Oh, the first kiss. Remembering some strange awkward boy who I met on Kelleys Island, and how he licked my face. It was an epic fail. Slobber ran down my chin and my gut reaction was to push him away and run. Gross, unromantic, and terrified are the words to summarize this milestone. Parenting feels similar. My first child has provided many gross and terrified moments. This is my first child and I truly have no idea what I am doing, much like my first kiss.
Maternity leave was romanticized as a bonding experience. It was not. Before having a child, and on most days now, I visualized moments where my child and I would sit learning important life lessons. I didn’t realize the first life lesson would be plunged upon me shortly after he was born. I had to teach him to eat. After being handed a tiny bottle with a red nipple, I was told he needed to learn how to suck so he could be taught how to eat. No one prepared me for this first. It never crossed my mind that he wouldn’t know how to eat. Within the first week of bringing him home, I knew I had to readjust my thinking. Because the baby I had imagined spending my maternity leave with was more on the 8 month old baby level and not the newborn we had brought home. Newborn baby was way different than the 8 month old baby.
Eight month old baby could sit up and crawl around. He was aware to some extent of his surroundings. Newborn baby couldn’t even hold his head up. As a first time parent, I was unaware these things would have to be learned over time. A lot of firsts followed. I didn’t know you had to suck out their boogers because they didn’t know how to pick their nose or blow out boogers. We are now reaching the point where a finger is finding the way up his nose. I try to tell him it’s a private thing and we shouldn’t do that in public. I have to teach him about picking his nose. I am on the fence about whether a car is a private or public place, it seems to be where I witness many strangers participating in a private activity.
These kind of human behaviors go along with other disgusting things like teaching him what poop and pee actually mean. Son stands up in bath tub. I ask “do you need to use your potty?” He shakes his head “no.” Then he does it. He just pees while shaking his head “no” in the bath tub. I reconcile again, he must be taught about bodily functions. Everything to him is a constant learning experience and he is discovering their meanings and the appropriate words.
My son started day care last week. He goes for two days because I want him to become socialized. It is yet another lesson for him. He is not the only little person his age and there are many other little people just like him in the great big world. Plus since he is our only child and the only grandchild on both sides of his family, lessons in sharing along with how to treat others is a good experience for him. After his first two days of daycare, our family was treated to another first. We let him out of his bubble and within two days he was sick.
On his second day at daycare, we had to fill out an incident report. My child bit another kid. I am pretty sure the kid he chose to bite got the last laugh as my child has slung green and yellow snot EVERYWHERE. And both of his ears are infected. He could have also obtained the disease from licking another kid’s shoe, or finding some half eaten food on the floor which is something he just always has to eat. Who really knows where he got it. But it was another first for us. Since he hasn’t learned to properly blow his nose yet, he just uses his hand, or a sleeve, or a blanket, or his pillow, or the couch, or any place he feels like rubbing his infection all over the house. Within a few short days, we were all infected.
From each experience, I am constantly reminded I am a first time parent and I have no idea what I am doing. And since our son is our first little human, he is learning right along with us. He doesn’t know either. He won’t know until he is taught things like how to blow his nose, or what pee pee actually means. He doesn’t understand enough to say “Hey guys, I just had the biggest blow out in my pants so we are gonna be late for our play date. And Mom, I left some on your sleeve so you might want to change too.” Nobody in this house has any idea what we are doing. We are flying down first kiss lane at a rate of a thousand miles per hour.