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Not In the Baby Books

Ten Things The Baby Books Miss

By Chris Jordan

The front door opens and shuts. In walks my teenage son.

Uh, Mom?
Yes?
I crashed the car.

I turned to my friend.

You know? There isn’t a place for this in the baby book.

*****

In my recent quest for more logical home organization, I came across all the kids’ baby books. I flipped through one and read all the writing prompts and places to record significant events, most of which were left blank, and thought the writers of these books have missed the mark. Maybe that is why blogging is so appealing to so many new mothers. Recording the things that usually have no place. The things that don’t make the book, the yearly Christmas cards, or photos, but the things that make up the bulk of life.

And in that spirit, I came up with Ten First Things the Baby Book Should Have, But Does Not:

1) First time you wake up covered in your child’s vomit.

Sadly,yes, there will be more times. As I was writing this my kids and I went through all the vomit stories we remembered. Wow, there is a lot of them. This could use a whole chapter of its own.

2) First time your child tells you that they hate you.

My daughter was five the first time she told me she hated me and she chose to do so by note. Unfortunately, she was still learning about phonics and wrote, “I HAT YOU.” This lead to me asking if she was planning on giving me a hat. This enraged her to the point that she tore up the note and stormed off. Luckily I had the presence of mind to take a photo of the note before she tore it up.

3) First time you seriously consider running away.

Alone. And why you chose not to. It’s perfectly okay if your sole reason at the time is that it was just too much effort.

4) First time you look at your post children body in the mirror.

It is a lot like reliving the traumatic event of your childhood of seeing your grandmother naked when she changed out of her bathing suit in the locker room of the YMCA pool. Only now it is a new trauma because you realize that the body you remember is now yours.

5) Related, there should be a place to write the date the first time someone told you they didn’t mind their post-children body because their children were worth it and you felt like punching them in the face.

Do we really have to articulate that? Do we? Also, there should probably be a space for those people who actually do follow through and punch the person in the face. You know, just a little place to put a copy of the police report and mugshot.

6) First time you are the victim of a mothering drive-by.

That’s when a person feels compelled to point out what you are doing wrong and how you could fix that by doing it the right way, or their way. Often this is done in a backhanded way so that you are left with your mouth hanging open.

You would think that this ends as your children get older, but it doesn’t. I was recently told by someone that I really should think about making my 10 yr old son cut his hair because people might think he is a girl. This was immediately following the same person saying they allow their daughter to do whatever she wants with her hair, including cutting it short, because it is her body. Are boys not extended the same courtesy? The problem isn’t the conversation, or the differing opinion, the problem is the word should and all its unspoken implications.

7) First time you are the perpetrator of a mothering drive-by.

Oh, yes, we will all do them. Because sometimes we mean well. Because sometimes we are so sure that we have the answer that we cannot help but share. Because sometimes we are judgmental assholes. Yes, even me.

8  ) First time you realize what it means to reach your breaking point because you don’t cross over it. And simultaneously have empathy for those that do.

When my 15 yr old was a newborn and infant he had colic. Horrible, horrible colic. He would scream and cry for hours upon hours every single day. Nothing I did soothed him or calmed him. I am not sure you can adequately understand what it feels like to go through that, because even sitting here now, 15 years down the road, it is difficult for me to fully summon the emotions.

But I clearly remember one night sitting on the couch holding my screaming son. I had pulled him away from chest to change his position and I looked at his screaming face, a tiny little face red and contorted by his screams. I looked at him and felt… nothing. And at precisely that moment I understood how someone who is normally good, kind, loving, and rational, how that same person in this foggy, overwhelmed haze could be pushed to the point of doing something they would regret. I remember crying, not for me but for those other mothers.

9) First time you realize that you can not remember when the last time was you changed your clothes.

Along with the realization that personal hygiene has dropped so low on your list that you feel most assuredly it is an evolutionary trait designed to make you offensive enough to keep ANY SLIGHT, REMOTE chance of becoming pregnant again impossible.

10) First time your child comes home crying about someone being mean to them.

You will feel rage like you have never experienced before. And also heartbreak. Both your emotions will be completely disproportional with the actual act that has occurred and instead will carry the weight of all the times in your own life you have felt hurt, abused, or misunderstood.

Bonus:

11) First time your teenager says something so completely insane that you realize all teenagers are mentally unstable toddlers in bigger bodies.  And you have a new found appreciation for the fact that your own parents allowed you to survive to adulthood.

I know that there are more. So tell me, what firsts do you think the baby books miss?

Chris Jordan
About the Author

Chris Jordan

Chris Jordan began blogging at Notes From the Trenches in 2004 where she writes about her life raising her children in Austin, Texas.

Oh, she has seven of them. Yes, children. Yes, the...

Chris Jordan began blogging at Notes From the Trenches in 2004 where she writes about her life raising her children in Austin, Texas.

Oh, she has seven of them. Yes, children.
Yes, they are all hers.
No she’s not Catholic or Mormon. Though she wouldn’t mind having a sister-wife because holy hell the laundry never stops.
Yes, she finally figured out what causes it. That’s why her youngest is almost 6.
Yes, she has a television.

She enjoys referring to herself in the third person.

If you would like to submit a question for Chris to answer publicly, please do so to adviceforparentsoftweens[at]gmail[dot]com.

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