It's not really a surprise, because everyone tells you its going to happen, but it is still shocking how much your life changes when you have a baby. I've been thinking about this a lot lately, now that I'm past the half way mark of adding another bundle of joy to our little family. In fact, I think about a lot of things that I never thought about before. For example:
:: I recently realized that I am responsible for the maintenance and grooming of 80 fingernails/toenails (Barrett, baby sister, Sassy, and me). Whoa. Doesn't that sound like a lot??
:: I used to consider myself an excellent multi-tasker, when in reality, I was just a rookie...these days, I feel lazy if I'm not simultaneously preparing the baby's meal, making funny faces to ensure Barrett that zucchini really is yummy, returning a phone call, and adding something else to the to-do list (because, sadly, if its not on The List, there's no chance I'll remember).
:: As of January 2011, I will have been pregnant for 18 of the preceding 24 months. That's 75%, although technically, I think I should get half credit for the 6 months in the middle because I was nursing, which is similar to being pregnant because of the diet restrictions and time commitment...(and while we're at it, maybe double credit for the month I was pregnant + nursing??)
:: I no longer measure time in hours and minutes. Instead, I use "nap time." For example:
Old life: "I can finish that brief in about 8 hours."
Mom life: "I'll need 3 naps, plus an after-baby-goes-to-bed work session to finish that brief." Of course, the "nap time" method of measuring time is a lot less accurate, considering the baby may not actually take the scheduled naps. This method also assumes that you can devote an entire nap time to one task. I admit it is a flawed system.
:: I always thought it was strange when people would speak to my baby in baby-talk or directly ask him a question and expect me to respond on his behalf (isn't that awkward?? He can't talk yet. I never understood that...). Now, I just answer for him, even though no one was speaking to me, because that is less awkward than the lingering expectant silence following their question. But, I do not refer to myself in the third person as "Mommy" or "Mama." You have to draw the line somewhere.
:: I now know that there is no such thing as a quick in-and-out trip to the grocery store with a baby in tow. After getting him set up in the grocery cart (easier said than done -- strategically hunt for a spot next to a shopping cart return, hop out of car and grab a cart, set up grocery cart cover to protect baby from germs, wrangle baby out of car seat, and put in cart with a toy that is clipped to him so he can't throw it on the floor, then enter store only to realize that baby's skin got pink with sun between the car and the store and now receive disapproving looks or comments like "My! Someone sure got a lot of sun!") I can usually expect 2-3 fellow shoppers to stop to talk to the baby (see previous bullet point). Double that on seniors day. Honestly, grocery shopping has never been more fun~ it just isn't quick anymore.
:: Pre-baby, I could easily recite code articles and statutes (I never said I wasn't a goober). Now, I know Goodnight Moon, Pat the Bunny, I'll See You in the Morning, and the lyrics to an untold number of children's songs by heart. And I'm equally proud of both skill sets.
:: I consider the exersaucer "put away" when it is in a designated corner by the grandfather clock, even though it is technically still in the middle of the living room. I swore up and down I would never do that, but hey, an exersaucer is necessary to everyday life.
All in all, a lot of things change. But the bottom line is that I wouldn't go back to the way things were for anything in the world. Babies are only babies for a short time, and once they grow up, its over. Being Barrett's mother has taught me to stop and smell the roses (or cherrios, as is more likely) and not take any of it for granted. It turns out, the little things are the things that matter most.
(ending Hallmark card sappyness)