Oh my goodness. It’s been so long since I last posted that I actually forgot how to log in!
I’m sorry. No, I truly am. Life got busy. I really mean it. The last time I *actually* did any updating here was to my “About Me” page, and I wrote in there that on November 19th, 2013, my other half and I welcomed our son Jakob into the world.
YAAAAAAAS! PrimalPat became a Mama!
“They” were right. Having a kid changes everything.
I’ve never known severe lack of sleep until I became a mother. College was a joke. Four hours of sleep? No problem. I do not remember the first few months of Jake’s life because of how wrecked on sleep I was. There was crying. A lot of crying. Not just Jake. But his mother and I especially.
“WHY WON’T YOU SLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP?”
I remember driving home from a physiotherapy appointment and veering off the side of the road. This is not a joke! Lack of sleep has serious repercussions!
A few days after Jakob was born, one of our midwives, Allison commented:
“Lack of sleep has been shown to cause brain damage”.
Oh? What fixes it?
OH YEAH. THANKS, TIPS.
Parenting tests every single possible human trait one possesses. Your patience will never be more pushed. Your frustration will never be more ready to reach a fever pitch. Your level of vulnerability threatens to crumble at any mention in the news, television or even a movie about something awful that happened to a child. Children break your heart.
And you will never, ever feel such pure, perfect joy.
The day after Jakob was born wifey, myself and our little man were moved into a different room. Wifey and I hadn’t slept in days. We were in a haze of sleep-reduced numbness. But there were numerous times, whilst watching my wife with our son, that I started to cry, uncontrollably, not even being completely aware of my raw emotion seeping from my eyeballs.
“OH MY GODDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD HOW IS IT I LOVE A LITTLE HUMAN LIKE THIS SO MUCH???!?!!?!?!?!!? YOU JUST GOT HERE. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME. I CAN’T STOP CRYINNNNGGGGGGGG!”
Children break your heart. If you are free and open with emotion, wearing your heart on your sleeve like yours truly, prepare to be broken open.
I have a video captured from my iPhone of Jake’s first real honest laughing fit. I was acting like an ape (no, seriously) in the kitchen, flailing my arms about and generally being a goofball. And Jake was sitting in his mother’s lap, laughing hysterically. The video is shaky because I myself could not stop laughing. A baby’s laugh is severely infectious and its main ingredient is effortless joy.
Babies live in the moment. They don’t ruminate. They don’t worry about bills. They don’t fret over what brand of baby wipes are being used on them. They don’t worry that their diaper is full of shit. Or meconium. The world is enormous and captivating. They watch intently as you interact with them. They think the most random things…like ripping paper…or pushing your face aside with their hand is the funniest thing imaginable.
I’ve perfected my impression of the muppet known as Animal. My favourite Muppet, ever. Screaming “WOMAN! WOMAN! AHHHHH! MICHELLE! WOMAN! ANIMAL!” gives Jake the giggles. It’s really fun making a little kid laugh. It taps into your own inner child.
You remember your own inner child, don’t you? The one that didn’t care that it was minus 21 degrees in the middle of January, and you were busy sitting in your snow fort during recess? The inner child that freely expressed itself, busted a move at a moments’ notice, sang exuberantly along with your favourite Disney movie (The Little Mermaid, anyone? Oh, you’re a Lion King fan. I get it) and played outside?
Playing outside? Do kids do that anymore?
There’s a group of little girls on my street who are outside the very second the temperature rises above 6 degrees celsius. And they stay out for hours. They adore Jake. They come over running when one of us is outside with him. We’ve taken to calling them his fan club. They fawn and swoon over him.
“Ohhhhh, he’s sooooooooo cute!” they say.
He is sweet. He shares his cookies. We never taught him how to share. Cookies are “KAKA!” which he says in a soft whisper, as if it is a secret code word, and the cats better not find out. He points toward the kitchen and says:
One “kaka” is not enough. He must double fist. His little cheeks threaten to burst with a wide grin that spreads from ear to ear, a “kaka” in each hand. Dare cookies are AMAZING. He chomps on his kakas, chocolate cookie crumbs all over his little face as he wobbles over to me on the couch, shoving a piece of kaka in my face, smiling broadly.
“Oh, THANK YOU Jake! OM NOM NOM!”
He smiles, ever so proud of himself and hobbles away.
Have I changed? Oh yes.
My tolerance for bullshit dropped about 1,736,927 points. The stupidly and banality of every day life that used to stir intense anxiety is meaningless. I have better, far more important things to fret about.
Growing up in a divisive family meant I felt very alone much of the time. Family can utterly destroy and disappoint, reject and abandon. When you begin your own family, you tell yourself it is going to be different. When you see the rage your own parents expressed boiling in your chest, it’s terrifying and reality sets in.
“I will not be like my parents”.
It’s impossible to avoid being like your parents. Children model what they see around them. And who do they see for a large percentage of their waking time? Their parents. Parenting is tough, nail-biting, sleep-destroying, limit-pushing stuff. We ought to remind ourselves of our very own inner child that did not give any fucks about “childish things”. Oh, the irony.
Our children remind us to be present, to be fully mindful. Do yourself a favour and breathe. Be in the moment with your kiddo. Remind yourself you will not be like your parents, by being full aware in the moment. By being more like them. Revelling in joy, in new discoveries, in wonder and awe.
“Truly I say to you, if you do not become like little children, you will not enter the Kingdom of God”
– Matthew 18:3
Yes, I just quoted the Man from Nazareth. If the Kingdom of God is a state of pure Being, of total presence and awareness, then children lead the way.
Be like little children.