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5 Questions You Never Ask...

For Mothers Everywhere (pardon me this angry rant, but please comment and add any 'others' I may have missed!!)

Number 1: "Are you pregnant"?
I never believed that someone would have the gall to ask this question until it happened to me...when I was NOT pregnant. Actually, what she said was, "you are not pregnant, are you?" or something slightly more innocent sounding, but equally horrifying. I remember my reply...uh, no. Then she said, "that is a terrible thing to say, isn't it?" and I said, uhh, yes, it is. Then I walked away. I have heard these accounts from many of my friends, both those who have just had children and some who have not had children. Now I believe that there are people dumb enough to ask this question. And 90% of the time, it is a woman who asks, which makes it worse. Men we can shake off, like, well, they must not know what a pregnant woman would look like. Women should know better. I still want to slap the woman upside the head who said it to me, and if I see her, I just might. Basically, unless a woman is buying baby supplies AND she looks like she is about to give birth on the floor, don't ever ask this question. Even then, tread lightly. Otherwise, wait for her to say it, then respond.

Number 2: "Is she (i.e. your baby) still not sleeping through the night?"
Unless you have a child who is five and still not sleeping through the night, don't ask this. Especially if you follow it with a gushing remark like, ohh, my baby was sleeping through the night at only 10 weeks old, it was sooooo easy. In fact, any comparisons like this should probably be left unsaid. It sounds condescending and judgmental. It also implies that the mother looks exhausted and so you assumed that her child must be wearing her out. You know what assuming does, right?

Number 3: "How much did you gain during your pregnancy?"
Women do not like to discuss their weight, in case you hadn't noticed. Especially discussing the time in most of our lives when we have weighed the MOST...it is not exactly enjoyable conversation. Unless you are a very, very good friend or our mothers, do not go here.

Number 4: "Is he circumcised?"
If you know the mother or father to be vocal advocates of this topic, then fine. Otherwise, I find it a bit intrusive to be asked this question. Discussing this with your pediatrician, family, or friends is OK, but with strangers, not so much. Asking someone what they are thinking about it before the baby is born seems innocuous, because they can answer with "I just don't know" if they want to, but asking after the fact about someone's decision on their child's body parts is a little too much. Especially if you just met in a birth class or at the park.
I could add "Who's the father?" to this list as well, because asking that is just plain rude. I don't know many in this position as single mothers, but again, I have heard accounts of people asking this. If you are not close enough to know, then you shouldn't know.

Number 5: The question that has really infuriated me personally is this: it seems sweet at first, "How old is he/she?"
You answer, "14 months." You are expecting some sweet reply like, 'what a darling', or 'he's so cute', or 'enjoy it'. Replies you have heard many times. But instead, this person chooses to say, "Really? My God, he only looks like he's about 9 months old!" Or the other way, they say, "wow, she's so big! my 2 year old granddaughter is her size!" Not cool, people, not cool. Thinking you can size up another person's child's age is just not helpful. Plus if the parent has worries about their child not eating well, or being overweight, you just add to their worries unnecessarily. I used to want to trip those people who guessed my son's age in the airport or at the mall. "How old is he", they would say, "seven months?" "No, he's ten months." "Really? He's so small!" Gee, thanks, and you're ugly. That's what I should have said. :)

Posted by globalmomma 17:30 Archived in USA Tagged friend best sleep child baby questions weight age rude pregnant pediatrician Comments (0)

Constant love

Ahh, it is nice to be "home-ish".  Getting back to our comfortable apartment today was a long anticipated reward after that last painful 24 hours. Tonight as I am singing my son to sleep I am thankful for a safe journey and the ability to be in this place I enjoy for one more week. Our beautiful large apartment in the historical center of Lucca.  

When my son is  falling asleep, he heats up like a furnace. His head glistens with sweat, his body radiates.  When he was a baby, I was always wondering what this meant, these flushes of heat, like hot flashes, that I would feel on occasion. Then I realized it was right before he fell asleep that he would become super-warm and emit UV rays like a little super nova beaming toward Earth. It is one of the little things you store away in your treasure chest of a memory bank, the little daily things that you notice when you are paying attention... when you are in love and yearning to know someone better every day, you recognize small bits of information like this, that you know and few others know. It is the stuff of families and relationships that makes them so rich and connected.  Often I find myself applying pieces of myself to my son. He must be cold with the air conditioning blowing on him at night, because I know I hate cold air blowing directly on me. My husband, however, always thinks our son is hot. He is always removing his shirt or jacket or shoes. When I say, what happened to the hat I put on him? He says, oh, he was hot. He thinks this because he is generally warm.  We both have to continually remind ourselves that this little person is his own entity with his own likes and dislikes that are our puzzles to figure out, and he is neither him nor me, but his own little spirit. 

It is remarkable how much of me has changed in this last year and a half. My person has changed, my focus has changed, relationships are different, body is different, mind is definitely different. There are times I wonder who this new woman is, and what she did with the old me. I worry more. I am more careful. I am always considering what is best for this little person above what I want to do, often compromising and altering plans. I am no longer a separate independent unit, but I feel forever that a part of me is split and goes wherever my son goes. It is too simplistic to say that he carries a part of my heart with him. Instead I think it is part of my whole, part of my soul that goes with him. I am reminded of a time years ago, when I asked my Dad what it meant to love someone. 'How do you know when you are in love?' He thought for a moment before answering, then he said, "Loving someone is always wanting their happiness more than your own". At the time, I didn't get the profundity of that statement. I thought, 'Really? That's it? No magic, no one-and-only? All you have to do is want what is best for someone? That's a dull answer.' But now I understand it 100%, and think it was really the best description of true love that I have ever heard.

It is that simple, and that incredibly difficult all at once, to love someone so much that you wish their contendedness and joy above your own. I can feel that love within me now... That carefree independent me is gone, and this deeper, more connected yet more serious me has emerged. She has to choose new clothes, new ideas, new reflections of herself, just as she needs to be patient as old relationships adapt and form around this new person. I cannot expect my relationships and feelings to stay the same, just as I cannot expect old clothes to fit the same and feel the same. They
have to be adapted to this new self as she is growing and evolving. Love requires continual evolution and growth to survive, and the best way to do
this is to tell the truth about who you are, and to see the other for who they have become.

Posted by globalmomma 08:34 Archived in Italy Tagged new love child lucca relationships personality Comments (0)

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