(Pictured is Dublin, my 2nd child, outside being contaminated by all the germs.)
“It's because he was our first.I mean,I think we were very tense when Kevin was little.If he got a scratch, we were hysterical.
By the third kid, you know, you let them juggle knives.” - Parenthood (1989)
When I think back on the first year of Sonora's life, it exhausts me. I was the epitome of a nervous mother. I worried over everything. Was she pooping too much. Was she pooping too little? Was her sleep schedule messed up? Everything I could worry about... I covered it. For the first two weeks of her life, every day during the noon hour I called the on-call advice nurse regarding one of my concerns. Worry, worry, worry... I was so certain I was going to break her.
Fast forward 20 years and here I am with a one year old and shockingly enough, I've not called an advice nurse once!
I find it supremely ironic that the 22 year old me, in my fertility prime – eggs all youthful and agile, was way too immature to handle baby making with ease. It freaked me all the hell out. Now at 42, past my fertile prime, I'm a calmer mom. If Dublin drops a fork on the ground, picks it up and puts it in his mouth... I'm not panicking that I didn't get to put it through three types of disinfectant processes before it again touched his lips. If another kid grabs one of Dublin's toys with food covered fingers and sticks it in his mouth, I do not go all bug-eyed and have to quarantine the toy for x amount of days. If Dublin coughs, I'm not having to phone a doctor for fear he might not make it through the hour.
Like I said, it's exhausting thinking about how scared and paranoid I was during Sonora's baby days! Now, instead of any fear and paranoia that I might break Dublin, it's with awe that I acknowledge his fragile tiny self... and amazement to see him tumble and grow into a healthy little man.
I'm not saying that 22 is too young to start a family, some women seem to jump into the roll like they've been parenting for years, no matter what their age. I admire women like that. However, for me it didn't come naturally. For me it was a learning process... one that took me 20 years. Sometimes I think that for some of us, our first child is (unfortunately for them) our practice child. The one that we make so many of the mistakes with. By our 2nd child, we've perfected a few more things, including our confidence. Poor, poor Sonora... I had quite the learning curve!
Now-a-days the internet has become my best friend. It's so easy to look up any parenting topic and dissect it this way and that. Something I didn't have when Sonora was a baby. Twenty years ago, if I wanted to research a baby topic (from sleep schedules to breast feeding), I had to old-school it and read a book! Or, ask a friend. And sometimes those old-school ways aren't readily available at 2:30 in the morning!!
I'm so happy Sonora and I made it out of her childhood alive... and though it took me 20 years, I'm finally left the scaredy cat mothering behind.