Tuesday, October 27, 2015

I kid you not!

Before I got married, I earnestly believe that having kids would be a cinch mainly because I love kids. At least, that's what I told myself back then : the loving kid part, that is.  

As a singleton, I did find children adorable, cute and all things nice. I had yet to, however, fully comprehend the commitment, dedication and responsibility that come with being a mother. Admittedly, I had a somehow fairly weak grasp at motherhood, since I only experienced it second-hand through handling of other people's kids.

Even though there were my eldest sister's children to help taking care of, the tasks only involve watching over and playing with them while their mother did other chores, or holding them in my arms when the request came up. There were no diaper-changing (I usually just hovered over them) or meal-spoonfeeding (I just amused myself with their seemingly cute antics at the dining table) duties to worry about. 

I did envy those who are a natural when it comes to interacting with children. Kids swarm to these so-called 'child whisperer' without hesitation or second thoughts. More often than not, I still needed to warm up to a kid in order for he or she to open up to me. This natural affinity to children sure comes in handy when these kid-charmers do have their own offspring, was my wise deduction. 

On the other hand, those whom I have observed as non-kid lovers, or are in general awkward, indifferent or cold with children, would have a hard time raising a kid. 

All these supposedly airtight hypotheses fail to, however, hold water once you have a child (or more). When a child comes into the picture, every prediction just go down the drain!

Post-kids, I know of 'kid whisperers' who struggle to maintain a healthy balance of discipline and affection, for instance. And there are cases where non-kid lovers immensely dote on their children after a protracted, awkward period of adjustment to a baby. 

Also, there are people like me, who are overwhelmed by a presence of a new person to whom they are entrusted to take care of until he or she is able to leave the house and make a living of his or her own. 

It dawned on me, a fortnight (or so) after my firstborn's arrival, that this cherub is someone who will be accompanying us in our life's journey. We are a family unit now. No longer just a couple.

To be fair, I did have an inkling that a baby makes three (duh!); I just wasn't prepared with how formidable the task is in becoming a mother. In a way, I did suffer a period of mild postpartum blues as I slowly gathered the mental strength and physical energy to assume the new coveted role. (The prolonged labour also had a hand in contributing to the doldrums, but that's another story.)

Fortunately, my beady-eyed baby girl was relatively easy to handle, notwithstanding my initial clunkiness in nursing, holding, wrapping, burping, changing, and cleaning a teeny human being.

There was also my experienced husband to fall back on, and family members who were more than willing to show me the ropes, whether I liked it or not.

Undoubtedly, hiccups and blunders occurred, running the gamut from feces trail to falling off the bed with a loud thud. When the latter happened more than once, I couldn't help but to inwardly think that I wasn't cut out for this role.

That depressing prospect then voluntarily vanished as I looked at my baby's innocent face and promised myself to do better and better. Because I realize if I don't step up, no one else will. Who else will be there for them, if not their own fledgling parents? 

Sometimes, I wish having kids comes with a manual. One manual for each child since not one person is ever alike (unless you're a clone) and has his or her own idiosyncrasies, traits and personality which you have to bear with. Different approaches and methods must be precisely utilised in order to favourably gain an alliance. 

Alas, nothing is ever really cut and dry. You have to be ready for any eventualities, despite your own physical, emotional and mental limitations. There will always be that one last drop of energy left, even though you have told yourself otherwise. Because that's what being a parent is. You suddenly develop a motherly (fatherly) intuition you never know possible, and equip yourself with extra-sensory (not to mention, sensitive) powers to circumvent any harm to your lineage.

Regardless the back story as to how you normally treat a child before having one yourself, you are never actually prepared in every sense of the word until you do have and raise one. Your own unique and exciting adventure into motherhood will begin; it is up to you to either embrace it or give it up. 

And if you are up for it, I guarantee that it will be one for the books! Your very own, your pride and joy, whether you want to share it with the world or not.

Amid the ups and downs of motherhood, you'll soon come to another realization : how you have started to sound like your own mom. Familiar phrases that she had uttered to nag you into cooperation will come to light. You will then stop dead in your tracks and say out loud, "Oh no, I sound like my motherrrr!" 

My current favourite usage : "That's not something you say to the one who gave birth to you."

Let's see what it will be next year. 

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