Having a baby changes everything… for a little while. After the first angsty few months, life goes on and you are not so new at mothering. Sure, like in a new job, so you are still trying to please your big boss—but hey, the world won’t collapse if you check your personal emails at work and take a slightly longer lunch break once in a while.
Well, it’s the same thing with mothering. There is “then”, five months ago, when Mark was a tiny little thing, and now, five months later. Mark is still a small baby but we’ve wisen up a bit.
So here are a few examples of our reactions “then”… and “now”!
Then: “Mark drooled all over his t-shirt and mine! Let’s do a load of laundry!”
Now: Mark drooled all over his t-shirt and mine. Meh, it will dry… over yesterday’s drool. It’s baby drool, not toxic matters.
Then: “He didn’t finish his bottle! He will never gain weight and the doctor will blame me, again. Come on baby, you have to finish your milk!”
Now: Not hungry? No worries, lil’ buddha. We will make a bigger bottle of milk later.
Then: “Oh my God, the baby is crying! Must comfort now. Must do something. Anything. Please make it stop!”
Now: Alright, he is not hungry, not in pain, he burped, he pooped… meh, he is just fussy. I’ll finish doing the dishes and I’ll be right there.
Then: “Agheu, arheu, agheu, arheu…” Gosh, baby speak is so cute. Let record it. Oh wait, let’s make a video. Come on baby, talk to me!
Now: I love you Mark and yes, whatever you are saying, I agree with you. But can you, ahem, shut up for a second? Mommy would love following the movie.
Then: “NOOO! Don’t suck on your fingers! Let’ wash your hands thoroughly first!”
Now: “Here baby, you can suck on the blanket. It’s clean. I think. No? Yeah sure, suck on my fingers.”
Then: “Come on Feng, let’s go back home. We will shop another day. It looks like Mark is about to cry.”
Now: “50% off on Levis jeans? I can totally keep Mark busy while trying them on!”
Then: “No point in going out to eat, he is not going to sleep through the meal, it’s going to be stressful.”
Now: “Let’s go for sushi, easier to eat with one hand while holding Mark!”
Then: “He hasn’t eaten in three hours. I’m worried. I’m going to wake him up see if he is hungry.”
Now: Hell no, I ain’t waking him up! He will wake up when he is hungry. Wanna watch a movie?
Then: Come on, let’s put him to sleep. He has to sleep. Babies sleep a lot, right?
Now: Let’s put him with his toys. If he is tired, he will pass out… eventually.
Then: He is making sounds. Must comfort now.
Now: Oh, that? No, just playing with his toys. I mean, fighting with his toys. Poor Sophie la girafe!
Then: This pyjama looks a bit too small. I’d better retire it now.
Now: I will retire the pyjama when I can’t button it up anymore.
Then: No one but me can take care of my precious baby.
Now: Anyone wants Mark for a couple of hours? Please? Please?
Then: Counting the number of wet diapers and doing a search online to make sure he pees enough.
Now: Okay, he pees enough. Including on me.
Then: Changing him as soon as he pees.
Now: Do you know how much pee these diapers can hold? Trust me—a lot.
Then: The first food he will ever try will be organic, ethically-grown and prepared in a completely sterile and allergy-free environment.
Now: Mango ice cream at the Chinese restaurant? Yep, he likes it. He also like licking a spoon covered with chocolate cake.
Then: Me, a mother? It feels so… weird!
Now: Me, a mother? Yep. And also a woman, a writer, a translator, a partner, a friend… Yep, can do it all. I think.
Note: No baby was harmed in the process of writing this article.