Friday, February 20, 2009

Who's Raising Who?

I always say that it amazes me that you need a license to drive a car, to fish, hunt, operate a forklift and a number of other things. However, anyone can be a parent. Which is kind of scary, considering there isn't a handbook for how to raise a child. I still remember when Tim and brought Piper home from the hospital on a Saturday afternoon. After carefully unstrapping her from her infant carrier, we placed her in her bassinet, sound asleep, covered her with a blanket, stepped back and looked at each other and asked, "What now?" Of course like the green parents we were we stood there and stared at her until she woke up, instead of running like hell to the nearest couch, thanking God for the silence and grabbing even 15 minutes of sleep. That knowledge came with baby number two. 
I am so enjoying being the "on-call mom" for my brother now that he has a baby of his own. I am truly flattered that he thinks I might be able to help or give some advice in his daily life with little Brody. My sister-in-law Paula and he are such amazing parents, Paula is so relaxed and just a natural mom, Rory loves that little guy so much and its so sweet to watch him get so concerned about his well-being. They are totally like we were 8 years ago. Last night, they experienced the first time parents worst nightmare, the classic "baby rolled off the bed." We experienced many versions of this - we had "baby rolled off the bed," "Daddy tripped and fell with baby," and "Daddy fell asleep and dropped baby." Oh, the sweet memories. So of course, when Rory got the call from Paula, raced out of work, got stopped by a policeman, made it home and called me panicking, I told him its like a right of passage. One Tim really wishes he could live down. Of course, Brody was fine, and now he has shown his parents that he is more mobile than they thought! Which leads me to the question - who's raising who?
I am all about teaching my kids right from wrong, manners, respect, spirituality, responsibility, social awareness, etc. However, its been more and more apparent recently that they are teaching me too. I am certainly not the person today that I was before I had children. Though my dad would tell you that I have always been a bright ray of sunshine in the morning, he's just being nice because he's my dad and I'm his only (and favorite) little girl. The truth is that I am like a grizzly bear fumbling with half open eyes, only grunting at those who dare cross me until I have ingested at least a half cup of hot black coffee. When I was pregnant with Piper, I asked the doctor about caffeine consumption, and she told me it was okay to still have my morning cup of coffee. Which was a good thing because that was really necessary in order for her to still have a father when she was born. I say everyday how extremely lucky I am to have a husband who gets me, and is smart enough to get up to make the coffee, put a hot mug on my nightstand and slowly back away, so nobody gets hurt. That being said, even my coffee wasn't enough to make me a morning person before I had kids. Now (I like to think) I'm fairly pleasant in the morning. I still need that coffee, but its not like I bite if the kids crawl into bed with me before I've had it! Trace and Finley definitely got their dad's morning disposition, God bless them! They are the early risers, happy and talkative, ready for breakfast, etc. Carter and Piper have adopted the grizzly bear take on mornings from me. They just burrow deeper into the covers, which is working out fine for Carter, but unfortunately for Piper, she has to get up for school. 
I've definitely had to learn how to multitask, be more efficient with my time, vacuum with a child on my hip, how to find the nearest public restroom, identify the difference between a spider monkey and a howler monkey (thanks to countless Diego books and DVDs,) be more flexible when plans go awry, and enjoy what is really important. I always tell Tim they might not remember exactly what happened, but they'll remember how we dealt with it. There's something about four little sets of innocent eyes on you to make you want to be a better person. So, after 8 years of parenthood, I've definitely learned to relax and go easier on myself - babies will bump their heads and I'll make mistakes. I'll always try to keep teaching my kids what is important, but I'm going to try to remember that there's usually something I can learn from them as well. Have a great weekend - TGIF!

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