This week marks our 6 month anniversary as parents. Holy Hannah, where does the time go?
When people ask what has been the most surprising part of parenthood, I have to say: the mere fact that I love it. That sounds silly, but trust me, no one is more surprised than I am about how much fun I’m having.
I never wanted kids. Ever. Now that we have our 2nd post placement interview safely behind us I feel like I can really say that out loud and not be afraid of the repercussions. I spent 39 years actively not wanting kids.
It wasn't because I didn't like kids...I did. Always have. I worship my friends’ children… think they all hung the moon. But I loved my life. I loved being selfish about MY life. And I’ve never been very good with the whole “forever” concept. Having to do something forever (hence my finding a new job every 4 years or so). Being with someone forever (hence my history of only dating people for 3 years). Living somewhere forever (hence my need to travel and move relatively often). The thought of being a parent…of feeling responsible forever to/for a child did not interest me.
But (you know where this is going don’t you?) all that changed when I meet The Esquire. Ok…not all of it. I did start believing in being with one man forever and a day. But I was still not into having my own kids. Which was a problem because The Esq. is one of those men born to be a father and so early on in our dating life he made it clear that having a family was a deal breaker. So I reluctantly agreed. On the rare occasion when I did ponder having children, I had always assumed it would be through adoption. So we looked into it and decided that yes, our kids were in Ethiopia.
But even as I spent 4 months filling out adoption paperwork, I wasn’t entirely sold on the idea of having kids. And I spent most of the 10 months on the waitlist thinking, ‘how did this happen? I don’t want kids!” But I wanted the call. I wanted to see their faces. I wanted to know who these kids would be. I wanted to see The Esq. with his children. But I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a mom, you know…FOREVER.
So here I am... 6 months into having children that I never wanted.
I would like to take this opportunity and use this very public venue to say for once and for all:
The Esquire was right.
I was wrong.
I was completely, naively, stupidly, wrong and he was 100% right.
Having children is the second greatest thing that has ever happened to me.
I am head over heels, crazy-stupid, playing “In Your Eyes” on my boom box outside their nursery, totally in love with these two little humans. My Children. Just smelling their heads is like drinking the kool-aid every day. I have become one of THOSE parents. The kind of parent who can’t carry on a normal conversation anymore. Instead of asking how my friends are, I spend the whole time saying things like, "Did you see that? How he blew that bubble? Oh, watch this--he drools! Wait--did you see how she did that? How she breathes? In and out, in and out? Amazing!"
My name is Kat and I am obsessed with my children. Please send your 12 step brochures care of Little Ethiopian.
I always said (and totally believed) that my choice to not have kids was just a matter of picking and choosing the kind of life I wanted. If I had kids I would be happy but would have to give up some things. If I didn't have kids I would also be happy but would miss out on some things. No biggie, you pick the kind of life you want most and go forward, right? Wrong. Here’s what I've come to realize in the past 6 months: These kids were not a choice for me. They were a necessity I just didn't know about. They are right up there with food, water and shelter. I honestly do not see how I could have continued living my life without them. In a nutshell--I made plans and God laughed at me.
But the fact that I love being a mom is not the only thing that has caught me off guard these past 6 months. No, I think it’s fair to say that every day has been eye opening for me in every single way. I had no idea…well, about anything really. I mean, you can read and research all you want but until they hand those babies to you it is all just a pile of words. Plus, (and this is a little bit of wisdom for waiting families) I spent my time on the wait list reading stacks of books about trans-racial families and how to talk about adoption, how first graders perceive color and the cultural implications of cornrows. I never once opened a ‘normal’ baby book. So while I was able to talk about race issues with teenagers, I had no idea what or how much to feed 4 month olds!
Here are just a few other things I had no idea about before Aug 25th:
- I had no idea how much fun little babies are…I thought they needed to be older to have personality.
- I had no idea how in love I would be with their fat little wrists. I always thought baby feet were the best, now I realize that’s wrong—it’s their wrists that get you!
- I had no idea how sad I would be every time they outgrew something or how ecstatic I would be at the sight of a first tooth.
- I had no idea how easy it would be put all my focus on the twins; ignoring my husband in the process. Suddenly marriage is a lot more work than it was before.
- On the flip side, I had no idea that I could possibly love The Esq. more until I saw him napping with his son.
- I had no idea that I would begin to question every single decision every single day... should I feed them more or less cereal, should they go to bed earlier, should I wake them from their naps, should I use a regular sippy cup or a straw sippy cup, should they wear socks or not, should we continue to read the same 4 books they love or should we try new ones…
- I had no idea how adept I would become at holding things with my chin or picking things up with my toes.
- I had no idea how small my lap was until two babies both wanted to be in it at the same time. Or the guilt I would feel at not having 4 arms. The guilt…I had NO idea about the guilt.
- I had no idea how freaked out I would be over their first fever.
- I had no idea how much I would miss them when they are asleep (not enough to wake them of course, but enough to go look at them 8 times a night)
- I had no idea of the celebrity-ness of twins when we go out in public.
- I had no idea how fast they grow and change and learn! They are SO SMART it’s scary.
- I had no idea how much I would crave their love or how much I would fear not always having it.
- I had no idea. About anything it seems.
I was clueless. And maybe that’s why the past 6 months have been so amazing and eye opening to me…I was clueless. Ignorance is bliss, that kinda thing.
But I’m learning. I know where Baby Boy’s tickle spot is. I know which foods make Baby Girl gag (anything w/ ground beef). I know Baby Girl likes to sleep flat on her tummy with arms outstretched like she’s flying and Baby Boy likes to sleep on his side with his hands clasped ready to sing a capella. I know they love the lid to the toy cookie jar more than any other toy around. I know Baby Girl likes to sit in my lap to be held whereas Baby Boy likes to stand in my lap leaning into me. I know Baby Boy will automatically try to put any new thing in his mouth but Baby Girl will smell it first. I know that Baby Boy needs a bit of cuddling after a nap but that Baby Girl wants to play immediately. I know the difference in their ‘we want attention’ cry and their ‘we’re hurt’ cry. I know how to help them stop crying. I know them. Or at least I’m beginning to.
Please don’t think this blog is about how perfect my life is. I mean, life is perfect, but perfect does not equal easy. The Wonder Twins may be the two most glorious creatures on the planet, but that doesn’t mean the past 6 months have been all rainbows and sing-alongs. They are babies after all. Two of ‘em. Who left everything they knew to come home with us. There were sleep issues and scheduling issues and now there are teething issues and sibling jealousy issues. Oh, and parasite issues, don’t forget those.
I’m not trying to gloss over anything, it’s just that this particular blog entry isn’t about all that. I wrote this entry for me. To help me remember just how far I’ve come in the past six months (or 39 years depending on how you want to look at it.) To be a reminder that sometimes the very thing you don’t want the most, turns out to be the very thing you need to survive.
Like Meredith on Gray's Anatomy, I've always imagined myself to be all dark and twisty. But it turns out I'm not...at least I'm not anymore. Now I'm crafty and goofy and unbearably sunny. I sing nonsense tunes at the top of my voice as we walk and make zerburt noises in restaurants...anything for a smile or two. Suddenly, my glass is overflowing and that just makes me laugh.
This life that I have now, this crazy, hard, funny, amazing, sleepless, poop-filled life—the very one I ran from for 39 years—has turned out to be way better than I could have ever wished for.
Watching for DaDa to come home.