I took to motherhood like a kid to a swimming pool. Basically with a lot gasping and clinging and crying for mommy. And quite like the kid in the swimming pool the following summer, I hit my stride and began to enjoy myself, splashing around, a little incredulous at how much fun this could be.
By year three, it was as if a veil had lifted (or the fog cleared off my TYR goggles...to keep up with the metaphor) and I could see with some clarity that motherhood wasn't as scary anymore.
First of all there was less poop. Lets face it. Even those with the thickest of rose-tinted motherhood glasses cannot seriously be in love with potty cleaning. There are those who profess undying love for cloth nappies, but it's possible that they are in denial. Personally, I think sliced bread and Band-Aid are pale in comparison to the best modern day invention --Disposable Diapers. I am as well aware as any liberal, educated, middle class person that disposable diapers are non-biodegradable and clogging up the earth. I am also certain that the answer to this problem does not lie in poop-hugging, furiously scrubbing, water wasting cloth nappies but in funding more research to make affordable biodegradable diapers. And that will happen. Glossy magazines and articles on page 20 of newspapers tell us that more and more men are now active participants in childcare. As soon as a critical mass of men find themselves holding a stinky nappy at arms length, research grants will pour in.
But I digress.
And that's the other thing. I have learned the art of getting back on the road after careening off of it every now and then, and making it look cool. Kinda like those drivers in the Himalayan Car Rally. Its a special kind of skill you acquire when everyone thinks you are listening to their heartaches or advice, when your only thought is, "Where can I find three square feet of space in this mess to put down the baby so I can go off to pee". You learn to hop out of conversations and jump back in.
In the early days of motherhood, I had felt like a character from an animation series (specifically Homer Simpson from The Simpsons), falling head first into a bottomless pit. The debris of daily life (bottles, butt-wipes, rattles, teethers) falling faster all around me. It was overwhelming, fast and noisy.
By year three, the parachute opened up. The birds started to sing again and I landed with a gentle boing-boing on the grassy greens of life. Dear well-meaning husband who had been huffing and puffing and trying to catch up all this while, finally did. The baby wanted to get away from me, which was fine by me, really! There was a sense that things could, and indeed would, return to normal. At some point. Very soon.
You know how if you shut your eyes real tight and then open them, you see bright, colourful flairs. I think motherhood in year three is like that. Suddenly you see halos everywhere, especially around the little cherub's head. I haven't done any formal research (I haven't had the time you see) but my observational guess is that mothers spout the most exuberant clichés when their kids turn three. I know I did. I even said, "They grow up so fast, don't they?" This was that one sentence that had previously made no sense to my rational, scientifically inclined, though somewhat sci-fi addled brain. Now I was saying it all over the place -- at the park, at a birthday party, in the mall, at the zoo (while pointing to a baby Rhino) and even at a wedding to the bride's mom -- "Sigh! They grow up so fast, don't they?" I said getting misty eyed. At which point my husband did that thing he does where he clutches my elbow and makes slow tugging movements to get me away from an embarrassing situation quietly.
From the corner of my eye, I can see my friends who are mothers of teenagers waving. Or are they crying for help? I have been told that it gets tough around teenage again. Oh well. When it comes time, I will deal with it. I am sure it can't be worse than a disturbing deja vu. Right?
Until then -- year three rocks, because really, they grow up so fast, don't they?