My children have definitely changed me. The temper that I have dealt with my whole life is being chipped away, because the stakes are finally high enough for me to gather the control to handle it. The patience I have always lacked is finally increasing, because a two year old and a baby just aren't logical or rational enough to always run on my schedule and do what I want. I now also am more aware of things on the ground, because Jill will inevitably pick up everything she sees to show it to me. And I realize that there is rarely a situation so bad that smiles from my smart Jill and my chunky Danny can't improve it. (I am sure that Danny is smart, too, but at almost seven months, his chubs are a pretty dominant characteristic.)
However, children have also changed me perhaps for the worse. Poop is now a common conversation topic, and it definitely never was before. My body used to be mine and carefully covered at all times. The past three years, I've shared my body (because nursing Jill and being pregnant with Danny overlapped, I haven't had a break), and I never know when a baby might get hungry or a child might climb on my lap and bring my skirt with her! I also don't shower as often as I did before I had children, because sometimes I just don't feel like having an audience in the bathroom. (I don't know how single parents of young children survive.)
One unexpected change is overcoming a life long fear.
Have you picked up a children's book recently? I can almost guarantee that somewhere within the pages of the book (even if this animal is not a character in the book), you will see some sort of happy buzzing bumbling insect in the shape of a bee. Jill thinks bees are great. Why shouldn't she? They look so friendly in her books.
We have some salvia along the front of our house, and it attracts three different kinds of bees. One type is a very large one, so I assume it's a bumble bee. Jill calls it "Buzz Buzz" after Mickey's bee friend on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. (Thank you, Disney!) She's always looking forward to going outside to see if Buzz Buzz is there. When we water the plants, we always let Buzz Buzz know that we will "be right back" when we go to refill our watering cans.
If you know me very well, you will know that I have never been stung by a bee and that I used to live in a country that had killer bees, and those two life incidents have combined to create a paralyzing, hysterical fear of bees.
My dad almost helped me conquer it once, at least partially. We were walking in the flower gardens, here in Cincinnati actually, and there were some huge bees. I started freaking out, and he reassured me that the big ones were not the ones I had to worry about. The big ones never sting anyone. So, for the next few years I never really worried about bees, because I usually only saw, or noticed, the big ones.
Also, one great thing about marriage is that Jeffrey kills bees for me. He just takes off his ever-present baseball cap and smacks them for me. However, a few years ago, my mom informed me that we are experiencing a huge drop in bee population, so I started feeling guilty for the bees my knight in shining armor was killing for me.
And then one day I was walking with my dad again, and there were some small bees. I started to freak out, and my dad reassured me that it wasn't the small ones I had to worry about. That kind never stung anyone.
He was caught. But I understand what he was trying to do for me. :)
However, Jill is on her way to curing me, because while I not exuberant about the desire these books and shows have instilled in her to pet the "nice" bees, I am glad that she is not afraid of them, and so I have to hide my fear, because I do not want her to fear bees as well. So, hide it I do. And how long can I hide it before I conquer it? We'll see.
If you read my last post, you saw my review of The Reading Promise. Alice, when she was a little girl, was afraid of thunder and lightening storms. To cure this, her father used to get her from hiding under her covers and take her out to their large front porch. They would watch the summer storm and whenever there was a particularly loud/bright one, they would raise their arms in the air and yell, "THAT'S A GOOD ONE!"
I would like to be that kind of parent.
(Sadly, the dad did not have such luck with another fear that Alice developed later in life and shares with us in the book. A very funny fear. Read the book!) :) (Here's an NPR article about the book!)
Back to me: I never ever thought that becoming a parent might be what finally helps me get over my fear of being stung by a bee.
Do you have any irrational fears? Like that a tiny insect that has no desire to sting you if you leave it alone is out there wanting to kill you?
Jill apparently had trouble falling asleep the other day,
because when I went in to get Danny, this is how I found her!
Just a picture of Danny, happy in a swing.
Jill with some of her favorite people at the park.
When it is too hot for the park,
it is time to take a trip to see Ronald McDonald!
This was the fourth picture taken, so you can't blame some of the children for not having smiles on their faces, but honestly they all had a lot of fun. Jill was very impressive in managing to climb up in the play area. She would hike one leg up on the next level, grab the netting with her hands, and then use her upper body strength to lift her other leg up next to the leg she already had propped there.
BLOG UPDATE: Jeffrey just reminded me that only last fall (less than a year ago!), he actually persuaded me to pet a very chill bee. I had completely forgotten about it. So, here is a link to that blog post if you want to see a picture of Jeff's picture petting a bee and me discussing the event. Link
If I can forget that, I have to wonder what else I am forgetting . . .