I wasn’t much for dolls.
I had Barbie dolls and a couple “doll” dolls but I wasn’t the little girl that hauled them everywhere or pretended to be their mom. I gave my Barbie dolls “fashionable” hairdos and outfits and made them career women.
I was very forward thinking for the late 1980s and early 1990s.
I babysat for exactly one child and she was the daughter of a good friend of my family. I started watching her after she could talk and, for the most part, use the toilet on her own.
I’d never changed a diaper. Ever.
I’d never fed a baby a bottle. Ever.
It had been years since I’d held a newborn.
Last October, my husband and I confirmed that we were expecting a baby of our own.
I was going to be a mom.
I’d had an inclining so I stopped on the way home from work to buy a test. When I got home, and I discovered that I’d passed the test, I jumped in my car, drove to the nearest Rite Aid, and bought three more (even though I knew one was enough).
I passed all four.
I told my husband as soon as he hit the door. He hugged me and we were in mutual states of awe and excitement, and together, we called our parents. In hindsight, we should have had a surprise dinner for them, or something with a bit more pizzazz for them, but the giddiness took over. I called my best friend and we squealed in delight. “You’re having a baby!”
I would have hired a plane with a big banner, had that been remotely realistic.
I went to work the next day and immediately told my friend and officemate my news. Then I told everyone else in my office. I ran up the stairs and plunked myself in my department chair’s office and told her.
We made the decision to tell the people that we saw regularly and our families. I also suggested that we keep my pregnancy off “general” social media. This was not because we weren’t excited. On the contrary! I was overjoyed, which was why I didn’t want the input of every person I have ever known. The input I want was from those people that I told, or as we put it “were in the know.”
I started making every decision while considering the tiny person that I had growing. Every day, I got up talking to the small human that we would meet. I ate well. I exercised as much as my body would tolerate. I talked to my belly. I played music for baby’s brain development. I sang. I explained the merits of great literature and punk rock music. I publicly shamed smokers (which I do not do on a regular basis) for being too close to buildings I was entering and exiting. I did it all right. I was determined to be the best mom possible, beginning in utero.
I have loved my baby from the very second I discovered she was a reality.
My daughter entered the world on June 29. She was an eight pound, eleven ounce, miracle. When the nurses put her on my chest and I felt her for the first time, I thought I knew what love meant, but I didn’t have a clue. I only learned in the evening of Thursday, June 29, 2017, when my little girl was placed in my arms. I looked at my husband and knew that I was never going to be the same.
She’s perfect and yet, I check on her all the time. What’s the baby doing (?!) rings in my head all the time. I watch her constantly and look for development every day.
She’s just over a month old and she’s already changed dramatically.
I made her a promise when we brought her home. “If you figure out this baby thing, I’ll figure out the mommy thing. Okay?” I whispered to her as on one of our first days home.
We have it figured out. For the most part.
For the girl that wasn’t into dolls, I am pretty good at onesies.
I can now change a diaper. Today, we had what would classify as a blow out and I giggled and took a picture. Of poop. (I also sent it to my husband with a little pride attached.)
I know how to feed my girl and am appalled that any woman has ever felt shamed for breastfeeding in public.
I watch my parents ease into the role of grandparents like a second skin.
I took 213 photos of her during her first month of life. I have started her baby book and a journal for her, which will be a gift on a milestone birthday, later in life.
My mannerisms change, my language softens, movements become gentler, and I am quieter.
I spent almost $200 on a swing that is the Mercedes Benz of baby soothers. It looks like an amusement park ride for infants.
It’s been six weeks, and I’m putting her first. But that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
I know I had a life before her but it’s hard to remember. I struggle just to recall how I felt in April and May. I am sure I felt like a complete person but I had no idea yet what that meant.
I am watching my little girl right now. She’s asleep in her Benz and it’s swaying her left to right and playing the white noise that she likes. She just ate and I played with her, watching and encouraging her as she kicked at her piano keys and tried to get onto her small knees.
She started the day in a pink stiped onesie, but the aforementioned blow out required a change. We then went to a purple onesie with cute animals on the front. She’s currently on outfit change number two, in one of her Detroit Tiger’s onesies and teal socks.
The love of my life. The Benny to my Jets. The chocolate to my chip. Strawberries on my shortcake.
I don’t know what she’ll become, but I know what she’s made me.
I am so proud of the both of us.
“Here we go toots. It’s you and me.”
And there she goes… smiling at her mommy.
“Sometimes when you pick up your child you can feel the map of your own bones beneath your hands, or smell the scent of your skin in the nape of his neck. This is the most extraordinary thing about motherhood – finding a piece of yourself separate and apart that all the same you could not live without.”-Jodi Picoult