Parenting is both an art and a science, a tough job you get zero training for. And no, nine months of pregnancy and copious (and mostly unwanted) advice from strangers don’t really help because each baby is different.
You learn, though, because you don’t have a choice. You adapt too.
And then one day you look back and you realize how much things have changed. There is “then”… and there is “now”. Yes, ten months of parenting make you wiser (and slightly lazier)!
THEN: Oh no, Mark is crying! Damn, I wish I had one of these baby cry analyzers, that would help me figuring out what’s wrong.
NOW: Meh, I know why he is crying. I just took away the shoe he was chewing on.
THEN: Must wash hands thoroughly before touching my little bundle of joy.
NOW: Must wash Mark thoroughly before letting him touch me—not sure where his hands have been!
THEN: I change Mark as soon as I spot a stain on his clothes.
NOW: If it ain’t poop, I’m not changing his shirt. It’s just food/dirt/unidentified stuff!
THEN: “Mama… mama… mama…” This is so cute. I could listen to him all day long. My son, calling me!
NOW: What did the big guy say already? Oh yeah, something along the lines of “Thou shalt not take the name of the mother thy Goddess in vain”. Hear that, Mark?
THEN: “Good job Mark! I’m so proud of you, standing up like a big boy!”
NOW: For fuck’s sake, can you sit in the bathtub? Just like, five minutes?
THEN: I am afraid to leave Mark with people other than Feng and I because Mark may not handle it well.
NOW: I am afraid to leave Mark with friends or family because I know how tiring Mark can be.
THEN: I can’t wait for him to crawl, babble, interact with his toys!
NOW: Mark, come here. Mark, please, don’t touch the wires. Mark, stop throwing the cubes across the room. Mark, did you get stuck under the table again? Mark, please, just stay still for a second!
THEN: You do think he is old enough to eat baby cookies? Or try pureed apple? Do you think his stomach can handle pieces of banana?
NOW: Meh. He eats dirt and God-knows-what-else at the playground. I’m sure he is fine with grownup food. Mark, if you let me eat my sushi, I’ll give you some tofu and avocado.
THEN: I feel guilty when I think I haven’t done my “mommy job” well. Cannot relax until Mark is fed, has slept, has played, etc.
NOW: Who wants to take him for a while? *I* need to eat, sleep and play!