This is, alas, not a blog posting about Salvador Dali. Go to someone else's blog if you're pining to read about melting clocks and stark landscapes.
This is, however, a blog posting about how surreal my life is now. I certainly haven't done extensive poling on this topic, in fact, I have asked no one, but my hunch is that other newbie moms agree with me on my general feelings. So having a baby is pretty much just a surreal experience. There's the whole moment where you first come home from your hospital or birthing place of choice (or accident if you're the unlucky mom who gave birth in a car on the way to the hospital), and you hold you little one and look at him/her and think...um, what do I do now?
And then there's the moment where you're covered in baby slime of some variety and you're home alone and the only thing that you can think of doing is taking pictures to document the moment for your husband who is at work, which allows you to stay home.
But let us also not forget the first time that you roll your newly equipped family vehicle into some parking lot of some brick building somewhere and are suddenly immersed in a sea of other young mothers who are pulling car seats, squirming children, and all of that paraphernalia out of their family vehicles, mostly SUVs, for a mommy & baby group/play date, and you look around and think, "Well, I must be at the right place."
Seriously, I keep running into these moments where I mentally pause sheerly out of some surrealist understanding that yes, I have a baby and yes, that means that my world is different. Yes, you hear this all of the time when you're uber prego and people, mostly middle aged women, look at you with some devilish look in their glinting eyes, and smirk "Your life is going to be sooooo different." As if I didn't know that. I confess wholeheartedly here that I have caught myself almost uttering the same cliche phrase to other expectants before I stop and think, "Eww, I will not be like that."
But dang it, my life *is* different. And I knew that when pondering this whole caboodle of change, but still, really, I never much thought about the whole physical aspect of having a child. I thought about me and me only. It was fairly impossible for me to visual some little person inside of me, so I gave that up and was lovely-y surprised when she popped out and it turned out that she wasn't as ugly as I expected. Yay. But still, that was the farthest that my thought processes had really processed.
For example, I was standing in the kitchen today munching on/sharing a pear with my cuter-than-expected child, and I suddenly realized that someday I would have a four-year old. I have a picture of my four-year old niece on the fridge to prove that yes, indeed, they do grow up to be that age if all of the stars align properly. I'm expecting the stars to be in my favor on this one.
How surreal is that. I'm going to be in charge of a four-year old someday? I'm going to have this little walking, talking helper someday. For real? I stopped a moment in my pear munching and pondered this possibility. What will it be like? I don't know. I really can't figure this out. It's much like trying to figure out what she'd look like before she popped out and introduced herself, quite vocally, I might add.
My life has story time at the library and weekly weigh-in sessions now. I have a backpack that is always on stand-by, which I can almost always grab at a moments notice as I dash out the door and will guarantee that I will be prepared for many a situation. I have a stylishly new gray carseat that beckons every time I look in the rear view mirror now. I have essentially lost all driving privileges for my beloved Honda to Ben so that I can have the family car with me all day. I have learned who to ask for advice and where my sharing boundaries are. I have beat a path through the baby clothes clearance section at Target every time I am there. I have looked at other friends' baby wish lists when they are expecting and surveyed it with a critical eye, spotting things that look useful but are really just a waste of money. I have started hoarding clearance toys for next birthdays.
And perhaps most importantly, I have looked forward with eager anticipation to all milestones while shedding a silent tear for every step that has permanently passed in my child's life. I still don't know what it's going to be like with my favorite baby in the next few days, months, or years. But if I can base it on what has happened so far, then life will be richly blessed indeed.