In my old age (huh?) I've come to learn some things. I use the term learn very loosely; some of these things are things that I've known all along, I just haven't ever put them into concrete thought, or even words. Others are things I had heard but needed to experience to truly learn them.
~It's easier on one's body to have a baby at an earlier age. I don't mean (or advocate) having babies at the age of 14; I mean it was easier at 22 than it was at 29. I had my oldest when I was 22, and she was born one month before my cousin Mia. My aunt, who is only...I think 14 years older than me, mentioned this factlet to me. See, Kuna (my aunt) and I had always been very, very close, but when I got engaged at the ripe ol' age o' 19, she became very concerned. Kuna had been engaged at a young age as well, and it didn't work out for her (wedding never even happened), so naturally, in her mind, it would end up in disaster for me as well. I know she meant well; she wanted me to experience things that she had been able to do in her twenties: go to Europe, be in traveling ski clubs, have an exciting single life. At the time of my engagement, she had been married for...hmmm...a FREAKING MONTH, so, you know, what with all that time under her belt, she felt it wise to tell me how hard marriage can be, etc., etc., and I got the strong impression that she was trying to talk me out of it. You know, for my own good. Well, after I was married and had apparently proven to her that I was capable of being a somewhat successful young bride, the topic moved on to having babies. Her first was born a month after my wedding, and I went to Floridisney when baby Natalie was six months old to help take care of her while Kuna recovered from surgery. I was there for three weeks, and Kuna and MD (my uncle, not cj's brother-in-law) asked if Darin and I planned on having kids...and then kind of scoffed at my answer that we'd like a bigger family and likely sooner than later. "Kids are so HARD...Take the time to travel..." All sorts of other advice that I filed away right next to "Are you SURE you want to get married?...You're so young...". When Kuna had her second and I had my first, we had our newborns in common, and we'd talk. I got a lot more advice from her, as expected, but one day she said something that made me feel that I had gotten some approval from her: she said, "You know what, you knew what you were doing, having your kids so young, when you have more energy. I can't tell you how exhausted I am. If I had had kids at your age, I think I would have been able to accomplish more." Well, yay for me. It was satisfying to hear that coming from her. And now I've learned it for myself. Seven and a half years ago, I came home from the hospital with nary a scratch, so-to-speak -- I had so much energy, I was on a high, I felt GREAT. With this last baby...even taking into account the fact that I have three small, very active little bodies to account for as well...my body HURTS. I feel like I've been put through a ringer (not THE ringer, mind you, just A ringer). I took one Sunday off after Li'l ~j.; this time, I frankly wouldn't mind staying home from church until May. It's not something I expect anyone else to accept and understand, unless they feel the same way and agree; it's my own truth. It has eliminated this from my mental vocabulary: "Really? Why does she need to stay home for so long? It's not THAT hard to bounce back." I'm sad that I ever had that thought in the first place.
~I don't like the white outfits out there in which we are told we should bless our sons. And by "told", I mean "they are sold right next to the blessing dresses, and they are the boy version". I've always thought they were hideous. Again, one of my own personal things. Maybe it's because my other son was buried in one. This is what Bubby is going to wear when we bless him:
(stupid blogger. I'll get this photo up somehow...in the meantime, it's this, but it's got lovely brightly-colored argyle patterns on it, as well.)
~Hey, nienie, you should come see me sometime. Do you realize that I live EXACTLY IN THE MIDDLE of two of your sisters??? And, cabesh...did you leave your cat here? A cat keeps coming in to my house...or trying to. It did a few times in the summer. And I caught it in my garage the other night. And did you know that the house is for sale again?
~You might think that nursing three babies successfully guarantees success with the fourth. You'd be wrong. Sometimes, you think your baby is a nursing champ, but then you get a crack, and then another, and then identical cracks on the other side, and you know what that means (I mean besides the unbearable, out-of-your-mind, screaming-in-your-sleep pain): an incorrect latch. Sometimes, you have to meet with a lactation specialist and rent a pump which is so heavy-duty it makes you feel like a cow being milked, but you find that even with the pumping (to keep your supply up while you heal), it's not enough for your champ eater and despite all the signs hanging in the lactation specialists' office (which I agree with about 98% but it doesn't change the fact that the secret aim of most of the signs is to make women feel guilty), you have to give him formula because there is no more milk. And sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and accept the fact that you may be shelling out another $1000 in the next year for formula because all signs are pointing to you drying up. And that makes you think about when you used to be such a breastfeeding nazi and then it makes you think of all the women you've met over the past 5 years or so who fed their babies formula for WHATEVER reason, and you're grateful to have learned that it's none of your business, and so this is none of theirs. And you remember that your last baby had formula and guess what: she's the most scheduled, the best sleeper, and the most even-tempered of them all. Yes, sometimes you realize that Heavenly Father has a wide spectrum of experiences in store for you throughout your life, and you feel blessed to be able to realize that these experiences help link you to other people, aid you in empathy.
~The best time to shop at WAL*MART (I mean, besides the early morning after Thanksgiving) is on Halloween night.