When I was pregnant, I pictured all of the wonderful things my daughter and I would do together. My mind was full of first steps, cuddles during story time, baking together, dance classes, prom dresses – you know, lovely Hallmark moments. I cheered for her like a crazed twelve year old at a New Kids on the Block concert when she walked at 11 months. We cuddle daily for many stories (some of which she and I have both memorized) and I love to bake her favorite blueberry muffins with her as my trusted sous chef. However, there are many moments I did not imagine and these are the moments that I have come to believe define being a parent. Motherhood is not spun in pink tulle and is certainly not glamorous. Some examples…
My daughter is not a great sleeper, however, she recently moved to a big girl bed and slept through the night for two solid weeks in a row. Two solid weeks of beautiful and uninterrupted sleep. This was a record and my husband and I were finally seeing the light at the end of a very sleep deprived tunnel. Well, we definitely counted our sheep before they hatched because after a terrible nightmare, she became terrified of her room (honestly, who wouldn’t be scared after dreaming about your sound monitors attacking your beloved penguin humidifier?). After much coaxing and lots of convincing, she ventured back to her bed. Bryan and I high fived our awesome parenting skills and then two days later she got sick. I’m talking double ear infection, screaming at night, can’t sleep, sick. Ugh.
Speaking of being sick, in the past three weeks, I have been sneezed upon, coughed upon, and thrown up upon. The best was when my husband just stared at us on the bathroom floor after she threw up in my lap. Just stared at us. For any of you that may someday find yourself in this position, fetching a towel is a nice gesture. In Bryan’s defense, he said that he was waiting for “direction.”
As a grown up, I frequently have ear infections but after three in six months, it was suggested I see an ENT. He asked many questions, reviewed my file, and thoroughly examined my ears and nose. After finding nothing out of the ordinary and declaring that I have excellent eardrums, he asked if my daughter was in daycare. I answered that she attends preschool two mornings a week and has since September. Six months ago. Yep, you guessed it. The lovely germs she is bringing home with her are causing my congestion and subsequent ear infections. Awesome.
I have also found myself doing things around the house that I never imagined. I now routinely vacuum the coffee table because it is the most efficient way to pick up all of the cheerios, pieces of play dough, broken crayons, and other miscellaneous debris. Our mantle looks like the holding ground for the world’s lost and misplaced objects because it is the highest spot to stash items out of Teagan’s reach. On that note, I frequently find strange objects in my purse while out and about – one stray sock, Minnie Mouse’s shoes, a broken barrette. I can only imagine what the sales people think of me while digging for my wallet when Teagan is not with me to prove my ownership over these items is not the beginning stages of hoarding.
But you know what? There is beauty in the sleep deprivation, vomit, ear infections, and random objects because they are real. They are the foundation and substance of daily life as a parent and it would be a shame to miss out on so much. Plus, I still have dance classes and prom dresses to look forward to.