Back when I was young, stylish, sexy, wildly intelligent, well-rested, dewy-skinned, and oh-so-cool (i.e. before I was a mom), there were certain things I KNEW (because I was so intelligent) that I would never do. I looked at other moms and thought, "What is their deal? How could they stoop to such levels?"
Most of my friends started having babies before I did, so I had plenty of time to observe and judge their pitiful descents into motherhood. I kept a mental list of all the things they did, that I, Vanessa, the stylish, sexy, wildly intelligent, well-rested, dewy-skinned, oh-so-cool, would NEVER, EVER do.
However, here I am, almost in my third year of motherhood, and I must admit, I am now doing most of, okay, ALL of those things I swore I would never do. (Veteran mothers, please hold the "I-told-you-so's" and cackles till the end.)
Here are the Top Ten Things I do these days that would make my former self cringe and/or crawl into a hole and die from shame...
1. Buy Gourds. You know what I'm talking about: the strange little things that appear in the produce section of the supermarket every fall (I used to look at them and wonder, "What do people do with those things?!") And it's not just the gourds, I also stock up on mini pumpkins and Indian corn--I buy it all! I can't be stopped because we NEED it. I don't think I had ever given a pumpkin a second glance before Juliet showed up on the scene. The last thing I wanted was a hollowed out, fly-attracting, decaying jack-o-lantern on my front porch, but now I find an irresistible force pulling me to buy them. And not just one, either. Oh, no. That would never do. I need one of each kind. Never mind the fact that I still have no idea what you are supposed to do with them...
2. Say "potty" even when speaking to adults. As in, "I'm almost ready to go, just let me run to the potty first!" This one still makes me cringe every time it slips from my mouth, but instead of learning my lesson and NOT using it, I find myself saying it more and more often in social situations. I used to laugh at my mom for saying it even though all her children are well into their late 20s and early 30s, and have, believe it or not, been potty trained for SEVERAL years now, but these days I'm not laughing anymore. Instead, I'm weeping silently for I have been granted a glimpse into my own future: Looks like I'll still be saying "potty" when I'm 60 years old...
3. Refer to myself in the third person. As in, "Oh, Mommy loves chocolate! Can you share your candy with mommy?" Why can't I just use I and me like a normal person? Who do I think I am? Elmo?
4. Decide which restaurant to eat at based on play place/child entertainment options. It's come to this. Instead of choosing a restaurant based on what we feel like eating, Ben and I have a conversation that goes something like this, "Chik-Fil-A has the nice toddler play area...wait, it's Sunday! Dang it! Okay, there's McDonald's, but last time she got stuck up in the purple pod and it took forever to coax her down...um...the pizza place has that box of toys and coloring books, but last time she scribbled on EVERY page of the kitty cat book, so maybe it's too soon to go back there...wait...I've got it! The Mexican restaurant is always so loud, it doesn't really matter if she screams at the top of her lungs and they've got balloons!...Yeah, that's good, let's do Mexican!"
5. Choose books based on how good the pictures are. I was a word girl in my former life. I made selections based on how beautiful the language was--pictures were pretty much nothing to me. Now, however, I am all about the pictures. If the book doesn't have something interesting to look at Juliet is not going to sit and listen to the melodious sound of my voice as it reads beautiful poetry. Oh no. Instead, she's going to jump up and down and beat me over the head with an empty paper towel roll while singing/screaming the lyrics to "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" over and over again. So you could say illustrations have become a top priority. Two of my recent favorites with fabulous illustrations are: One White Wishing Stone: A Beach Day Counting Book by Doris K. Gayzagian, Illustrated by Kristina Swarner and Wave by Suzy Lee. Guaranteed to make the singing/screaming STOP.
6. Say things like, "When I say "come", you come right away, young lady!" This is the other one that still makes me cringe inside, but I am helpless to stop it. Oh how I judged those other moms for their crazy mom phrases, but here I am, guilty as they are of being THAT mom. I was supposed to be the calm, level-headed, reasonable mom! Every child was supposed to look adoringly at me and wish that their mom was a cool and reasonable as I was. Now it looks like they'll just be rolling their eyes at me along with Juliet when I ask them if they were raised in a barn or if I'm speaking Chinese.
7. Walk around with a perpetual mystery spot on all my clothes. I have no idea what these spots/stains/globs are or where they came from, but they are on EVERY piece of clothing I dare to wear. Sometimes, I look down and think, "Wow! I'm stain-free! I look great!" Only to discover (usually while talking to a well-dressed woman in spot-free clothing) that in fact, I do have a mystery stain. Again.
8. Clean our baseboards. This is another one of those things I would look down on my own mom for doing and even laugh at her for. I mean, who cleans baseboards? Just leave them be! But leaving them be is the last thing I do these days. I find myself constantly checking ours out, bending and squinting to determine what it is that makes them so dirty. Crusty brown splotches, black smudges, cat hair, crushed cheerios... is that a shriveled up piece of string cheese?!! I am constantly on hands and knees, scrubbing, and scrubbing, trying to make them white again--or at the very least, furball and cheese-stick free.
9. Wear Crocs. I remember looking at a bin of Crocs with Ben one day (in our pre-parenthood years) and laughing at the ridiculousness of wearing boat-like, brightly colored, rubber shoes. Who would ever wear these monstrosities? Surely, not us, we thought smugly. Yet here we are, both the proud owners of not one, but TWO pairs. While, they are not the exact same models that we laughed at years ago, (I've got the smaller-sized, daintier malindi version while he favors the santa cruz styles), they are still, at the end of the day, rubber shoes. Rubber shoes that we are NOT wearing in the shower. But let me tell, you... I. Don't. Even. Care. My feet have never been happier.
10. Go to sleep every night knowing (maybe I have a tiny bit of that intelligence left after all) that I wouldn't trade one moment of my perpetually-stained, Croc-wearing, gourd-buying life for even so much as a second of my former. I LOVE being a mom and all that comes with it.
Now if you'll excuse me...I have to run to the potty and then scrub some oatmeal splatter off of my baseboards.
So that was a really long top ten list...thanks for staying with me! Don't forget to check out ohamanda.com for more fun top ten lists!