Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Camping is Not for Babies

When Mike and I made the decision to begin trying to get pregnant, we had several "Are we sure we're ready?" conversations. We discussed our situations in regards to finances, deciding we were as ready as we would ever be. If everyone waited until they could 100% afford a child, none of us would have been born. We were as ready as we'd ever be. We discussed what it would to to our relationship. Since all of our parents lived out of state, we knew having a baby would change our lifestyle more than it would a typical couple because we would have no access to babysitters or helpers. This meant our life of trips to Fenway and random nights out would end. We worried about how our friends would react to adding a new member to our circles of friends and about or social lives.

Liam keeps us so happy and busy that I barely have time to miss our former life. Mike and I went to Fenway once this year. I can't tell you anything about the Sox record this year besides "third place," "plagued by unjuries," and "suck." He and I have been out three times in six months without the baby. We're happier sitting around the fire in our backyard after Liam goes to bed. Although we worried about our relationship, I feel we are stronger because we make time for us. After Liam goes down for the night, we turn off the TV and talk. Although we don't get to go out on dates, we make our marriage a priority and it is working for us.

I knew our relationship would change after the baby. I knew motherhood would change my body. I am surprised at how much it changed me as a person. Maybe this is in combination with the events of the last few months as well. One will never know how much of this change is the result of Liam alone and how much is the result of Liam, the flood, and my mom. My "old" house used to be so clean that I could put it on the market any given day and have it show room ready in less than an hour. Now, I have baby centers around the house. These pretty baskets have wipes, burp clothes, toys, and other things I may need at a second's notice. Because we eat dinner outside most evenings, allowing Liam to play or simply enjoy watching the trees dance, I noticed that our dining room table had dust on it.

Mike and I worried about how Liam would handle his first camping trip. With the exception of dreading "jokes" about Mike being a pussy for not drinking as much as he used to, we weren't worried about us. (For the record, he's not a pussy, he's a dad who went on a diet.) We spent the bulk of the trip watching our friends read. They even used lights to keep reading after the sun set. We were not expecting this. Since our tent was farthest away so Liam could sleep and nap in a quiet environment, I had to walk sixty feet every time I needed to change a diaper or make a bottle. My new found messiness did not impress others nearly as much as it did my husband and I felt awful that people kept cleaning up after me. At home, I can leave a cup of coffee out for a little bit if Liam decides he is hungry or leave wipes next to my chair so I don't have to get up every ten minutes because Liam drools like a basset hound. (Mike may be the only husband who smiles when he comes home to find dishes in the sink, an unfolded basket of laundry in the living room, and Liam and I playing outside.) There was a menu that was discussed before we left. Mike reached for a bagel on Sunday afternoon and was reminded that they were for breakfast tomorrow. We've become scavengers at times, eating whatever without worry that it is for a specific meal. After Liam had a terrible meltdown due to being overtired, I was left to eat dinner alone watching everyone read. Given a choice between watching everyone's head in a book and watching my son, I took my burger to the tent. I took many walks with Liam. It was not a bad trip, but it was very clear that Mike and I had changed in the past year. Reading was not an option when you have a six month old. It was a crash course to teach us how much our lives had changed inthe past year.

It is funny that we were worried about Liam and he did better than we did. I am not at all angry at my friends. That was their perfect, relaxing camping trip and they are more than entitled to it. It is by no means their job to entertain us. Mike and I learned that camping with a baby is a lot of work. We have a grill and a firepit in our backyard. We are more than happy to spend an eveing enjoying those things and sleep in our own comfy beds. Mike and I can go to George Washington park for the day for $2 and enjoy hiking, walking on the beach, and a picnic lunch without having to worry about packing two carloads of supplies for ourselves and baby. We won't have to worry about keeping his quiet for three hours if we wakes up at 5am.

It is ironic that Mike and I worried about how parenthood would change our bank accounts, nightlife, house, body (only me on that one), and relationship. We never wondered how it would change us as people. I have been worrying less and less about the house being picture perfect and prefering to spend times swinging with Liam or playing "mama gym" and letting him climb over me. I don't worry about having nice clothes. I rotate three pairs of shorts and two pairs of jeans, one pair of shorts being a comfy maternity pair from last summer. I don't worry about going out to dinner and making fancy meals. We prefer enjoying time with my family and then making omlettes, putting a lunch meat sundwich together, or inhaling cereal when we finally realize we're hungry.

I wouldn't change it for anything. It's been quite a journey.

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