By Fatimah Popal
1) Don’t call your daughters a princess. They’ll believe you only to realize years later it was all a lie. I am not living in a palace full of chefs, an au pair or two, gardeners, chauffeurs, butlers and maids, or personal dressers. Instead, I am the commoner providing these services to the two. For free.
2) I can name my tears a river. Maybe a sea. The babies cry a river. Mom tears amount to a much larger body of water.
3) Darwin was right — whoever cries the loudest gets Mom’s attention. These babies are smart; it’s all about survival of the fittest.
4) You give birth to the first child and you love them so much that you cannot imagine having more love for a newcomer. But you do. So much love. Somehow.
5) The first one is still a baby. I have to remind myself of this daily. Even though she looks like a petite cute woman in a diaper when next to the second one.
6) Double strollers are like SUVs. Maneuvering them without running pedestrians over or crashing is a sought-after skill.
7) Sometimes I excuse myself by disappearing until my husband looks up and realizes there’s no one chattering then searches the house for me as he holds two crying babies. He finds me usually curled under the sheets in bed staring into the ceiling, doing absolutely nothing, but content.
8) People ask about the possibility of a 3rd child. My response – I have two arms, one for each baby, and until I figure out how to add an extra appendage, I am good.
9) We occasionally still get the same apologetic responses from brainwashed folks – “Oh you have no sons? I’m so sorry.” No, I am sorry that you think having only daughters is unfortunate when pretty much the only difference is an anatomical one. Maybe some hormonal differences too, but nowhere enough to make us feel like we’re missing out on cleaning after a cute hungry machine who litters the house with dirty soccer socks. That was harsh – forgive me for my heavy use of stereotyping. I still think boys are great – ours brothers, nephews, husbands, fathers, etc. And, they’re needed to create females after all.
10) For some reason I was subconsciously acting like a minimalist and skimping out on all the baby gadgets and contraptions. But then the baby swing from heaven joined our family after the second baby turned a few months old and was a few decibels higher. I never saw her happier. I felt dumb.
11) There’s a whole lot of lying involved in the giving advice arena. They said second babies won’t have colic if the first one did. LIARS. It’s not nice to give false hope to sleep deprived mothers.
12) They also said babies will eventually sleep through the night. Haha. The first one still wakes up 5 times. We have a joke now when my husband asks me “what time did you get up today?” I tell him, “Which time are you referring to? 2 a.m.? 3:07 a.m.? 4:42 a.m…”
13) The love these two girls share with each other is enough to make me calm down in the middle of my fury and smile.
14) Here’s another lie – terrible twos. It’s more accurate to say, terrible 1 week, terrible 2 months, terrible 4 months, terrible colic, terrible teething every month, terrible ones…
15) My body does not belong to me. I feel like a milk machine. No wonder everyone is obsessed with the female body – it’s purely magical.
16) The babies are happiest when father and mother are happiest and both are present. They know something.
17) No matter how hard we try to make the older one trilingual, Curious George, The Cat in the Hat, Clifford the Big Red Dog win her over with their squeaky cartoon English voices.
18) Babies are the most emotionally intelligent beings out there. They know when you’re sad – there are somehow fewer juice spills and less Crayola “art” on the walls.
19) I miss life pre babies. I am not scared to say this. I miss sleeping for a long stretch, eating in one sitting, using the bathroom without a mini shadow looming over me… However, this in no way means I would give up my loves for that. Never. Ever.
20) I cannot think of a single thing that doesn’t feel different post babies. This is no exaggeration. It’s too true when they say “life changes.” Finally the advice giving folks were right about something.
21) I still shudder thinking about how a human was inside of me and now that human is my child. I have to love myself more than ever so they too can learn to love themselves which will enable them to love others.
22) God is so Great.
Fatimah Popal is an all American lady with a sprinkle of Kandahari and the scent of Rumi. Wife of a gentleman, mother to two button-nosed lady bugs, conflict resolution practitioner & IT geek, motivational speaker, bursting with creative energy & love & pouring it into the world. Despite the hecticness, lives to tell all.