Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Coming of age

On my sixteenth birthday, I unwrapped a pink precious moment's journal a lock and key and it was just the thing to document the new and improved version of myself after turning the sweet One-Six. I had written in the first page,

Dear Diary,

Today was the best day ever! I had the perfect party with balloons, food, and all of my closest friends. I don't think I could have asked for a better birthday and it's perfect because today, I am 16!

Good night,

Ps. I love Eugene (apparently I really loved him because I closed with this one liner every night)

Okay, there wasn't that much dept that came with completing my sixteenth year of life, but I knew that things should be different and I was willing to make it so. I had a pretty sheltered life and I was actually a really nice girl, so I really didn't have too much material for my new precious moment's journal, nor did it require a lock and key. Coming of age doesn't always come with chronological age, but somewhere along your stream of childhood, someone drops a big stone in your water and the flow of your life changes. Sometimes maybe it's just a small pebble, like my first kiss as a junior in high school, which was SO messy and awkward, or the time this kiss turned out to be the biggest heartbreak of my life and made me cry for a whole entire year. But the next year, I found out the college boy I had a crush on actually crushed on me back OR! the time I found out what "morning wood" was as a senior in high school (yeah, I know). Yeah, those were small tiny pebbles, and maybe even just dirt kicked into my stream, but it made me force out of my childhood a little.

There is a big general divide between being a child and being an adult, but in your adulthood, beyond the age of 18, so much happens that most of your coming of age stories are written when you are no longer a child. In some, this is because they never woke to the rest of the world and still are children, only reigning their small worlds where they are the center of their universe. I realize that I have began a new chapter in the book of my coming of age story, because I was forced out of my little universe, where I was the long time ruling princess. Motherhood cures all selfishness and it's something I expectantly waited for a while...on paper, but in reality and in my head, my body, my every day attitude, it was still yet to settle in. Just 4 months after Jude arrived, I am finally accepting the hard change that came so sudden, even though I've been waiting for it for so long. I am selfish with my time and my energy. I like to think, write, sleep, eat in a quiet and elegant pace and not stuff my face while I wipe up food from someone else's face. I like to wake up when I'm ready and have a quiet moment to let the rest of my head to catch up the morning and officially come-to when I have my morning coffee, rather than to be waken every morning at various ungodly times of the A.M. officially coming-to with a whiff of poo poo piercing through my nostrils.

I realized though, when I saw myself chasing Jude around the house and tackling him the ground, tickling him until I got out a good hardy laugh that I so love to hear, this is my life. My friends are constantly finding random food pieces on my Free-People blouse, because it is now a napkin for my drooling boy. I once went grocery shopping, returned library books, and went to the playground to meet my new playground mommies, with an Elmo sticker stuck to the side of my face. Sad to say that I would have never noticed unless Jude, who put it there himself, had noticed it and taken it off my face later that evening while I was feeding him dinner.

Although I did resist the change and maybe I'm trying to keep a little semblance of my free spirited days, there's no hiding or denying that I have crossed the thresh hold of some portal and I'm suddenly somebody's mom. Jude's mom. But I think this is my favorite coming of age story thus far, but I can't wait for the next coming of age moment...hope it's not painful...

Aliens among us

We see them everywhere we go, we make faces at them, we've even held them in our arms, and in a weak moment, dreamed of owning one ourselves. Our parents had them, every generation will expect to walk with them and share meals with them in their homes, we once were these. However, for some unknown reason, we know very little about them until one is yours and you have to keep one alive. When you see one throwing their little bodies across a slippery, hard surface of a target floor, you look into the parents' face only to horror and you think to yourself, how can one allow this to happen? How can a baby rule the life of a fully grown and sometimes mature adult and make such a spectacle of themselves and their baby? Then you walk away shaking your head, vowing never to let such a travesty of child rearing to continue in our home nation when you have a child one day.

Then it happens, you are happily and carefully perusing the air deodorizing isle, when your child begins to wimper in disatisfaction. Something is uncomfortable within him and it must be remedied before it gets out of hand (and that can happen shortly after the first rumblings of trouble, so you must act in haste). I give up my quest for the perfect scent to cover over my home odors (mostly from poopy diapers from the waste basket) for now and I make way to the snack isle to search out a snack both nutritious and tasty, as well as something that doesn't require a spoon and napkins I didn't have. I grab a small one dollar bag of cashews and open it up for him to munch on while I shop (this was an emergency, so I opened before I owned, I would have to pay for the empty bag later).

While making way through the store, I can no longer meander through, the little one is snacking but still not at peace. I try to give him a small book, that ends up on the floor, then I take him out of the cart to let him try out his legs a while, but there, it happens. This is how it happens everyone-without-children-and-past-childless-me. He does not want to be on the floor and this was strike two and sometimes you're lucky you have more than one chance before you're punishment by full out tantrum is your verdict. It could have played in slow motion if I were on a hilarious sitcom featuring a mom trying to survive suburban life with a new baby. The bag of healthy, but tasty snack thrown on down, cashews scattering and sliding down what seemed like miles of target floor, then he goes down in slow motion, careful not to hit his own head on the hard surface. He lets out a scream.

I just stare at him on most days when he does this because I'm just amazed at the brevity of his fuse and how weak the damn walls that hold up his overflowing and raging emotions. Also partly because I don't know what to do. I know that he's a baby and he can't communicate the way he wants, he's frustrated too because I cant understand a damn snippet of gibberish he rattles off all day long and he was hungry. Some days, I want to do the same thing...throw my nuts down on the cold hard floor and just have a good cry because no one understands what I'm trying to get across, so I understand. On the other hand, when I'm in the moment each day with his crazy and terrible little toddler, I wonder how people have more than one child, or how we manage to ever populate the earth. I guess misery loves company and parents need others to be parents with them, or no parent ever wants to admit that they haven't a clue what their child requires. But that's the part that gets me, why are they such aliens when we see these things popping up all over the place! We were all children once, how do we not know how to deal with one?