Friday, March 5, 2010

Life in stages

I remember telling Feather Nester throughout my pregnancy that I was highly aware of the fact that pregnancy has little or nothing to do with actually having a baby. Pregnancy is about your adorable bump, and what color to put in the nursery, and figuring out how not to hyperventilate when you walk into Babies R Us to register, and getting endearing glances from strangers in the grocery store.

the baby is about how to still be nice to your spouse after three months of sleep deprivation, and how to get faster at putting all that shit in the car, and how to still feel like yourself when someone else has taken over your life, etc. And it's funny because for most of the other parts of life Step 1 is at least vaguely relevant to Step 2.

Lately I've been feeling like Step 2 (Let's call that the first year or so of life) similarly has nothing at all to do with Step 3 (Let's call that everything after, for now). Year one is mostly about survival. You're trying to keep them feed and warm and happy and pretty much trying to keep you and your spouse that way too.

But now we're at 7 months and she's sleeping and growing and exceedingly happy and I'm starting to feel like our life is settling back into it's base as well. This opens up the space for thoughts of next steps to sink in. Amazing thoughts, such as I still can't believe I get to keep you. I'm really not babysitting, you're really here to stay! And also thoughts that give you pause. Realizations about how much harder the whole thing gets as they get older.

Realizations that it's US who are responsible for teaching her about discipline, and personal responsibility, and self esteem, and thinking bigger than the naysayers, and doing things even though you're scared, and on and on. And all I have to say on that is, thank god other people have done it first. Because as little as I know about how to raise a daughter to have a good self image and to be true to herself, other people have figured some of it out. Friends and books and our own instincts.

But my whole reason for this ramble is because when the list of things we'll eventually have to think about was cycling through my head, one of the more sobering ones was sexual predators. And how to start that conversation or give them the itty bitty baby steps of life skills that can eventually lead to a conversation about it. And in one of those bizarre synchronicities of life, where you think about something and suddenly it appears, yesterday on my Google homepage the latest installment of Momversation was about just that. And then later in the day when I went to the personal blog of one of the contributors, she had posted the video she was in as well as some additional helpful ideas that didn't make it into the final cut of the video.

Thank god the whole parenting thing happens in stages. It's nice to have a little time to prepare for what's coming. Especially since there's going to be so damn much of it that we can never prepare for.

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