Thursday, April 11, 2013

Lessons, Part 7

On becoming an instant expert...


Welcome to the club!

One of the most interesting (and positive, I suppose) things about starting a family is how excited OTHER people are for you.

It started before Andrei and I were even dating; friends (and family) being just desperate for me to get married. Not in a mean way like I was living a pathetic life. Just that they wanted to see me happy, in this particular area.

When we announced our engagement, I suppose single friends were just as happy for us as the marrieds. But what was interesting was that friends, already married, whom I hadn’t talked to in DECADES were suddenly “happy” for this new development in my life. Why do they finally come out of the woodwork when I’m getting married, and not getting a new job, or whatever? I think someone even said "now you're one of us!"

Well, I DO like being married. And now I do the same thing, drooling over other people’s engagement announcements and wedding photos. Not just when my friends get married, but when their siblings and cousins do the same!

BUT…even more compelling is what happens when you become a parent. Not only are you suddenly excited for everyone else having kids, but you are now an EXPERT, and you MUST SPREAD INFORMATION about anything and everything parenthood-related you have experienced. (Hence this blog series.) The urge is STRONG!

As soon as you find out you’re having/adopting a child, you start documenting the journey, and that becomes fodder for educating others later. Then of course, three seconds after you've become a parent, you’re ready to turn around and tell that friend in her 9th month just what to expect.

I often laugh at myself dishing out the advice. “Oh, I remember four months…”  “Oh, that happened to us, too.” “What worked for us was….” I can already think of a few families with babies younger than ours with whom we've discussed issues like feeding and rocking.

I also find it funny now that as soon as I see someone post an ultrasound picture or birth announcement or whatever, I find myself emitting squeals of joy. Having children must not be too bad if we are all ecstatic for our friends to join the club.

We suddenly have all the stroller models memorized and can explain the ergonomic qualities/flaws of all the leading baby carriers. But there are also the challenges of parenthood, some more publicized than others, that we gain immediate experience in. And it isn't as easy to share about some of those intimate details, whether it be health issues, changes in relationship roles, or emotions that are just blah. Nevertheless, under the right circumstances, parents love to dish out advice, whether they have 5 days or 50 years of experience under their belts.

I think it's safe to say you join the club for life! If you have any questions, feel free to ask! Hee hee. :)

5 comments:

  1. Once you join you are in for life - OH that is SO true!!!!

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  2. You had me laughing out loud at this - it's funny because it's soooo true!

    I visited my brother and sister-in-law and brand new niece in the hospital today and I had so much advice in my head I wanted to give. (On recovery, the early days with baby, etc etc) Thankfully I kept a lot of it back and let her rest! It's funny how we feel like such experts after just one baby.

    On the other hand, I know I appreciated any advice I could get, and still do :)

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    1. It's not even that I'm an expert, there's just suddenly all this information that I feel has to be used for some purpose. It's therapy!

      I like the Internet for this reason because if you need to share or find information on a certain topic, you can do it at your leisure. No unsolicited advice to ruffle anyone's feathers. And the anonymity, which is needed in some cases. But of course it's also special to experience the rite of passage in real life, with real-life friends and family.

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  3. You are right! Perhaps the only other thing about which we may be equally thrilled for another is conversion (or, for us Catholics) going into religious life - perhaps becoming a missionary!

    However, as for the "how-to" I am a backslider! Neither my husband nor I can remember a thing about starting Aidan or Lydia on solid foods - we are first time parents! I couldn't even figure out what texture the rice cereal should be. And how do you get the baby to swallow it??? We got a bit of a laugh out of our stupidity. And, I thought - well, I can just ask Elizabeth!

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    Replies
    1. Ha ha! My philosophy on solids is, "it's okay to be a delinquent." I'll message you!

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