Friday, October 29, 2010

The Box is Always Better

What is it about children and boxes? Maybe it's the unexplored potential for an amazing adventure via the imagination. Maybe it's the idea of being surrounded by something so awesome and big that they feel like for a little while they get to disappear and go anywhere. But throughout the ages, parents have gotten toys for their children and for ages children still eschew the toys in favor of playing with A BOX! I'm sure it's a mystery that has baffled many a mom and dad, but prefer the box they do. I told Chris this year that we should just get the girls a large refrigerator box for Christmas - the squeals of delight would be the best reward ever.

I remember as a young girl playing with Matthew and Meg in a large box that Mom and Jim had let us have (a remnant of some appliance I think). We spent hours coloring it and cutting out windows and a door for it. We loved playing with the box. It was better than tv, or any plain old toys we had then.

All of this got me thinking? What do you wish you had known before becoming a parent?

For me I have to say it was that bonding doesn't happen instantly with your child. It's something that occurs over time while facing the challenge of learning to breastfeed, change diapers, and figuring out how to make your baby laugh. Having been so sick while pregnant with Elizabeth, it meant I had to work a little harder at bonding with her. Something I would never have confessed, except that I had a girlfriend tell me she too had a difficult time bonding with her first child. As time went on, though it happened. Actually it got to the point where I knew what Lizzie needed before she fussed at me. I just knew instinctively what she was in need of and we became so attuned to each other, we even sighed in unison at times. However, when Beka came though, it just happened. She came out and they placed her on my chest. She opened her blue eyes and looked up at me and I was hooked. Maybe because we had yearned and waited for her for so long. I'm sure the fact that I wasn't deathly ill and my labor was shorter, probably helped a lot too.

Things I would share - if you are tough cookie who doesn't like to cry and has defenses up - be ready to kiss them goodbye. I didn't cry a lot before becoming pregnant with Elizabeth, but once the pregnancy hormones kicked in, that was it, I could cry at the drop of a hat. Chris actually blocked the Lifetime Movie Network, because I would watch these awful made for tv movies that would get worked up and worried about a baby being abused, kidnapped, murdered, etc. . . I would come upstairs after watching these movies bawling like an idiot and he'd have to comfort me. Honestly, though if he didn't want me to get upset, then I should never have left the house. I could see a dead kitten and cry. I would watch a sappy romantic movie and cry. I looked a steak, and you guessed it, I cried. I became a weeping machine. I'd cry over being frustrated, I cried when I was angry, when I stubbed my toe, when Chris was exceptionally sweet, heck I cried because I was crying and felt so out of control that it made me cry even more. My mom used to joke that she was a hormone hostage and I finally told her, "You were a hormone hostage, try being a normally calm, rational human being and suddenly you cry over every stupid little thing known to man! If anyone was a hormone hostage, it was me."

I would tell a new mom, to not worry about how clean her house is, the first child and all of it's first's can never be duplicated again. So decide now which is more important, bonding with your kiddo or having an immaculate house. If you've visited my cluttered home, you'll know instantly which one I chose. I wouldn't choose any other way for me. I would say, enjoy all those little things that seem small, but you'll realize later that they were big. And write them down, because you will forget - Mom remembers a lot more about Matt & Meg as babies, than me, of course, I am almost 37 yrs old now, so it's to be understood. But Mom was very good about writing down the little things in our baby books.

I learned in one of my developmental psychology classes that when people grow older they either look back on their lives with regrets or they are happy with the lives they lived. Try to make choices you think won't haunt you. Last but not least, listen to your gut. . . if your instincts tell you something is wrong with your child, go to the pediatrician and get them checked out. There were several times I avoided a serious illness or a hospital stay because I listened to my mom's instincts told me. The times I didn't listen, I wished I had later. Trust me when I tell you that wishing you'd done something differently or that you've failed your child is not an experience I would wish on anyone - even someone I don't like.

I hope you all have a good weekend. God bless you all.
Love In Christ,
Maureen

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