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Today's Dear Abby was all about what makes you ready to have children, especially for teenagers. 

I agreed with all the letters that were printed today, save one guy who had to be all moralistic and declare sex before marriage to be "wrong" no matter how "rampant" it is. So I started thinking about how different my life really is after having children, the things I didn't expect to happen that did, and the things I expected that sort of fell by the wayside. 

I used to be fairly easy to gross out- one of those girls who'd gag if something "icky" was mentioned while eating, couldn't keep it together at the sight of blood or vomit, cringing at the sound of someone sniffling. Since Andy was born, all of that sort of fell away.  There have been really nasty diaper blowouts that I had to clean up- including the infamous fingerpainting incident. Andy has gotten sick and I've held out my hands to catch whatever came out of him.  I've wiped snot on my "good" clothes.  I've cleaned up blood, mucus, excrement and whatever other icky mess you can think of without any problems or issues.  Still not my preference, but it's what you do to take care of your babies.  

I've foregone sleep just to watch one of my boys sleep while sick.  I've held them in my lap and rubbed their backs when I'd much rather have been doing something else. I've turned into one of those people who takes a million pictures of their kids doing nothing special and wants to show them off. 

I went to college thinking I was going to have this fabulous career in journalism.  I went the more corporate route after learning how much reporters make and what kind of hours they keep, but I still expected to have a career, to be somebody important by the time I was 30.  I am somebody important, but only really to two short, blonde mini-men.  Even though I need to get back in the work force, I don't really care about the title or responsibilities as much as how much it pays and that it's only 8 hours a day.  

My boys are teaching me patience.  They're teaching me to see the world with different eyes- as a place that's full of fantastic and interesting things to look at and touch.  I'm learning not to be in so much of a rush all the time- that taking longer to do things isn't so bad. 

It's not that I have to sacrafice time and effort to take care of them, it's that I *want* to give them my attention and imagination and time. 

Still, Andy just turned 3.  During that year of being two there were many many times I wanted to throttle him while he screamed and threw himself backward and kicked his feet.  It's not easy to keep my cool and to love them all the time. I try.  I try every single day to make sure they know how much I love them. I'm rewarded with hugs that I didn't have to ask for and big smiles at seeing me enter a room.  I don't know that any office praise or promotion could make me feel so good.  I need to remind myself of that when I'm feeling like a total loser. 

I look at my boys and I want them to know me and like me for who I am.  I want to have a good, friendly relationship with them without falling into the trap of being friends and not being a parent.  I want them to be the cool kids, the popular kids, the smart kids, the athletic kids.  Kids who grow up to be successful and happy.  I wonder why it's so hard to find that balance, where people go wrong that leads their kids to shoot up their schools or turn to drugs or worse.  

I want to expose my kids to good music, art, food- all the things I think makes life good.  I have promised myself to choose my battles wisely, so if they want to grow out their hair, get pierced or tattooed or join a fraternity, I'll let them make their own mistakes, just like my parents let me make mine. 

I'm just not used to projects where I'm not sure of the outcome.  I want to know that if I do a certain set of things, in a certain order, POOF, great kids.



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 11th, 2007 03:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks for posting this :)

I'm also at a stage where I'm pretty much giving up on ever "being someone"--I'm just not thick-skinned enough for the regular working world and I HATE that work keeps me away from home for ten to twelve hours a day so that I only see Lennon when he's just waking up (if that) and just going to bed.

Speaking of fraternities, I was talking to Will last night about how well Lennon would do in one since he likes to eat odd things and doesn't get fazed by it. He likes bananas with ketchup. :D
Jan. 11th, 2007 03:24 pm (UTC)
Rachel went through a phase where she put ketchup on EVERYTHING. She'd eat ketchup sandwiches.

I just don't like ketchup that much. Shrug.

Jan. 11th, 2007 03:27 pm (UTC)
I don't care too much about it either way. I like mayonnaise on fries better (and yes I did this before Pulp Fiction came out our freshman year. ;)

But Lennon had some on a hot dog and so there was some on his plate, and he dipped a piece of banana in it and my mom was sure he'd hate it, but he thought it was good and ate the rest of his banana the same way.

Will puts ketchup on shrimp. (?)
Jan. 11th, 2007 05:06 pm (UTC)
I can kinda understand ketchup on shrimp. Most people like cocktail sauce, which is essentially ketchup with horseradish in it.
Jan. 12th, 2007 11:10 am (UTC)
Brendan did the ketchup thing too! It was ketchup burritos. Yes, just ketchup inside of a flour tortilla. Barf!!! That was one of my first things I put an end to when I got together with Brent :)

Geez, what IS it with kids and ketchup?
Jan. 12th, 2007 02:42 am (UTC)
Ironically one of things that you said is one thing that i have always said i would never allow my child to do if i ever have one...and thats join a fraternity/soriety. I have know too many who have and what has been done to them, i dont think i could support or condone it. However, my parents are the champs at letting me make tons of mistakes :D
Jan. 12th, 2007 11:08 am (UTC)
Awesome post Jules. Thanks for sharing this with us! It really makes me see things through your eyes. You're so incredibly candid. The good and the bad and everything in between. That's what I love about ya!

You're stronger than I though when it comes to those lessons you're willing to let them learn. Hell, I just decided that my stepson CAN wear pants hanging off his ass (boxers showing) as long as he doesn't wear the new hip "Emo" clothes and hair, especially those god forsaken skinny jeans! That's just WRONG on a man IMO. Wrong! Okay, so it was okay for Trixter, but that was a long time ago and well, they were hot! It looks awful on young kids. Oi. I'm getting older as I type. :)
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )