Motherhood has brought many unexpected things to my life: almost daily conversations about human feces, impromptu dance parties to ‘O Holy Night’ and ‘Ave Maria,’ a rediscovery of Barbie dolls and Cabbage Patch Kids.
But these fun little snippets of time are just the pecans on the sundae of things that have surprised me, especially in the last few months: grammar, vegetables and fear. The fear is probably the ice cream. The grammar is the hot fudge sauce. The vegetables are the whipped cream. It’s my sundae and my analogy. Leave me alone.
Before December 28, 2005, Dave and I ate with our health in mind. We belonged to a gym (and went! A lot!). We took long hikes and long walks with our dogs. We had a salad before nearly every dinner. I lovingly prepared all of our meals from the Cooking Light magazine or cookbooks and it didn’t matter if we were eating at 8 p.m. I kept carrot sticks and celery and apples and bananas and oranges in the crisper drawers of our refrigerator.
I think it’s fair to say that since R began eating the same food as us eight or nine months ago, healthy has been replaced by dear God get the meal on the table quickly so we can avoid another tantrum and she can get to bed at a reasonable hour. This means we eat a lot of crockpot meals and things that can be thrown together in 45 minutes or so with a toddler either wanting either to “help” or my undivided attention. I am very conscious of the fact that we don’t eat a lot of vegetables anymore. I want to do better. Suggestions?
I’m also becoming increasingly conscious of little colloquialisms I use that are rooted in terrible grammar. “How come?” I heard myself asking R the other day when she was telling me how she hit her good friend A at day care (don’t worry, she was told not to do that). What does that even mean? How come? And I have caught myself saying “on accident” too. That doesn’t make any sense either.
As she begins to talk in complete sentences more and more, I’m certainly more aware of sentence structure and speaking clearly. She’s got this new habit of starting with the verb and ending with the noun. (Hey, maybe when she said ‘Hit A’ she meant A hit her… Oh, God, have I punished her for being the victim?)
Finally, the really filling part of this dessert is the fear. I’m afraid of everything, things I was never afraid of before. I’m afraid our smoke detectors aren’t working and there will be a fire and I won’t be able to get to R in time. I’m afraid every time it snows or storms and R is not right beside me. I’m afraid that someone will break into our house in the middle of the night. I shake my fist at the teenage drivers on our street who seem to think the cul-de-sacs are a great place to practice for the Brickyard. I’m afraid my brakes will fail with R in the back seat. I’m afraid when I take R out in public that some crazy person will just randomly start shooting (okay, that’s not really an all-the-time kind of fear, but I have thought about it). I’m afraid when I walk down the stairs holding R that I will fall and we will both break our backs and be paralyzed for life.
I’m not even safe in my own home.
So far, I haven’t let the ice cream take over my life. The ice cream must actually be frozen yogurt, because I think that it’s healthy. It keeps me cautious. It prevents me from taking crazy risks. And it means I’m looking out for R’s safety, above all else.