Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Happy Sam-iversary!

Someone told me recently that first birthday parties are more for the moms than they are for the babies.

My response? "Hell, yeah!"

I think of today not so much as young Master Sam's birthday as the anniversary of the day I squeezed a head the size of a canteloupe through my lady bits, coinciding with the exact moment I stopped being the size of a Hyundai. If you don't see anything to celebrate in that, go away.

Okay, I'm being facetious (sort of). It's not all about me. I really am amazed and dazzled and generally mindblown about the fact that this little person, who didn't even exist such a short time ago, has already been with us for a whole year. You know how you always hear parents saying,
"It goes by so fast"? That's because it's disturbingly true. And I'd be lying if I said that doesn't make me a little bit sad.

But that's the trade-off, right? Every day I say goodbye to the Sam that existed yesterday, because that kid is gone, vamoose, outtahere, and he's replaced by the Sam of today with his handfuls of charming new ways and habits, which I know I'll be saying goodbye to tomorrow. To be a parent is to exist in a perpetual state of anticipatory nostalgia, and if you don't think I get a little choked up every time I think about it, you are wrong, mon frere.

At the same time, though, getting to live with Sam has taught me to live in the present the way nothing else could have. I'm a planner by temperament, and while this trait is certainly useful in several aspects of parenting, its tendency to make you live primarily in the future is not helpful when you're trying to roll with the day-to-day lifestyle of the stay-at-home-mom. For that you've got to roll with the punches, because plans? Babies mock your plans. Your plans exist solely for the purpose of being mangled by derisive babies. You may as well just pass your Palm Pilot to your newborn and tell him to keep it in his diaper for all the good your lists and plans are. It's taken me a while to learn this, but that lesson has finally sunk in. It's humbling and all, but dude, after this past year I'm so humble I could probably make one of those convincing Oscar speeches that make you believe,
"Hey, I think she really IS giving her parents and God all the credit."

Hmm. Maybe this entry is all about me after all. Well, Sam can get his own blog. They're free, so it's not like he can pull out his old
"But I'm a baby. I don't have any money" excuse, because let me tell you, that one's getting pretty old.

I had this idea that I'd write a couple of lists of how things have changed since Sam came along, starting with this partial list of things that I now consider "occasional lifestyle treats" rather than "cornerstones of my existence" (note the importance of semantics in making these distinctions):
  • sleeping for more than three hours in a row
  • sleeping in, period
  • eating a hot meal
  • combing my hair more than once a day
  • wearing an outfit completely free of snot, drool, vomit, pee, or poop
  • going out after 7:30 pm
All those activities? Highly overrated. It's amazingly easy to get by without them as long as you commit yourself to thinking of them as frills rather than necessities. And the trade-off? Well, look at this list of things I've done more of in the past year than ever before in my life:
  • listening to music
  • drinking coffee
  • dancing
  • kissing
  • hugging
  • being covered with as many as five different bodily fluids at the same time
  • singing shamelessly loudly in public
  • talking to strangers
  • talking to really weird strangers
  • drinking more coffee
  • worrying
  • overcoming worries
  • bonding with super-cool women
  • laughing
  • crying
  • drinking still more coffee
  • stopping
  • smelling the roses
  • putting myself second
  • nourishing human life
  • being the absolute epicentre of someone else's existence
It's a no-brainer, really. And did you get a load of all the music and dancing and kissing and hugging? Other parents won't tell you this because they want to hog all the action for themselves, but having a baby is EXACTLY like being at a rave. And babies look hella cute in fun-fur pants and Cat-in-the-Hat hats. The look is totally 1994, but since babies weren't born back then, they just call it retro and breezily go about their business.

Happy birthday, Sam. I promise I'm fully here in the moment of being with one-year-old you, but someday you're going to be seven or fifteen or twenty-eight or forty-two, and I'm going to be there telling you about what an awesome little person you were as a one year old. And I have to admit, that sounds pretty nice, too. See you then.


Alice said...

Aw, that's awesome! Happy birthday, Sam!

Anonymous said...

Great post - I echo the sentiments completely. I found your site a while ago and have enjoyed reading about Sam's antics and your good reads. My daughter just turned one on Sunday (our EasterBunnyBirthdayGirl), and I've enjoyed the parallels in our lives - except I'm in the US and have been back at work for 6 months, so the coffee drinking and hanging out with cool women friends hasn't happened as much as I'd like.

Christine Hennebury (isekhmet/Smartmouth Mombie) said...

Happy Birthday, Sam!

Anne-Marie said...

oh Sammy Sam! It's your birthday! Congratulations on getting through the first year (mom, not Sam) - it's been a blast eh? Now you've got me thinking about

Luv, Sammy Sam
(that's sure to confuse a few people out there...)

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday, Sam! And happy one-year Samquisition, Dopp! He is such a delightful boy, and you have it 100% right about the constant changes and new world that having a baby brings. I look forward to another year of Sam stories.

Nicole Steeves said...

Oh, goodness, that made me tearful. My girl will be seven months tomorrow, and man, did she think Mommy was funny, sniffling while reading aloud from the bright little screen she loves to bang on. Happy Birthday, Sam!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Sam! It IS the biggest of all the big days ahead, with the possible exception of first-three-steps-in-a-row day and first-poop-in-the-potty day. Congratulations to your witty and entertaining parents too. Doppelganger, the phrases "anticipatory nostalgia" and "derisive babies" are going on my vocabulary high-rotation list. Mazeltov to all!

landismom said...

Great post, DG! Happy Birthday, Sam!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Sam.

My daughter is eight months. Everything you have said is the God's honest truth. Who needs 8 hours of sleep? Hell, I can (and have, many times) get by on an hour and a half and two double shots of espresso.

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday, beautiful Sam!

I have a 3-month-old baby girl, and everything you said in this post, I wish I had said myself. Congrats on one year of motherhood!

Madeleine Powers said...

Happy birthday, Sam! Smush some cake onto your face for the rest of us.

Cataclysm said...

First birthdays! I found Rian's b-day (last friday... good friday!) really kinda hard.

Wish we had planned a party just so I didn't get all sentimental! I mean, Rian took his folks out to Stella's pub for lunch, then got a big tub of ice cream for us to eat after he'd gone to bed, but other than that I had a little too much time to think of how its all going by "so fast"! But how much I'm enjoying my little dude!

Anyway. lovely post Dop!!

lazy cow said...

Love that list. There are so many great things about being a parent, it sounds like you're making the most of it. And who says you can't read a lot and have kids?
Happy birthday to your little Sam.

Violet Chrome said...

Dang ms. dopple, you just got me feeling all sentimental like ... mush love to you and your whoop pea!

Rebecca said...

Happy Birthday, Young Master Sam!

Joanne said...

Congratulations on one year. I am at the 10.5 month mark and am eagerly anticipating one year. It's been really fun and comforting for me to read about Sam, and know (kind of) what I might have to look forward to. I have a formerly grumpy baby, too, and it was so nice when Sam finally came around, I thought maybe my little boy had some hope, too! I also love reading the Bored Housewives Network, I'm in the US and I think it's a real treat to find out a little bit more about how my Canadians moms in arms are dealing with the first year, and being home as a matter of face. Congratulations again and thanks!

Tammy said...

Thanks so much for the birthday greeting and kind words, everyone. I've saved this page so that I can show it to Sam someday and tell him about all the nice people who live in the internet who had such sweet things to say on his birthday.

We had a pretty lowkey night last night, but we're doing the cake-and-presents thing this weekend, and I'm ridiculously excited about it. Whee!

Teaworthy said...

Thank you for this wonderful piece that captured all of these great paradoxes that I have been feeling but have been unable to articulate. This would make an incredible first chapter to a published work.