Tuesday, July 17, 2007

We vowed we wouldn't change when we had a kid - so what changed?

Before we had Astrid, U. and I vowed that we wouldn't let our life change after we had a baby. We would still go out (we would not become hermits), we'd still keep up to date with everything (you wouldn't see me regressing back to the point where all I could talk about was Sesame Street, and I wouldn't be caught dead in mom jeans), we'd still travel around the world, and our lives would not revolve around the baby.

I think we did pretty well on several fronts, (the best we could do under the circumstances), but still there's no denying that our lives HAVE changed.

Even if you removed all the baby junk from our home, you'd still know we had a kid by a few telltale signs:
  • Finding a wooden block in your shoes (that is if you can find the other shoe)
  • Teeth marks in the soap
  • All the stuff on the bathroom counter placed on one side of the sink (out of the kid's reach)
  • When U. stubs his toe he bites his lip and tries his best not to use any profanity.
  • We eat healthier (even sometimes eating the kids snacks and cereal - hey it's good!) We have tons of fresh fruit and boiled eggs.
  • We spell out words we don't want the baby to hear (like "swim" - b/c all the kid wants to do is go swimming and we can't always go).
  • We've become more PC. I made the mistake of telling Astrid the word for "boob" when she pointed to mine and asked what it was and ever since have been trying to get her to forget the word. (She thinks it's hilarious especially since she figured out she has "boobs" too and wants to repeat it over and over again.) Now I say "chest". And when I heard her say "kaka" (which I think she must have gotten from the nanny b/c neither U. or I use that word) it was like hearing her say a vile four letter word.
  • Our days revolve around her nap and bedtime schedule.
  • Our lives are more tame. (You can party like a rock star if you can get up at the crack of dawn to take care of a demanding toddler. Not!)
  • Even when we try not to talk about the baby, we still find a way to talk about the baby.
  • We use Tupperware.
  • We can't imagine a world without her in it.
Before you declare us big ole saps - I'm about to get even more sentimental.

About a month ago U. and I were at a wine tasting chatting about - what else - Astrid. And U. started to tell me about this article he read about how parents are now spending some quality time with their adult kids before they embark on a big life change - like marriage. I thought this was a great idea, all 3 of us could get away for a great vacation and each spend time with Astrid.

But U. corrected me - he was going to spend time alone with Astrid. Meaning a father/daughter vacation. As he put it - "long enough for both of us to get on each other's nerves so we can get real - and can get really close". He reassured me that I could have my own mother/daughter vacation with her.

Just the thought of Astrid growing up and moving away from home brought tears to my eyes. "I don't want her to leave us," I said through the lump in my throat. Here she is only 2 years old and although sometimes I do wish for a break to have time to myself -when the day comes that she does leave the nest, I already know I will be a weeping wreck. I surprised myself by how deep my emotions run there and how attached and invested I am in her already that I can't imagine her being away from me.

Unlike me, U. said he's looking forward to being an empty-nester so we can travel more and have less responsibilities. If you look at it that way, there are benefits. But I'm also realistic and I can already see U. sobbing when she leaves (but then partying it up a few weeks later in some foreign land).

The great thing about being parents is that you both balance each other out. When we started putting Astrid to bed in her crib - I was the one who was adamant about it (U. couldn't bear to see his little baby in that big crib all by herself) - but it broke my heart to hear her cry, and U. told me to wait 5 minutes and then 10 minutes, and assured me she was fine and would fall asleep shortly - which she did.

We talked about how when she's older she will know which parent to go to, to get her way. How it's important for us to show a united front together, but then for both of us to discuss issues behind closed doors. I said I know I'm going to be the one to "persuade" U. to let her date. U. agreed that he's going to be the much stricter one. But hold on a sec. There are some things I know I'm going to be the stricter of the two, and he's going to be a push over. One of them being gadgets.

See my husband is a gadget guy. I can see Astrid going to him asking for money to buy an expensive electronic device and U. not being able to say "no". When I mentioned this to U. he agreed wholeheartedly by saying, "Exactly. When she comes to tell me about some really cool gadget I'll say - don't get one; get two so I can have one too!" Hahah.

It's a gift to have a child. A real gift. I feel really proud of what U. and I have accomplished this far as parents. We're raising a beautiful little girl who makes the world a more special place. Yeah we've changed - it was unexpected (the life change part that is - not her - she was planned) - but we're doing our best - trying to laugh through the hard parts - enjoying the good parts - and cherishing the entire experience.


Amy said...

I left a comment on someone else's blog about a wedding I went to this weekend. I'm a BIG sap at weddings and always cry, but the last two I've been to, I noticed something different. In the past, I've always imagined myself in the place of the bride and think back to my own nuptials and what a happy occasion it was--hence the tears. Now, I think about what it must feel like for those parents to be letting their children go. I probably cry harder now.

Peter said...

There is no denying that having a kid totaly changes us, hopefully to the better. We cannot imagine life without the kid anymore and wonder sometimes 'what have we done before?' ... And yes, life revolves around the kid and it does a great job playing each parent against the other :)