Today was Pumpkin's 9 month check up. She's gotten so big! The doctor said she is growing just fine, which is a bit surprising considering that she is constantly going through spells of refusing solids, and has a distressing tendency to throw up whenever she gets a cold (this is apparently due to the crud sliding down the back of her throat, and the doctor says it is nothing to worry about, but then, she doesn't have to do my laundry).
Anyway, my little baby is not so little anymore. She can reach the top of the dining room table, and if she stands on tippy-toes, she can peer over it (which is really cute) and whine because she can't reach whatever shiny thing is on it (which is a little less cute, but still rather endearing).
I brought Pumpkin home from her check up, and while I watched her happily play with the DVDs we never have time to watch anymore, I thought about how quickly she is growing up. This will obviously be a recurring thought for the next 2o years or so. But I also thought about how I am growing up. I can't help but chuckle/wince at that last sentence because before Pumpkin was born, I thought I was already grown up. I'd done all the grown up things, like live on my own and hold down a steady job.
I don't know how to say this without sounding insulting to the people who aren't parents but clearly are grown ups*, so I'll just say what I'm thinking. It is my blog, after all, and as far as I know, the only people who read it are also mothers. Motherhood is taking me to a whole new level of grown up, one where I have had to learn how to put my wants (and frankly, several of my needs) on hold for this little creature who is so dependent on me. Really, I never thought I'd need someone else's permission to pee once I left school.
I'm being facetious, but the serious fact remains- motherhood is teaching me skills beyond how to change a diaper on a squirming baby and how to clean vomit off of most surfaces. Pumpkin doesn't always do what I want, and she certainly doesn't listen to logical arguments. (Just tonight, I tried to reason with her about the fact that she was clearly very tired and needed to go to sleep, and not crawl around in her crib, but to no avail.) I'm learning how to handle the fact that there are things I very much want to be able to do (such as get Pumpkin down for naps reliably) that I just can't figure out how to do, no matter how much I study. I'm forced to experiment, but on an ever-changing subject, and not in a controlled manner. There are too many variables, and no way to hold most of them constant.
The things that make me happy are different, too, and I seem to need to relearn that often. I forget how much fun it is to just get down on the floor and play hide and seek or peekaboo with Pumpkin. I try to get chores done rather than play with her during our time at home before Daddy comes home. Of course, she lets me know that I am doing the wrong thing- she crawls over to me and pulls on my pant leg until I pick her up and dance, or come over and play. When I do, I find myself laughing and happy, and can't believe I thought unloading the dishwasher was more important than this. Really, nothing I do is more important than playtime with Pumpkin.
The rules of my life have changed, and I think its time to admit that some of the unsettled feelings I'm having lately are due to growing pains.
*In fact, I'm sure that there are other ways to learn the things I'm learning from parenthood, and that there are other levels of "grown up-ness" that other types of life experiences teach.