Sunday, March 04, 2012

Nothing New

Today I relayed a story to a friend from the days when my oldest daughter, who will be turning 11 on Wednesday, was an infant. I recalled phoning my grandmother on a particularly difficult day and her simple response was to say there was nothing new under the sun. Of course my baby would cry and fuss and throw up and never sleep. Every baby that had come up before and every baby that would come up after would be just the same. I found this both a frustrating and wonderfully reassuring piece of advice. There was relief in knowing that millions of babies over hundreds of thousands of years behaved the same way. Cara was normal. Of course when you are sleep deprived and a person who values personal space, this was also frustrating. But mostly a comfort.

It's not widely publicized that parenthood is as hard as it is. Sure, lots of moms and dads say it's hard. But then they walk out into the world with their hand sanitizer, unstained clothes and cartoon grins and tell the world how super easy it is to have a great family! No one is ever upset, the kids always do exactly what you ask, when you ask it. Even the Cleavers and the Seavers had more complications than what your average family is willing to publicly show.

I say all this to remind myself in a particularly hard moment that there is nothing new under the sun. All children have neglected their dinners for weeks on end, yell at you and then stomp off to their rooms and slam the door, and all children that come up after mine will behave the same way. It's really frustrating. But, I remember frustrating my mother in this same way. Karma, apparently, really is a bitch! Heh.

So, all you young moms and ladies who may someday have children, there is nothing new. In a particularly hard moment, call your grandmother or a friend with a kid. She will listen to you and remember when her kids were just as ornery, and then share her own battle stories. You'll each have a good laugh and the moment will pass. I know because in the time it's taken to write this post, sweet Bubs was making all kinds of fuss at the table (long after the rest of us have finished), ran off to her room in tears because she had to finish a small helping of sweet potatoes, changed into her pajamas and is now happily playing Old Maid with her sister. Maybe she's bipolar, or worse-completely normal!

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