Saturday, December 25, 2010

Grace's First Christmas

Grace has successfully survived her first Christmas.  Christmas Eve was at Grandma's - fully stocked with toys for Grace, outrageous amounts of food for us, and laughs to be enjoyed by everyone.  Following that we had Christmas morning at our place (at 6am - when Grace was ready to party), and then it was back to Grandma's for more festivities.  Finally, we concluded our Christmas merriment at Great Grandma's/Aunt Linda's.  There, Grace received lots more great gifts while Momma and Daddy mowed down what seemed like a truck full of food.  Gotta love Polish Christmas!
Cute as a Button!
With Grace's first Christmas officially behind us, I have found myself a bit reflective.  Last year this time, Christmas was a somewhat hectic affair.  Only days before the annual celebration, we discovered that were expecting.  I should remind those who don't know that this pregnancy wasn't predicted.  With very little planning and several fears, 2009's Christmas was somewhat of a blur.  The only thing that was certain was our never ending list of "parent-to-be" anxieties.   Where would we be next year?  Who would be with us? How would we handle it? 

Although I'd always foreseen myself becoming a mother at some point in my life, 23 wasn't where I had thought the adventure would start.  I had pictured myself married, possibly working in a field I was both successful in and enjoyed, and ideally in a mansion. I realized that the mansion part was a bit of a stretch, but I figured if Barbie could do it, why couldn't I? From a young age, little girls wish themselves to be the grown ups instead of the babies.  They leave the reality of their childhood behind and focus on playing "Mommy" themselves.  Between Barbie dolls and baby dolls who actually wet diapers, little girls don't stand a chance.  I must admit, I myself was romanticized by the notion of motherhood.

It wasn't until high school that pregnancy and motherhood changed its form once again.  For high school students, pregnancy was thought to be something that happened if you weren't careful.  Child development classes preach the seriousness of motherhood and childbearing, going as far as to offer simulation dolls aka "Baby Think It Over".  These dolls cry every two hours, require frequent feeding and changing, and generally make catching any sleep during the night - utterly impossible. The dolls operate on a magnetic system.  The bottles and diapers both contain magnets and once they reach the opposing magnet, in either the baby's mouth or bottom - the need is satisfied and the baby stops crying.  By the end of my week long stint with "Baby Think It Over", I had realized that if you put the diaper over the baby's head, the crying never started and the need for frequent feedings wasn't necessary.  Needless to say - the idea of becoming responsible for a non magnetic, real life baby, was a bit dicey.  (My mother may disagree, but I remain that I was actually quite intelligent to have cracked the magnet case.  AND I received an A+ for the assignment)

Any how, the realities of parenthood were something I'm not sure any book or doll can prepare you for.  For example, how could I have prepared myself for the trials and tribulations I would experience during a routine diaper change. As I've mentioned before, Grace's favorite way to be is nude and when she gets the chance to sport her pudgy little birthday suit, she takes full advantage.  Between the squealing and wiggling (and if I'm lucky -a surprise pee cascade),  fastening the diaper can be quite the challenge.  Picture stuffing an octopus into a set of bagpipes -and you've got Grace during a diaper change.

From what I've gathered, babies are ever changing and just as you think you've caught on, they change.  Although Grace wasn't planned for, we wouldn't trade her for the world. This Christmas marked the newest expansion of our family.  Watching the joy she brings to every member of our families is amazing.  Her little eyes looking intently on her new presents and everyone around her was just priceless. 

 As Daddy snores on the couch and Gracie slumbers in her crib, I believe it is time for this Santa Mama to settle into bed herself.  

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