January 6, 2011

Bittersweet...Another Life Lesson

Well after 7 months of being with Brandon every day until October when it went down to 3 days a week…our time together will come to an end as today is my last day with him. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better baby to watch. As a newborn, he didn’t really sleep, he’d take short little cat naps so it was a LOT of time spent playing with him but even with what I thought was lack of sleep, he was ALWAYS smiley. Now that Brandon is 10 months old he still rarely takes long naps…they’re usually pretty short, about a half hour each. He’s super smiley, a great eater, and is just all around perfect. I feel like I have learned so much about parenthood in this experience. When I first took the job I couldn’t really figure out why this all came to me, I didn’t necessarily want to work full time knowing I was taking classes in the summer full time and planning a wedding, along with all the other summer activities that come with living in Chicago. But I really believe this was all part of God’s plan in slowing me down with life and helping me to appreciate the “here and now.” Right after Jason and I were married, I immediately felt like it was time to start having babies and that we were already so far behind, but by spending every day with Brandon I’ve realized how difficult parenting is, (and he is an easy baby!) plus I get to go home every night and sleep ALL night waking up refreshed every day. It didn’t help that facebook was really starting to get to me. Every time I checked it, someone my age was pregnant, another was revealing the sex of their baby, or someone would be expecting twins, or there would be a post about their baby cutting his/her first tooth, the first time they rolled over, took their first step, another’s baby is going to kindergarten or some are entering their first year of high school, another was complaining about having to work instead of being home with their newborn. Whatever it was, I was feeling the pressure and felt like I was SO LATE in the world of kids. When I took the time to think about it, it was comforting to realize that plenty (most) of my friends aren’t married and aren’t having kids yet. All along, God has had a different plan for me and marriage and I want to go with that plan. I want to spend this time with Jason getting to know him as my husband and time learning how to be a good wife. I’m quickly learning what everyone meant when they told me the first year (or five) of marriage are the hardest and require a lot of compromises, and I want to spend the right amount of time figuring us out as a couple before brining kids into it. While I have always known that babies are a ton of work, I really believe that God put Brandon in my life to show me just how much work they are. I won’t know exactly the amount of work until I have them myself and haven’t slept in weeks or months but this opportunity was a great eye-opener of how your life is completely taken over by your children’s needs and wants. I think that now that Jason and I are spending time on “us” and learning each other, we’ll be much better equipped when it’s our turn to be pregnant and have our first baby, and that time isn’t today or as I thought…months ago. This experience has also helped me to form better opinions on all things baby. Now that I’ve been around it, I have more thoughts of my own on things like baby carriers, diaper brands and cloth vs. disposable, car seats, breast feeding or formula, and which brand formula, bottle warmers, swings, diaper genies, strollers, high chairs, bottle nipples, bouncers, organic baby food, sleep training, TV vs no TV, diaper bags, bumbos, and the list goes on. It makes me very excited for when I do have kids and get to experience it all as a first time mom! With Brandon, though he was an awesome baby, he's still a baby...I still had issues with him not wanting to eat at certain times, him crying when I had no idea why, days when naps were impossible, even when he was clearly exhausted, the car seat that he arches his back and doesn’t want to go into. The closest to a “mom” feeling was this past Tuesday. It was my first day back to work after a week off for the holidays and obviously my last week here. For the baby that never sleeps, it seemed to be all Brandon wanted to do. He slept for almost 3 hours and then when he woke up it wasn’t even an hour later that he was falling asleep while playing. After another 2 ½ hours of sleep he finally woke up. His parents thought he was just going to give me an easy last week. When he woke up I gave him his bottle and then some solid food, it wasn’t much longer before he had thrown up his whole bottle and all the food I just gave him. After comforting him and cleaning up, I was on the phone with his dad explaining all that had happened and out came the rest of the food he’d eaten the past 24 hours…in my hair, all over my shirt, down my pant leg and covering the floor. (I’m still trying to figure out how it missed my slippers!) I have had plenty of experience with adults throwing up near/almost on me working at the hospital, but this was different. This was Brandon, my favorite Brandon. He was my top priority and all I wanted was for him to feel better and loved. We got him changed into some comfy pajamas and he slept on my chest (the non-sleeper or cuddler that he is!) until his dad came home. Once I was finally able to change into a clean shirt and get into my car to go home, it dawned on me just how gross that all was and how yet again, Brandon tried easing me into the motherhood that I’ll soon experience. By no means do I think that any bit of my nanny/babysitting experience has prepared me for parenthood, it may have even done the opposite and made me a little afraid to have kids, given me a little more realistic approach than I would have had years ago. I won’t just see the pregnancy as a little baby growing inside and baby showers and little ones with little pink bows in their hair and trendy little outfits (can you tell I’m hoping for a girl someday?) Instead, I’d like to believe that at least when I am a mom, I can cry about it and talk to all the people who have been there to get me through the tough times, which I know there will be a lot of...babies require more patience than I think we were born with. I’m so thankful that God provided this opportunity to me for the obvious reasons of job security and money but also to help wake up the naïve girl I may have been going into motherhood not fully understanding what that meant. Now Jason and I can grow as a couple and we’ll see about when we’re ready to have kids…I’d have to laugh if after posting this I find out that we’re pregnant in the next couple months! But for now, let’s plan to wait at least a year before that post! (I also hope and pray that we don't have problems getting pregnant when we're ready, which we know is a strong possibility in this world) I love you little Brandon, it’s been so much fun watching you grow these past 7 months, thanks for going extra easy on me and being the happiest, “smiliest” little guy ever! I will miss seeing you grow on a weekly basis and always be praying for you and all that God has stored for you! xoxo

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