- The eating habits. The penchant for pre-dinner ice cream. Hands with the sticky remnants of an illicit snack shoveled in harried secrecy. Sometimes a Cheerio falls out of his pant leg; sometimes I find a Frito in my bra. Sometimes just the thought of eating a banana makes us gag; other times, nothing short of an entire carton of strawberries will do. We want what we want when we want it, and if anything stands in our way, expect some forks to be thrown.
- The perpetually ill-fitting clothes on our continuously changing bodies. What? You outgrew your $50 baby shoes three weeks after we bought them? No kidding, I just graduated from the Could-Be-Just-Bloated early pregnancy fat pants to my full blown I’ve-Been-Eating-Pie-For-Six-Months third trimester fare. Your head outgrew your hats mid-winter? Over the past three years of pregnancies and nursing, I’ve acquired bras with cups to match the first four (FOUR!) letters of the alphabet. You feel like crying because we have to pack away your favorite Thomas shirt that you’ve chosen to wear almost every day of the week regardless of cleanliness and occasion because it’s now midriff-bearing and partially see-through? Tell that to these skinny jeans I’m hiding in the back of my closet in case my child-bearing hips get a hold of a DeLorean. In this game, the only winner is the mall.
- Let’s talk about the big wet elephant in the room that is our incapacity to hold our urine. Sometimes we pee our pants (don’t make a big deal). We also seldom make it though the night without having to go. Equipped with humanity’s weakest bladders, excepting of course the elderly and drunk, toddlers and pregos understand that pee happens. Don’t take us to that too-long church service/bumpy road trip/ Melissa McCarthy movie without expecting to make a few pit stops.
- Similarly, have you noticed that when a questionable smell erupts into a public forum, all eyes immediately throw repulsed daggers at either the toddler or the visibly pregnant woman in the room? We are both equally offended at your audacious, non-verbal accusation and would thank you to either keep your suspicions to yourself or blame the old guy. IT WAS TOTALLY THE OLD GUY!
- Remembering things is hard.
Mommy, where’s my fire truck? What’s my middle name? Where are we going? So I’m NOT allowed to jump off this table (*mid-air*)? Where are we going? What’s for dinner? Where are we going? Where’s my fire truck?
What is your second child’s date of birth? What is the name of your pediatrician? Ma’am, the ER doctors would like to examine your daughter now, so we need the name of her pediatrician. Literally name any pediatrician in the practice, it doesn’t matter. What’s YOUR date of birth? What kind of health insurance do you carry?
(Give us a minute or 20. Juice helps.)
- Finally, the earth-shattering mood swings. The fury and its unlikely friend, manic laughter. It’s the kind of rage that says, “Don’t you dare fuck with me, Mummy, because I KNOW you didn’t hear me creeping down the steps at naptime to find you watching Real Housewives with an Oreo Blizzard on your belly after you didn’t eat a real lunch and then skipped six pages in my bedtime story,” but can be assuaged by a well-timed fart joke and a 45-minute snuggle. It’s the agony searing through the experience of having the baby drip milk into your hair from her high chair while you’re picking up 17 sticky half-grapes off the kitchen floor AGAIN, and then laughing until tears flow about their take on boogers after they’ve fallen asleep ten minutes later. It may not make sense to the outsiders, and it may terrify onlookers at the grocery store, but our feelings are both very real and very big. And for the record, don’t you dare call me hormonal because WE BOTH KNOW you’re just being an asshole.
So the next time my son stabs my heart with another “I don’t love you and I don’t love your carrots!” I like to think I will have greater understanding of his outburst and be better-equipped to ride the wave of his highly complex emotions. I will be able to step back and appreciate the special bond we now share, if only for a few more weeks. I will sit down with him over a steaming plate of waffles and tacos and tell booger jokes until we pee our ill-fitting pants.