Thursday, October 6, 2011

in da club. parenthood club, that is...


I find it strange, crazy and hilarious that I am in the parenthood club.    For one, I don't even really like kids.  For two, I did not receive a copy of the handbook.  I like my own kid, and kids I get to know on a one-on-one basis, if they are reasonably well-behaved, but large groups of children in general, I have never really enjoyed.  South African village living did go a long way in changing this fact about me, as I had many enjoyable moments with children there, but had many dreaded moments with the thought of being around children all day long, as well.  And I am a Virgo, which means I like to know the rules, regulations and expectations of any given situation before embarking on membership.  Unfortunately, this club has very few rules, and is really hard to understand the purpose unless one has joined.

One thing I've noticed that is different since joining this club is that I make sure to keep up with other people's kids and their goings-on.  I wasn't very good about doing that before, but now, I see how much a priority one's child becomes in one's life.  For example, I've started keeping track of kids birthdays and plan to send cards or greetings each year, if I cannot attend any functions due to proximity barriers.  I remember my birthdays as a child, and they were always a lot of fun even though they did not usually include friends, but cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents.  We lived near many family members, which made these family parties easy to facilitate.  Once there was a birthday in the park with a pinyata (tilde, where art thou?), a raggedy ann cake my mom made, a Casa Bonita birthday, the list goes on. Anyway, people really shape the life of a child, and I guess I didn't really "get" that until now.

Another thing that's different is that I find things "cute" where I would have sneered or not batted an eye at said things a few months ago.  Such as, my nephew jumping on the bed and my four-week-old son being bounced up and down to mimic his jumping on the bed, too.  Or a newborn flannel shirt.  Or the small, dark watchful eyes of my son.  You get the idea. 

Another thing that really gets me about this whole "parenthood" role is that there need not be fanfare or hullabaloo surrounding the transition into parenthood, especially after pregnancy.  It's just the most natural thing in the world to take care of the thing that was growing inside you, at least that has been my experience.  My friend Barbara said that very thing to me, giving me small snippets of this sage advice as I was preparing for the birth of my child, and she was certainly right on.  Most answers can be derived from instinct.  Those that require outside help can be quickly and easily found if one has a good network in place, and accurate media.  The first few weeks were rough, attributed to the adjustment of mother and child to aspects of our new lives and the rush of hormones that accompanies delivery.  Now, it's pretty gravy, akin to troubleshooting a computer problem.  That cry means something's wrong...hungry, diaper, lonely?  That cry means he is angry.  Gas?  Too long in one locale?  That cry is kind of a fake one...he just wants some cuddle time.  Kind of like, did you plug in the machine?  Did you try restarting the program? 

I've enjoyed taking tons of newborn pictures, sending out birth announcements, comparing baby's body parts to mom and dad to see who he resembles more, trying to keep socks on his feet, figuring out what he likes to do best so he doesn't cry all the time, and my life has been completely consumed by my child.  Instead of this being an inconvenience, or a bigger deal than I expected, it has just been the way it is supposed to be, the next step of the journey.  I wonder how much of this ease comes from biology, and how much can be attributed to conditioning (aka spending time in the Peace Corps)?

1 comment:

  1. Hey Jenn, great to hear from you. Sounds like everything is going fine. Keep up the good work. :-) B