Before I was a Momma, I knew how to raise a child. I'd always do this, never do that. You know. All of you did it at one time or another pre-mommahood. Never sugar, always baths, never McD's fries, always consistent, never ... always ... never... never...never. Well, as Fievel so eloquently sang "never say never whatever you do." Amen, little man, amen. Oh by the way, and "always" is just a "never" statement in disguise...
Now, for those who don't know me personally I'm not a kid person. SO not a kid person. All of my cousins are within 5 years of myself, so I wasn't exposed to babies past the age of 7. It just didn't happen. I babysat one girl as a teen - and I really think she ruined me for kid relationships. I didn't know how to talk to kids, relate to them - and even play with them ---do you make them stick to the rules or just slide down ladders and up chutes to their hearts' content? I didn't even know I wanted to have kids of my own until I was 25 years old. I just never could see myself in that role. My ovaries never ached for children until that point. My biological clock ticked by silently.
I do have a few little munchkins in my life that I love that I did not birth. Seven to be precise. These little ones still throw me for a loop every know and then, but the love of a step-mom/aunt/pseudo-aunt gives them a little more leeway than random stranger grocery store screaming monsters.
I was judgy (Ok AM judgy). Especially when it came to parenting. The biggest pet peeve of selfish, pain-inflicting parents was when they take children on planes. Why in the hell do you need to take a child on a plane E-V-E-R?? Yes, I've had several 2 hour plus plane rides with the blood curdling cries from the seat in front of me - or worse accompanied by the seat kicking behind. Moments like that made my ovaries shrivel into tiny little raisins as my maternal instincts were circumvented by near rage. I vowed to not take my child on a plane until he/she was fully capable of all the basic doggie commands - sit/stay/come/play dead/leave it/heal/go lay down. Not a moment sooner would I subject a plane-full of traveling people to my child's cries.
Swirly dream sequence closes - Cleaver segue into last week - Fade to black.
So there I was...my husband, 10 year old stepson, and 8 month old daughter in tow. Boarding our first plane as a trader to all non-parents in the world. I had lost sleep over thinking about this exact moment. I had envisioned my child's head spinning Exorcist style and being pummeled by pissed passengers when we landed. To my surprise and to the disappointment of those needing to unleash a good pummeling on a stranger - she slept the whole plane ride. She was a sport when we made the mad dash from one end of the "A" terminal in Denver to the other (why does that always happen to me?). We boarded our second flight of the day...and she slept again! WOOHOO! The trip back was much the same - minus the fact that she napped during the SCHEDULED flight time when we were laying over in Denver and had a delay due to a jet fuel leak on our plane and then a TORNADO WARNING! (FML) Anyway, she still was a champ and flew home asleep. Of course, her schedule is all goofed up now, but she did beautifully.
I know of at least 10 people on the flights who rolled their eyes as I boarded the plane with a bright-eyed baby. They were all former mes who refused to tolerate the smallest of even happy baby noises on a plane. To them, I say "screw off."
Giving birth does not force me to be home-bound until my children can read the safety card on the plane. Yes, I was lucky. There is no doubt about that.
Motherhood is about adapting to the situation at hand. Even if it means going against one of the mortal sins you swore off before you were a momma. Seriously, you don't know shit about being a mother until you are one - and then you realize you still don't know shit about it. 90% of the experience is flying by the seat of your pants.
I love my life - and I adore my daughter and stepson more than words can say. They both were well behaved through our travels this week, and I'm very proud of them. And, I pat myself on the back for going against what I swore I'd never do and joined the ranks of past parents who feel that experiences for the little ones are just as important as for the big ones. We had a good time - and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
Suck on that eye-rolling skeptics!