, it's really helped to avoid that whole mompetition thing.

Know what I'm talking about?

Mine's talking first, mine's sleeping through the night, mine's doing this, mine's doing that, and I know for a fact that I'm a "good mom", no, a "better mom" because of this. Ooooooo...

So previous to Paxton, my only interaction with children was my niece and nephews and children I either babysat or watched for parents older than me. We were married at 21 and 23 and our peers hadn't settled down... in fact, a few have recently married and one is expecting his first child soon, but that's it. We're ahead of the game in that way, which is good in a sense since it means we didn't have to spend years watching our peers raise their children while we kept waiting for #1.

But it also means that we had no. clue. what. we. were. doing.

Oh, sure, we'd read up on attachment and we knew the legal process and we had the carseat and all the gear and a stocked fridge, etc.

But we didn't know how to bathe our toddler. Seriously, when we realized we'd had custody for like 5 days and hadn't washed him once we were like "Good Lord, and they're letting us keep him?" We didn't know what portion size to give him, didn't know his likes and dislikes, had no previous relationship with him, no clue about his medical background, birth weight, average bio family height, any talents his first family has. We didn't even know which teeth he had, nor how many we should expect, and yes I actually got b%$&#ed out about this, in front of my kid and the woman's kids, on a playground.

And it stung.

I was a first time mother to a toddler. Other first time mom's had newborns, and mom's of toddlers were so much more aware, so bonded to their children, had two whole years, heck their kid's whole lifetime, to get to know their child.

It was so off.

Bonding was off. Feeding was off. Sleep was off. Potty training was off. Everything was off.

And he's awesome and amazing and intelligent and witty and sweet and people adore him and I adore him and the only thing I would change, if I could, would be that I would hug him and cuddle him even more and not stress about all the stupid things that moms are made to stress about now.

And that's what I'm trying to do with Ambrose.

Who cares when he potty trains?

Who cares when he first walked or how many words he can speak?

Do you need to know how many teeth he has?

And yes, sometimes he'll push a kid down or steal a toy, he's a two year old boy and that's normal.

I hear it on the playground and see it on forums and in articles and comments on articles and, well, it makes me sad a bit.

Because they're babies. Tiny humans growing in the way that their bodies are meant to grow, developing at the speed they are meant to develop at. And they're children, small children, making huge mental leaps already and learning to read or write is really so complicated at first. And their teens, just trying to keep their emotions in check. And they're young adults, trying to balance freedom and responsibility. And their new parents, who are realizing they have no idea what they're doing and falling into the trap of mompetition, comparing their children, bragging when they're children do anything earlier or bigger or easier, as if it's proof of their own success as a parent, and complaining and frustrated and downright worried when they're children aren't the first at anything.

I just have to remind myself that everyone, even the people who brag and lie (and many do) and try to look great, are just trying to do their best.

Also, my kids are cuter. So there. :-P

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Ugh... I don't like the competition either. I have tried to stay out of it. And try never to compare stats, sizes, reading level, hair length, athletic ability, number of American Girl dolls, etc. etc.

A couple of years ago, when Lisa transferred to her current ballet school, the director asked me if I thought she could/should test up to a higher level at some point b/c she had several years experience.

I was like "No. At this time I want her to dance at an age appropriate level w/ her peers. I don't want to push her into thinking she has to be something she's not. Or to make ballet not fun anymore."

The director was shocked. She said mothers are usually bragging about how talented their children are and how they are soooo far above their peers. She said they beg for their daughters to be put into higher levels. She thought it was refreshing to find someone who was not pushing a 6 year old.

I didn't mean to be refreshing... I just don't want to compete in the game... or get my kids involved either.

Great post!