It’s a parenting truism to say that every and each child in the world is unique, but it’s a truism along the lines of people saying “wow, you’re life is really going to change,” when your bulging belly first begins to reveal that you are pregnant with your first child. Simple statements both,right? No — they contain worlds of complexity. You think your world’s going to change? You can’t even imagine. No child is like any other? Why do you think in generations past unskilled, less patient parents than we are sometimes resorted to telling their offspring: you’re no child of mine?
Elder Girleen and Younger Girleen bear a family resemblance to each other both emotionally and physically, but in a lot of ways they’re as different as night and day, and discovering these differences has been a joyful part of the parenthood journey. When Elder Girleen gets stressed, she gets revv’d up. When Younger Girleen gets stressed, she falls asleep. See? Every child is different.
But before Younger Girleen’s arrival in our lives, my main experience with dealing with the after effects of certain sorts of stomach-related accidents consisted only of owning a cat prone to hairballs. There’s probably a nicer way to put this, but I can’t think of it right now: Younger Girleen is affectionately known around our house as “Our Little Puker.” Vomit down the cleavage is a necessary part of motherhood, and I’m happy to say it’s not as scarring as you might think.
On Thursday, as sort of a cherry on top of a sundae of a tough week, Younger Girleen started throwing up all over the back seat of my car while we were stuck in what seemed at the time to be THE WORST ATLANTA TRAFFIC EVER. We inched forward, she puked, we inched forward, she puked.
The car is her favorite place to engage in this behavior, and first time it ever happened the mopping-up operations almost broke me. The car seat, the buckles, the sister’s car seat, the back of the front seat, the mother, the child! All over the only new car (now no longer new) I will probably ever own in my life! And then, the ordeal of putting the car seat cover and buckles back into the car seat frame once they were clean. It took me almost an hour.
I realize I’ve just told you more than you ever had any interest in knowing about my life. I may have just relegated Younger Girleen to years of therapy on down the road. But to who else can I broadcast my pride over the mastery of a new skill but you?
I pulled off the road, stripped a three-year-old, wiped and redressed her with aplomb. And just now, I put the complication of a Britax car seat cover and its parachute-like array of buckles back together in about 2 minutes tops. And as I did so, I wondered why did this ever seem hard?
The feeling of satisfaction was kin to the sort you have when you realize your exercise regimen has taken you from walking one mile to running five. Or from lifting hand-weights to benchpressing … whatever… amount.
I may not be able to benchpress my body weight but I’m a dab hand at the messy side of motherhood, and that must be good for something, right?