Friday, August 20, 2010

Dear little shit: Looking forward to someday

What feeling is so nice as a child's hand in yours? So small, so soft and warm, like a kitten huddling in the shelter of your clasp.
Marjorie Holmes

The truth is I didn't want you. Well not you  per se, but children in general. To clarify further, when I was younger I didn't want children. Remind you, I'm the type that started planning my collegiate ambitions when I was 5 so to say that I was young when I started planning did actually mean a bit. As a child, I thought children were gross, babies grosser. Who wants to put up with exploding diapers, runny noses (I could barely tolerate my own runny nose), and the worst criminal act of children--spit up, yuck!

When I started coaching elementary kids in high school, I started to see more of their adorable side. OK, I thought, kids aren't that bad but babies are still gross. The kids were so eager to learn and were so able to learn! Fast forward a few years and there I am standing on a balcony overlooking the San Ramon hills with my pregnant friend Becky and her parasitic baby inside. I never questioned pregnancy before but now, standing there with my friend exhausted all day, everyday, with this life-form inside her getting first dibs at everything she ate, drank, and absorbed, I wondered why women put up with that! A few months later, little Callie was born. She was adorable. I visited the family in Bellevue and watched my friends converse with their little infant using baby sign. I watched her absorb all this information from the outside world: she mimicked her dad use the sign for "more", she watched her mom use a spoon, and best of all, she learned to throw that spoon like dice on a card table just like daddy.

Becky and Daryl were are amazing parents. I questioned my abilities to show a child the world and all the possibilities in the world without also screwing them up irrevocably and irreversibly. I didn't want to be the reason she was in therapy at 42 and blaming me for her neurotic tendencies that left her single and working for the man while struggling to find herself because her mommy made her nuts.

And then came marriage with the baby carriage. Not my baby carriage but 14 carriages, er strollers, filled with other peoples' toddlers. (Correction: I wasn't actually married when I started working at the base daycare. I was desperate for a visa so I wouldn't be deported.) I spent 30 hours a week caring for the angry, the sad, the pitiful, the merciless, and the needy two and three year olds of enlisted military and officers. I cried every other day to Clint. I cried on the inside every other minute. But after a few weeks, I really started to love the little brats. While the CDC managers themselves were insane, I still managed to learn a thing or two about children and utilized the knowledge I gained in a Developmental Psychology class at UC Davis (I should really send that professor a Thank You card). I started to figure out my own way of teaching kids, consoling them, and making them laugh. I was their mom between 6am and 1pm and after an hour of destressing, I would daydream about the mom I would be someday. I started adding names to my list, crossed names off. I saw what some parents did and how that affected their children which led to hours of discussion with Clint on what we would do and what we would not do with you.

Now I daydream about the day there's a little Olivia/Eleanor/Sophie/Peter/Aidan crawling around the floor and figuring out how legs work. While we're not ready yet, just know you were never an accident-we have been planning you for a long time. Know we want what is best for you-we're not trying to make life harder but hoping to make your future easier. Know we are here to answer your questions-and we hope you learn to question and not just memorize our answers. Know that no matter how much your organic bamboo diaper explodes, your nose oozes, and your cries keep us up at night we will always love you... and will get you back for it when you're older and have your own kids.

(Future thanks to the grandmas who will be helping us... xox. And a word of gratitude to the toddlers I got to experiment with.)

1 comment:

  1. Are you trying to tell us something??? Haha, well, you and Natty are next for the little ones, so bonne chance! Hopefully when you do have children, you'll be much closer to friends and family that can take them off your hands for a little while and then hand them back when they are being a pain the a**! Much love and we miss you both!!!