I turned 50 this month. I am a parent of a three year old.
These are facts I think about a lot. Well, not the precise age. But definitely the fact that I am an older parent.
I always hoped to be a parent. I can pinpoint that hope back to my early teens. None of my hopes and dreams had me waiting so long to become someone’s mami. I don’t wish for a different path though. How could I? To do so would mean I wouldn’t have been ready to welcome this sweet, obstinate, headstrong girl into my world.
Here is the but.
It saddens me that my brain is constantly trying to figure out how much time I will have with her. And here is where some folks always chime in with, no day is promised. You could die tomorrow!
Okay. Fine. They don’t say the last bit but I do hear the first part. It’s strange that this is supposed to ease my dread. People mean well though so bygones.
Still, no matter how sweet people try to be, all things being equal and barring freak accidents, the fact is I am not going to have as much time with her as I would like. Odds are good that I don’t live to see her 100th birthday after all.
I try to stay in the moment and enjoy each day but when your brain has always steered towards the realities of life, it’s hard to not have the dark thoughts.
There are articles about people choosing to have kids later in life and the wonders of modern medicine etc etc etc. On principle I think people having a choice and being able to have the children they want are good things. But it makes me sad for all of us who won’t have 50, 60, 70 years to see our babies out in the world.
While the kiddo was finishing up her dinner I decided to clear off the very cluttered kitchen counters. At one point she asked (in english), “what doing, mami?” Her English is coming along. She still has a broader vocabulary in Spanish but I’m noticing more and more English cropping in and I’m conflicted. On the one hand, great. Obviously. Whatever builds her communication skills is good.
On the other hand, I know from personal experience and from observation that the time will come when she decides English is just easier to use and that pains me. So when she speaks to me in English I respond with the appropriate Spanish phrase and then I continue in Spanish. Usually she switches over fine and we move on.
But she’s digging in on “look”. No matter how many times I say “mire, mami” she will not add it to her vocabulary. I’m fascinated by that. Usually when I do that she listens to the word or phrase, repeats and will start using it w slight prompting. But “look, mami!” seems to be here to stay for the moment.
I don’t know if this is the best way to make her bilingual but it’s the only way I know how so we’re just going to keep stumbling along. My goal is that she learns Spanish so well she starts correcting me at some point. Lord knows I could definitely use the guidance. See this entire post written in English as proof of that.
This kid is an early riser. She’s up between 5:30 and 6:30 every morning. If she goes to 7 and later I think she’s sick or we’ve had a rare bad night. I didn’t bother changing her schedule because, selfishly, early wake ups mean early bedtimes. And I have needed the couple of hours between her bedtime and mine to do stuff or not do stuff, as the mood and energy levels dictated.
However, it looks like I need to try and get her to have a more consistent 6:30 wake up. Because when she goes to daycare nap time is going to be at 1pm. If she continues to wake up closer to the 5:30 am side that’s gonna be a long 7 hours. Going back to daycare is going to be enough of an adjustment without having her melt down from over tiredness.
We have time though. I’m not taking her back until July or August. Really depends on how she’s doing at home. I like the continued savings of starting in August but watching her playing all alone is making me sad. I can’t give her the structure and stimulation she probably needs now so it seems wrong to not take her back as soon as I feel comfortable Covid-wise. By July I’m hoping enough folks will be vaccinated that I won’t have too much anxiety about sending her back out into the world.
Ugh. I need to win the lottery. Or finally marry rich. Really do not know why I’ve put either of those options off for so long.
One of the things I’m looking forward to in the new place is moving the kiddo to her own room. The AAP recommends that children sleep in the same room as their parents for the first year. Easy enough as those first few months required being close for the multiple night time feedings and it helped to ease my anxiety about SIDS. By the time she was sleeping through the night around the 8 month, I started thinking I’d move her to her own room for her first birthday.
But as that date drew closer I realized that one of my anxieties was uh just a tad irrational. Our apartment is on the ground floor, see. And the bedrooms are on opposite ends of the apartment. So my thought process went like this, “If I put her aalllll the way over there I won’t hear if someone breaks in and steals my baby!”
Yeah. I know. Trust me.
So here she is almost 20 months and she’s still in my room. It’s not much of a problem except if I have to get up in the middle of the night. If she happens to be awake she thinks, “yay! It’s time to get up! Wait, where are you going? Get me out! Yes, it’s 3 am but I’m ready to be up! Don’t mind my yawning! Let’s go! Okay well now you have to listen to me cry because you won’t play with me!” Oooph.
No matter how many times my brain has told me to stop being silly I haven’t been able to move her into her own room.
So when I started looking for a place I knew a ground floor apartment was a deal breaker. It’s just easier to buy a condo that’s not on the ground floor than do the emotional work of getting rid of irrational anxieties apparently. You gotta know your limitations I always say! Heh.
The description for this book seemed cute. The hen is sometimes forgetful and makes mistakes but she apologizes to the chicks and they forgive her, learning that even parents make mistakes. Sounds nice, I thought, and it looks so pretty.
I read it to Isabela for the first and last time yesterday. The hen is forgetful and clumsy and isn’t the greatest mom sometimes. So after the third time she neglects her chicks she tells them she’s giving them up for adoption because surely someone else can care for them better. But the chicks beg her not to and tell her that even if she’s forgetful she cares for them best. So she decides to keep them.
What the ever loving fuck is this bullshit?
Even if my sweet girl weren’t adopted what a ridiculous way to try to teach grace and forgiveness for someone’s flaws to small children. But I especially cannot read her this story. Having her understand her adoption story will be complex enough without me adding to it with nonsense like this.
I’m so annoyed I didn’t look at this book a week ago because the return window is closed and I hate the story so much I don’t even want to donate the book and send this nonsense out into the world where someone may pick it up.
A year ago, while volunteering, I checked my email during the dinner break. That’s when I saw that I had received an email from the adoption agency asking if I had time to talk the following day. I stared at the message trying to understand what it meant. It seems simple enough, I know but when you’ve wanted something for a long time when it might finally be happening the brain can’t quite process it. At least not my brain.
I thought back to the other messages I had received from the agency. Some were blast emails, others, while only for me were very clear on what was needed of me - a form updated, payment needed, etc. This request to talk could only mean one thing, right? But why not say it?
I responded that I was available to talk any time the following day.
I put that email out of my head for the rest of the class so that I could focus on the kids.
But once I got in the car to drive home my thoughts went right back to the email. Is this it?
In the way in to the apartment I remember distinctly thinking, half excited and half afraid, “Shit. This is it. Am I ready?!?”