I’d like to think that having a baby didn’t change me. Yes, it changed me in all the usual and wonderful ways. I have more love in my heart than I ever thought possible. I feel more joy and gratitude than I have ever known. My highs are higher and my lows are lower. But at my core? I’d like to think I’m the same person.
Who is that person? I’m maybe a little loud, I can be a bit brash. I’m honest and open and giving. I laugh easily. I swear like a sailor and, well, I tend to say some really raunchy things. I’m a bit shy in new situations, but friendly. I can be slow to warm up to new people. I hate talking on the phone. I have well-informed opinions on the world around me. I pay attention and read people well. My bullshit meter is off the charts.
We all know those people who completely change when they have a baby. Every conversation is about what their little one is doing, how potty training is going, how much sleep they got last night. You know, the people who can’t hold a conversation about anything other than their kids.
I am not that person.
I got my first clue that things had changed at work. I was picking out some colored paper for a form with a co-worker, and she decided on yellow. “YELLOW!” I shrieked, clapping my hands.
“You are SO the mother of a toddler,” she deadpanned.
A few days later, my husband and I were able to get out for a date night. We went shopping for our daughter’s first birthday and then out to a bar for a few beers. It was lovely, having a night to ourselves, shopping for our daughter and celebrating this huge milestone. We thought back on the past year and the difficult years before our daughter arrived, and marveled at how far we’ve come. This was our chance to reflect, spend some time together, have some adult conversation.
“Did you ever notice that Murray doesn’t interact with ANYONE else on Sesame Street? If it wasn’t for ‘Murray Had a Little Lamb’ he’d be nothing more than a host. But she really loves him, it’s a shame that they don’t make a Murray doll. And you know, I find that Mr. Noodle kind of creepy. But I do like his brother, Mr. Noodle. And that robot! I love that robot, with the underbite?”
Sitting at the bar downtown, spending a few glorious hours outside the house by ourselves, I was rambling on and on. Not about current events or the book I was reading. Not about what was happening at work or our plans for the weekend. I was going on and on about SESAME STREET.
I stopped to catch my breath and looked at my husband. “I’m done talking about Sesame Street,” I promised.
Yeah, I’m the same person. I still have many of the qualities that I had before, with a few new ones thrown in. I am trying – TRYING – to curb my swearing. I keep my mind out of the gutter until after my daughter’s bedtime. I’m still a bit loud, but I’m thankfully starting to feel less shy in new situations. I’m trying new things. I am not quite as tuned in to the world around me and sadly, I have less time for reading.
I’m still all of the things I used to be. But these days, I’m also a person who yells out colors and numbers and shapes. I laugh more easily at silly antics. I get on down the floor and play. Yes, I have opinions on baby constipation and diaper rash and sleep schedules. And I will hold deep, meaningful conversations about Sesame Street late into the night at a bar.
It’s who I am.