Thursday, February 26

what every new mother should know

I'm not posting pics on this subject, because then there would be solid evidence that I'm telling the truth. :)

David turned two in October. He is my most outwardly-loving child, and will run at you and wrap his arms around your legs for no reason whatsoever. He has a great sense of humor, laughs almost nonstop, and would live on Campbell's Creamy Tomato Soup if given the chance.

He also has no fear. Of anything. At all. We ever-so-fondly refer to him as Danger Baby. If you say, 'Hey David, are you a Danger Baby?' he says, 'YES!!' If you say, 'David, where's Danger Baby?' he just grins a blindingly happy smile and points to his belly. His head might be more apt, but I'll explain that in a minute ...

He gains a new scar each week. He falls off things. He's the only one we've had to take to the ER with an injury-related emergency. I highly doubt it was our last trip with him. He jumps off things. He climbs. He thinks he knows how to ride a bike without training wheels. (For the record, he doesn't.)

I'm looking at him right now, and here's what I'm seeing: A scar from the seven stitches on his forehead. A scab on top of the scar where he fell when I was in Ohio. Three bruises in various stages of healing on different places on his forehead. A swollen top lip. His nose is still slightly swollen, although only his parents would notice, from the ever-so-fun bloody nose he got the other night. A bite mark that's healing, on his cheek, from where the dog bit him. (He decided to bite the puppy when she was asleep. THAT worked out well, let me tell you.) Scratches under his left eye from running into a tree in the wooded part of our property. Scratches near his right ear from another argument with some scrub brush on a different day.

And people, that's just his head. You don't even want to know what his knees and elbows look like.

I am amazed that he still has all his teeth.

The crazy thing is, he's really not clumsy. I might even say that he's the most graceful of all my children at this age, but it's just that he has no fear of anything. AT ALL!! A fence? Great, let's climb it. Something hidden at the top of the pantry? No problem, I can scale it. The big kids are climbing trees? Bring it on. Sam can ride a bike? Well, I'm not getting left behind!

'Anything you can do, I can do better. I can do anything better than you ...'

I had been in Ohio for all of about two or three hours when John sent a picture to my phone. I took one look at it and started laughing. Laughing really, really, really hard. Why? Because I'm a very bad and totally unsympathetic mom, that's why. Sarah took one look at the picture and started to hyperventilate. David looked like he had been in a bar brawl with a bunch of Hell's Angels. And was grinning from ear to ear.

She stared at me and said, 'Why aren't you freaking out? You're his mom! I'm not even related to the kid and I'm totally freaking out! Is he ok?'

Once I stopped laughing (and it took a minute or two), I explained to her. 'Sarah, first off, that's just David. I'm happy to see all his teeth in place and both ears still attached. Secondly, if John had to take any of the kids to the ER, he would totally call me before he figured out how to use the camera on his phone. Trust me.'

That's just the way John and I are as parents. Kids will get hurt. They will have scars. We try to teach them how to properly jump, and fall, so as to minimize damage. We keep a far closer eye on Danger Baby than we did the others at this age. We don't coddle them when they get hurt. A common response to 'I'm bleeding!!' is 'How's that working out for you?'

My kids know how to clean out a scratch, a cut, and a scrape. They know what's appropriate to come crying to me about, and when they need to suck it up. Band-aids are rarely seen, despite the number of flesh wounds that occur in the abounding chaos of our lives. We don't let them whine, and as a result, we don't have whiny kids. Whiny kids bother me, and I decided when I was pregnant with Sam that I didn't want any. So there! :)

I got to thinking about all this earlier this morning, when OHmommy, the stiletto ho over at Classy Chaos, did a post called "What Every New Mother Should Know." I'm sure every mom has her own advice to give, but mine would be (and is) this: when you have kids, life changes for ever. Having a plan is nice, but you have GOT to learn to be flexible, because kids are not predictable. They drop the quiche you were making for bible study on the floor, and the dish shatters and you can't even throw the food to the chickens because of the shards of glass. They find the Sharpie you hid and color on your walls. Or worse, your couch. The fall down and get blood on your favorite shirt of all time that you've had for 7 years, and you have to throw it away. They have a bad dream at 3 in the morning on the one night you really need to get some extra sleep.

So learn to roll with the punches, and teach your kids to do the same. They'll be much more well-adjusted for it, and they just might thank you for it one day. (Hey, Mom. Thanks for being such an awesome mom to me and Kevin and Wes. And it's ok. I promise I won't ever tell them that you totally love me the most!!)

Also, it doesn't hurt to have a working knowledge of basic first aid.

So ... what's your number one tip that every new mom should know?


SaRaH said...

i'll have you on speed dial when i have a kid....& that's all i'll need :)

OHmommy said...

Your David sounds much like my Lola. From the time she was 2 until 3 she broker her leg. Twice. Burned her arm severely. Got stitches. And Sprained her ankle.

What a year!