Thursday, October 29, 2015

Baby hair.

It's funny, but it seems as though hair is rather important when it comes to babies.

I'm talking about baby hair. How much were they born with? How much did they then almost immediately lose? How much grew back? Is it blond? Curly? Long? Thick? Is your child basically Shirley Temple at 6 months old?

I mean, obviously, babies themselves don't care about this crap. It's their parents that lose or gain pride based on baby hair.

Rockin' the Donald Trump 'do.

Nobody would ever say that babies with more, longer, curlier, thicker hair are cuter (at least, not in front of moms of little baldies), but the amount of hair one's baby has seems to be a badge of honor. Whenever a picture is posted on social media of a newborn with thick locks, everyone oohs and aahs over how much hair this kid has. As though it's a real achievement. "Good job, Mom, you made a child with hair! Everyone else should probably stop reproducing because you have clearly created a perfect human!"

I guess this is the time to admit that my daughter doesn't have a lot of hair. It's thin and wispy and somewhere between brown and blond (in other words, neither angelically blond or exotically dark), and it sticks straight up. My niece told me she looks like a boy. (My niece is only 7, but still.)

Maybe I'm just jealous. Maybe I wish my daughter had longer hair.

But I have a little confession to make. When she was younger, yes--I did secretly wish she had more hair. But now, when I see babies her age with gorgeous Rapunzel hair, I kind of think that they look a little too old and austere. I far prefer my baby's little wispy hairs that stick straight up.

Hey, why not embrace this? I will rebel against a culture that thinks more hair is more beautiful than no hair! I will defy a society that spends outrageous amounts of money on products that claim to make hair longer, thicker, and silkier! Less is more! We are all beautiful!

Or maybe I just think my baby is the cutest of all the babies.

Well, whatever.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Personality clashes

Nine-month-old babies have no personalities. Right? Right.

I mean, that's what I thought before I had one.

Of course, I heard what people would say. "Oh, it's amazing how they have their own little personalities right from the start!" Sure, I would think. You think that. You're pretending your baby has a personality. But come on. It's a baby. They all want the same thing: to chomp on your hair and jewelry.

(Don't get me wrong: I've always loved babies. I could not wait for my own little personality-free hair-yanking child.)

But they were right. She really does have a personality.

And it's already starting to clash with mine.

Those of you who have met my baby are probably thinking, "Whatever, Emily. There is no possible way your good-natured little angel could ever clash with you." And you would mostly be right. (I'm not being sarcastic here.) I mean, she doesn't really get upset with me. She just gets a little exasperated.

(Yeah, babies can get exasperated. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.)

I can be kind of an intense person. I try to tone it down around other adults, because I don't want to seem like a crazy lady, but I let loose when it comes to my daughter. I mean, I've been waiting years to have my own baby to smother with kisses, and goshdarnit I'm going to kiss that baby! I'm going to kiss her all I want!

I can tell that, while there's not much she can do about my kisses, she's sometimes thinking, "Please, Mom. Just give me some space. I can't work on chewing this fascinating toy when you're smooching my adorable chubby cheeks."

It's a glimpse into her teenage years. I'll be crowding her, trying to cheer her on in everything and asking whether she's done her homework and giving her more chores to do to build her character. I will be obsessed with molding her into a wonderful human being, when she'd probably be wonderful all on her own if I would just let her be.

Call me crazy, but I think I already know what she's going to be like. She's focused, but quite easygoing. She already thinks about other people--since she was born, I've had the sense that she tries to be cheerful even if she doesn't feel it. Although I believe in firm discipline and character-building and whatnot, I can't help but believe (maybe just because I'm her mother) that my daughter is naturally a perfect person.

(Hey! You parents of older children--stop laughing!)

But I can't help it. I'm obsessed with her. As much as I believe in hands-off parenting, I can be a bit of a smothering mom. It's not because I'm worried about her; it's because I just can't stop myself.

I'm a bit of an extrovert, and when I'm cooped up in the house with a baby most of the day, a lot of my energy lands on the baby. My daughter, on the other hand, is a very low-energy person. She has plenty of excited moments like any other child, but she likes to play alone in her crib, she sleeps a lot, and she get overstimulated and overtired easily.

It probably doesn't help that her mom is constantly trying to make life more fun and get more stuff done and enjoy every moment with this darling little baby. I just can't leave her alone.

I never thought about this stuff before my baby was born. I just thought that she would automatically like me, because, you know, I'm her mom. But I have to consciously think about how to meet her needs and get along with her. I have to tell myself to take a step back every once in a while.

It's almost like she's a real person, or something.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Why making friends as a young mom is so hard.

Probably my biggest complaint about life these days is how hard it is to make friends.

I've never had a problem with this before. Since I was a kid, making friends has been easy. And why not? There have always been opportunities to make friends. I was surrounded by peers in school and in extracurricular activities, and those opportunities tripled when I went to college and all life was about was making friends.

The olden days, when I had friends.

My life now looks like sitting at home with a baby all day. (It doesn't help that we have only one car, and my husband usually needs it for work.)

I really do my best to get out when I can, and it's a lot easier now that Rhonda is older. But it's still tough to have my baby and husband as my sole company most days. It's a big change from college life, when I'd interact with dozens of people every day.

I've tried to find other moms to make friends with, but I seem to be the only person in my town who has this issue. A lot of other women are just busy, busy, busy. Everyone has jobs and kids and activities. People just don't have time for friends.

Sometimes I think, "Why don't I just do what they do and get a job or something?" The trouble is, I don't actually want a job right now. I want to take care of my baby and work on my writing. I can't even bear the thought of leaving Rhonda with someone else while I work, especially when we don't need the money.

I don't want to be busy, busy, busy. I know that I have a tendency to get too caught up in to-do lists and forget the most important things, and I want to take the time to savor the slowness of my life right now. I want to pay attention, because I can already feel this special time with my baby slipping away as she starts to grow into toddlerhood. I want to be involved in things that are important, but not at the expense of the things that are most important.

I guess I am a little jealous that everyone else is so busy. Sometimes it feels like the world is passing me by. It makes me want to get my hands dirty and get stuff done out in the world.

It would be nice if I had someone else around who was dealing with the same kind of stuff. Wanting more than anything to focus on raising her kids, but feeling the internal pressure to be more than just a mom.

I can't remember ever feeling left out in my life. I could always find a group of friends that liked me.

But I guess no matter how old you are, you can get the feeling that everyone has a life but you.