My babies will be 23-years-old this year and even though my husband and I raised five children there are some things about motherhood that I had forgotten. Maybe I forgot because I didn't want to remember. Maybe I forgot because I'm older and I'm at the stage where I walk around looking for my glasses only to find them on my head. All I know is that recently when my daughter came over to visit me and brought her 2-year-old daughter and her 2-month-old son, all those mommy moments that I had repressed became crystal clear to me.
5. I forgot that it's impossible to hold a complete conversation between two adults while small children are present. We tried and it went something like this,
"So what do you think about," my daughter asked, but before she could finish her daughter interrupted.
"Mommy, I want my blanky now," said the 2-year-old.
"Just a minute, Mommy was talking to Nana."
"But Mommy, I want my blanky!"
"We will get it in a minute."
"But why can't I get it now?"
Baby begins to cry and daughter goes to get bottle.
Returns with bottle and blanky.
"Now what we were talking about?"
Neither one of us could remember.
4. I forgot the sheer amount of stuff you have to take with you when you travel with children. By the time I helped my daughter carry in the baby in the car seat, the diaper bag, and some toys the 2-year-old just had to bring, my den looked like Babies R Us. And by the time they left, the bottles, blankies and toys were in every room of the house. I'm still finding little socks and hair bows from past visits.
3. I forgot the noise. My house has a lot of hard wood floors and the sound echoes. I don't mind the sound of children, in fact I love it, but my twins (the ones who are about to be 23) do not. One of them asked me the other day why little girls squealed all the time and babies cried so much. I told him that's like asking why the sky is blue. That's just the way it is.
2. I forgot the amount of self-sacrifice raising a child takes. My daughter is a great mother and watching her with my grandchildren reminded me of how needy little people are. She was in constant motion the whole day and just watching her was exhausting. I tried to help but the 2-year-old is so attached to her that most of the time she preferred "Mommy do it." I was able to help with the baby until he got fussy and then it took a mother's touch to know how to get him to sleep.
Watching her brought back memories of all those years when I didn't sit down. Well, okay, maybe not years but it felt that way. There was always laundry to do, dishes in the sink, babies to change, feed or burp.
Motherhood is exhausting. I really hadn't forgotten that totally, but watching her sure did bring back the memories.
1. Finally, the number one thing I had forgotten was how much of those early years are spent dealing with pee and poop. While my daughter and grandchildren were here the baby pooped several times and had to be stripped down, washed off and changed. Mommy got some on her, she had to change too. The 2-year-old is potty training and had a couple of accidents. There were stinky diapers in my garbage. Wet panties and shorts in my bathroom. Between the two of them they created at least one load of laundry, maybe more.
And along those same lines (if you have a weak stomach you may want to stop reading) you forget that these sweet little creatures have the ability to make life very complicated because they don't just pee and poop or pass gas at appropriate times. In fact, it's the inappropriate times you never forget.
Last Sunday night I was holding my granddaughter in my lap during church. Someone was leading a prayer. She leans over to get a toy and passes gas so loudly you could hear it outside. What do you say at moments like that? You say, "It wasn't me, it was the baby," and hope they believe you.
And then there was my cousin's wedding. Every time I see that they have had another anniversary on Facebook all I can think about is what happened to me at their wedding.
My second son was in diapers at the time and we arrived at the wedding just a few minutes before it was to start. Just as we were seated he had a major blowout. The kind that no diaper ever invented can hold. I had to take him to the bathroom and clean poop off him, myself and my purse. I did the best I could but, well, let's just say no one wanted to sit by me when I returned.
One day this week my daughter brought the children back for another visit and this one went much smoother. She took the baby in my room to put him down for a nap and they both slept for about three hours. The 2-year-old and I had a great time playing.
When she got up she kept apologizing for falling asleep.
"It's okay," I said, "I remember what it's like to be a mother."