Monday, February 28, 2011

You Don't Eat Books

For as long as I can remember I have always truly loved to read.  In fact, as family legend would have you believe, my love for books started well before my first birthday when I would insist that my parents read me book after book each night before bed.  It didn’t take long for me to memorize these books and my poor parents couldn’t skip a page or even a word on a page without my protest.  When my thirteen months younger sister came along, she took delight in watching me dissolve into hysterics each time she put a book in her mouth.  “You don’t eat books!” I would shriek, my belief system on the subject already firmly in place at not quite two years old.  At five I was taken to a mystical place called a library.  I was told that I could take home any books I wanted, and they had a lot to choose from.  Two weeks later the love affair ended, however, when I was informed that I would not be allowed to keep the books that I’d grown so fond of.  I have never been a fan of libraries since that incident and have always preferred to buy my books so that I can reread them at my leisure (though, admittedly, that rarely happens).
Anytime I’ve ever dreamed of having a child, one of the first thoughts I’d have was, “I hope my child loves to read.”  As a teacher, I want this because I know that a love of reading will lead to a much higher chance of academic success.  As an avid reader myself, I want this because I want to share it with my child.  While pregnant I would read whatever novel I was currently working on out loud to the little developing fetus in my belly.  Once Emmalee was born I continued this practice, reading softly from the latest YA paranormal romance release (my, slightly embarrassing, preferred genre) while she dozed in my arms.  I don’t know if this had any influence on her or not, but many of the parenting books I’d read recommended it (though they might not have mentioned paranormal romances, specifically).  And who am I to argue with the experts?
By 5 months old I was reading Emmalee children’s board books and was amazed at how she’d focus on the story, listening to the words and studying the pictures.  Our favorite, a book called On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman, was quickly memorized by both of us.  Well, maybe Emmalee hadn’t exactly memorized it, but she recognized it.  When she was fussy I could recite the book and she’d calm down, smiling and cooing at her favorite parts as if it were in front of her.  By 8 months old, when I got serious about implementing a bed time routine, I began reading Emmalee 2 or 3 books a night and she’d sit through each one, seemingly enraptured.  Now that she is 11 months old and able to get around, she will crawl to her bookshelf, pick up a book and hold it out to me with an insistent “Uh!”  And, even more amazingly, she will then sit and listen intently (most of the time).  She is showing preference for certain books, and will insist I read some books over and over again.  All in all, I’d say I just might have gotten my wish.  Emmalee seems to love books.  And she doesn't even try to eat them.
I’ve heard some parents complain that they do not like reading to their child.  Honestly, I don’t blame them.  Moo, Baa, La La La is not exactly stimulating for someone out of diapers.  But I am an exception to this because I genuinely enjoy reading Emmalee her books, especially at bed time.  In fact, it is one of my most favorite times of day.  Though the stories themselves are not exactly intriguing, I love feeling like I am doing something good for my daughter.  There is a lot of guess work when it comes to parenting, but instilling a love of books is something I can be sure that I’m doing right.  I also love the possibilities that lie ahead.  Sure, now we’re just sharing a love of “Biscuit,” but how long will it really be before we can have late night book chats about the awesomeness of Twilight?  (No, I don’t plan on growing out of that one!)

A List of Books I’ve Memorized (a.k.a. Emmalee’s favorites):
On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman
You Are My I Love You by Maryann Cusimano
Mommy’s Best Kisses by Margaret Anastas
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.
Moo, Baa, La La La by Sandra Boynton
Pajama Time by Sandra Boynton
Where is Love, Biscuit? by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

Friday, February 25, 2011

For the Love of Polio

When you have a baby you are inevitably struck by how tiny and fragile they are.  All you want as a new parent is to do right by your child.  You want to provide every possible advantage to set them up for success in all aspects of life.  You want to do everything in your power to protect them in any way that you can.  You will follow the recommendations by the APA to help prevent SIDS.  You will provide the best nourishment you can.  You will insist that anyone who comes within three feet be doused in hand sanitizer.  You will buy toys to provide stimulation and promote brain development.  And you will follow the recommended schedule set by the CDC for vaccinations to protect your child against potentially life-threatening diseases.  Or will you?
Believe it or not, there is a growing trend amongst new mothers to “opt-out” of getting their child vaccinated.  This appears to be more common in affluent, progressive communities; according to an article by MSN Health some areas such as Ashland, Oregon and certain counties in California are showing exemption rates up to 19%.  Why in the world would any sane person make this decision, you ask?  Well, according to these individuals vaccinations contain such horrific ingredients as pig’s blood, mouse brain, monkey’s kidneys, formaldehyde, and even human fetal medium.  If you ask for the list of ingredients in a vaccination, the information will be handed over willingly and you will see that this is actually true.  There are also claims that certain vaccinations can cause autism, though no credible studies have been done to prove this.
I can’t help but wonder if these “well-informed” people have taken the following facts into consideration.  The fatality rate for diphtheria in children under 5 is up to 20 percent.  (Though, to be fair, I do not know the fatality rate for mouse brain consumption.)  Mumps can cause permanent deafness and, in males, permanent testicular shrinkage sometimes resulting in infertility.  Polio can cause paralysis.  Tetanus has a mortality rate of higher than 10%.  Other diseases such as rubella, rotavirus, and measles can cause rashes, fever, joint aches and pains, dehydration, and can lead to potentially fatal complications such as pneumonia, encephalitis, and even death.  Isn’t a little pig’s blood better than the risk of your child suffering needlessly and potentially perishing from a preventable disease?
Yeah, but polio?  Mumps?  Rubella?  No one gets those diseases anymore, you might be thinking.  And you would be right.  Since the polio vaccination was invented in the 1950s, the polio virus has been nearly eradicated in most of the world.  The same is true of many of the other diseases I’ve mentioned.  How did that happen?  Well, people chose to get vaccinated against the disease.  The funny thing about a vaccination is that for it to work properly you must actually get it.  And the more contagious a disease is, the more people that need to be vaccinated to prevent it from spreading.  Take measles, for instance.  The CDC states that if 90 to 95 percent of the population isn’t vaccinated, it is likely that an epidemic of the disease would occur.  So choosing not to vaccinate your child is not a personal decision.  It is a decision that not only puts your child at risk, but puts other children your child comes into contact with at risk, pregnant women and their unborn children at risk, and could lead to a worldwide epidemic.  I’m not sure if I could live with that much blood on my hands.
There is a small percentage of children who legitimately cannot be vaccinated due to compromised immune systems or severe allergies.  In these cases, I can understand opting out.  But, in my opinion, to choose not to have an otherwise healthy child vaccinated because of a tiny amount of monkey kidney is reckless and irresponsible.  You better damn well at least be a vegetarian.  The risks of not “vaxing” way outweigh any perceived risks that getting the vaccinations might carry.  So please, take a deep breath.  Relax.  Stop searching for things to complain about and over analyze.  And for the love of polio, vaccinate your children.



Thursday, February 24, 2011

Moments

Once in awhile there are moments that change your life forever.  One such moment happened for me when I was thirteen years old.  I was in the front passenger seat of my mom’s little white Toyota and we were on the highway headed to my uncle’s house.  A song came on the radio.  “This is that song I was telling you about,” my mom exclaimed, “The one by those cute little boys.”  She may have said more but I was no longer listening.  I was instantly captivated by the pre-pubescent voice squeaking through the car’s crappy sound system.  I didn’t know his name or even what he looked like, but I knew that I loved him.  An immediate and all consuming obsession, the kind I think you’re only capable of having when you’re a thirteen year old girl, had begun.  The song was “Mmmbop” by Hanson.  (Go ahead, laugh if you must.)  I would never be the same.
Another life changing moment happened for me on the morning of July 10, 2009.  I was 25 years old and my husband and I had been trying to conceive for a few months.  So far we’d had no luck and I was losing patience with the whole process, as I tend to do.  When I want something, I want it right at that moment; otherwise I get bored.  That night I was going out to dinner to celebrate my best friend’s birthday and I wanted to drink.  I decided to take a pregnancy test just to be on the safe side, even though my period wasn’t technically late yet.  I was sure that it would come back negative, just like the tests from the past few months, and that I would get the green light to get sloppy that evening.  Instead the display on the digital test said “pregnant.”  An onslaught of emotions washed over me.  I remember feeling surprised because I really didn’t expect the positive result, guilty because I’d had several drinks the weekend before to celebrate our nation’s independence, excited because I’d finally achieved my goal, and a little numb because this was a lot to process all at once.  Things would never be the same.
How do these two moments relate, you ask?  No, Emmalee is not Taylor Hanson’s secret love child.  Though wouldn’t that make the story interesting!  But no.  The two began to mesh sometime after the sixteenth week of pregnancy, when little Emmalee began to be aware of noises outside of the womb.  Over the years my obsession for Hanson waned a bit, but the love has always been there.  When they release a new CD I am all over it and listen to it repetitively for months.  While pregnant with Emmalee, Hanson happened to release a five song EP which was a preview to the new album they would release the following summer.  I listened to these songs with such frequency that they seem to have affected the wiring in Emmalee’s tiny little still-developing brain. 
I didn’t realize the impact until several months after she was born.  It probably didn’t help anything that we continued to listen to Hanson every time we were in the car.  Still, I was taken by surprise the first time Emmalee stopped crying and appeared to be completely soothed by my favorite song from that previously mentioned EP, a song called “These Walls.”  When she began protesting when the song ended, whining and crying until I started the track over, I thought it was adorable.  When we were in the car with my husband (who is not a Hanson fan) and had to put the song on to calm her, I thought it was hilarious.  Now though, four or five months after this began, her preference for one particular song is a little less endearing.  I try to broaden her Hanson horizons by letting her listen to other songs.  If I tell her that we’re still listening to Hanson she seems to accept it, but if she is tired or cranky forget it, it is “Walls” or wailing. 
The moral of the story, then, is this:  your child will find a way to make you despise even the things you love the most.  I’m kidding, of course.  Luckily my love for Hanson is such a deeply rooted part of who I am I don’t think anything could ever change it, and I do enjoy being able to share this passion of mine with my daughter.  There are moments that change your life forever.  Hopefully, they change it for the better, as I feel mine (mostly) have.  But if you should ever happen to find yourself pregnant, think carefully about the music you listen to and be sure that you can handle listening to said music on repeat for an indeterminate number of months.  It could happen to you.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Baby Fat

Being pregnant is hard.  Your body goes from being familiar and comfortable to something you can no longer even recognize when you look in a mirror.  Things are moving and growing and stretching, and unfortunately this is not restricted to only your belly.  Lines and marks appear.  Colors change.  More goes in than comes out.  And the number on the scale keeps creeping up and up and up.  Pregnancy books will tell you that the recommended amount of weight the average woman should gain during a normal pregnancy is 25-35 lbs.  The books will go on to talk about a healthy pregnancy diet and safe exercises you can do to stay in shape.  Every bite you take is an opportunity to provide nourishment to your unborn child, after all.  When you are six weeks along and reading these books with the bright-eyed optimism of a first time mom, all of this will sound fantastic.  But the fatigue will hit, and then the insatiable pregnancy hunger, and before you know it you will find yourself 7 months along and roughly the size of a beached whale with that recommended 25-35 lbs a distant memory… and still with two more months to go!  At least, if you are like me, this is what will happen. 
Now Emmalee’s first birthday is only three weeks away.  While watching her play today I was struck by the realization that she isn’t really that much of a baby anymore.  She is on the fast track to toddlerhood, which means this last twenty pounds of “baby fat” I’ve been carrying around has pretty much become just fat.  And it doesn’t help my cause any that Emmalee looks about six months older than she actually is.  The excuse “I just had a baby” no longer applies to me.  It’s time to either make a change or accept it.  I am choosing to make a change (though that’s mostly due to the fact that I can’t really afford to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe).
Dieting sucks.  I dislike it for a variety of reasons, the main one being that I really enjoy eating.  I tend to be an emotional eater.  Eating (like shopping) can instantly improve my mood.  If my head hurts, I’m tired, I’m stressed, my students are aggravating me, my throat is scratchy, it’s Monday, etc, then I feel completely justified reaching into the candy box.  After all, I deserve some chocolate if I’m not operating at 110%, right?  I also tend to reward myself with food.  Wow, I got my lessons plans done for the next two weeks?  Go me!  A sugary celebration is in order.  (At this point I think you can see why it is no longer reasonable to blame my extra pounds on Emmalee!)  I am also not a fan of exercise.  My free time is so limited as it is, do I really want to spend it sweating when I could be relaxing?  Not really.
Clearly, I’ve got my work cut out for me.  But my goal is set.  By the end of April I hope that there will be 20 lbs less of me.  I want to lose this weight not only so that my clothes will fit me again, but also for Emmalee.  I know that if I eat better and work out I will be healthier and have more energy for her.  With walking looming on the horizon and running just behind that, I’m sure I will need all the energy I can get to keep up with my little handful! 



Wednesday, February 16, 2011

In the Name of Love

Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate the martyrdom of the notoriously romantic St. Valentine.  Right?  When Googling the history of Valentine’s Day I found some interesting information.  St. Valentine was a priest who fought against the Roman Emperor Claudius’ ridiculous declaration that single men make better soldiers and his outlaw of marriage by marrying young couples in secret.  When he was discovered he was put to death on February 14th.  Or perhaps St. Valentine was killed after it was discovered that he helped Christians escape being beaten and tortured in Roman prisons.  Another account claims that St. Valentine fell in love with the jailor’s daughter while he was imprisoned (perhaps for one of the previously mentioned reasons) and sent a letter signed “From Your Valentine,” thereby sending the first ever “valentine.”  Others say the holiday originated with the Pagan fertility festival, Lupercalis, which was celebrated on February 15th, but was renamed and dedicated to a saint by Christians in an attempt to make the transition from Paganism to Christianity a little easier. 
The history, I suppose, is mostly irrelevant these days.   Valentine’s Day has become a commercialized sensation.  According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated one billion cards are sent each year in the name of love.  Some cynics of the holiday say that it is a joke.  Why should we spend our hard earned money on this day each year to tell the people we care about that we love them?  Because some ancient inmate named Valentine fell in love, or because some ancient Romans wanted to get knocked up?  No thank you. 
I tend to disagree.  Life is hectic.  There is always so much to do and so little time.  I think it’s safe to say that many of us are guilty of taking the people close to us for granted from time to time.  We assume that they know we love them, and they probably do.  But isn’t it nice to take a moment now and again to tell them?  And if billions of other people also decide to take a moment out of their busy lives to do something nice for their loved ones on the same day, is that really such a bad thing? 
I love all holidays.  Perhaps it is the compulsive shopper in me talking, but I find holidays to be exciting.  Growing up, my mom always used all major holidays as an excuse to buy my sister and I something.  Even if it was something small, we absolutely loved it.  I plan to do the same with Emmalee.  Maybe this is just another bullet to add to the list of ways that I am spoiling her, but maybe not.  According to Dictionary.com, to spoil means “to impair, damage, or harm the character of someone by … excessive indulgence.”  I don’t consider my character to have been impaired, damaged or harmed by the holiday indulgences.  I don’t think Emmalee will suffer either.  At least I hope not.
This past year has been especially exciting because each holiday that passes is Emmalee’s first.  Her first St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, and now Valentine’s Day.  This Valentine’s Day was a little bittersweet for me as it marked the last first holiday Emmalee would experience, with the exception of her birthday (which is a holiday, right?).  Her first birthday is fast approaching and as excited as I am to celebrate I also can’t believe that a year has already just about passed.  I look at it as just another reminder of how quickly time passes by and I feel even more certain that we should take every excuse we are given to stop for a moment and rejoice with the ones we love most.
(I suppose this blog would have been more fun to read had it been posted on Valentine’s Day, but I’ve been sick.  So forgive me… in the name of St. Valentine/fertility/consumerism/love...  you pick the one that feels right.)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bizarre Encounters

Women have babies at all different ages and in a variety of different situations.  Whether a new mom is 16 and still in high school or 39 with a steady career, there is one thing that they will all inevitably have in common, which is that they will never truly be prepared.  No matter how old you are, no matter how many books you’ve read or Google searches you’ve done, becoming a new mom will always be harder than you thought it would be.  And I say this as someone who was lucky enough to have a relatively “easy” newborn.  Nothing can prepare you for the exhaustion.  You might think you know what it means to be tired, but you will never know real, true, bone-crushing, mind-numbing fatigue until you’ve cared for an infant for several weeks.  It is also impossible to understand the overwhelming responsibility of holding a completely helpless little life in your hands until you are there.  Babies don’t know anything, and as a mom it becomes your job to do everything for them and to teach them everything they’ll ever need to know about anything.  It is a daunting task. 
The thing that I was most unprepared for, however, was taking my baby out in public.  I’ve found that walking through a store with a baby in your arms is equivalent to walking through a store while wearing a sandwich board that reads “Please violate my personal space and abandon all normal social boundaries when interacting with me” while ringing a loud bell.  In other words, you draw attention to yourself.  And as someone who prefers as little attention as possible, this definitely took some getting used to.  Most people are kind and will simply gush over your baby for a few minutes (or sometimes for an awkwardly long amount of time), seemingly so excited just to witness the new little life you’ve created.  There are others though who seem to think that since you’ve so carelessly brought your baby into their line of vision then you must be simply begging them to stop you and critique every parenting decision you’ve ever made. 
Emmalee is not a fan of napping.  In fact, she dislikes it so much that she will often fuss and cry until she falls asleep.  This happens whether we are at home or out and about.  One such time at Wal-Mart Emmalee was in my arms, overtired and in desperate need of a nap.  While she cried I bounced and shushed her, knowing that within a few minutes she would give in and sleep.  A woman approached with a look of pure horror on her face and demanded, “What’s wrong with your baby?!”  Being the kind and non-confrontational person that I am, I simply answered, “She’s just tired.”  The woman proceeded to give me a look that clearly said I must be the most moronic person to have ever taken care of a baby and she seemed to be using every ounce of self control she could muster to restrain herself from ripping the baby from my undeserving arms.  Because anyone with any sense knows that babies never cry just because they are tired, right? 
Getting older is strange.  With each year that goes by I find myself thinking “I don’t feel older.  Well, apparently I don’t look older either.  Someday I might view it as a good thing that people think I look young, but at the moment it is rather irritating to be mistaken for a 17 year old.  Especially now that I have a baby in tow.  Before Christmas I took Emmalee to get her picture taken with Santa.  Due to Emmalee’s fear of anyone that isn’t Mommy or Grammy, I chose to have this done at a portrait studio that would work with us to get a good shot.  Santa came out to introduce himself and to see how Emmalee would react.  He said his hellos to the baby and then asked her, “And who is this holding you?”  When I answered Mommy I thought he might faint from the shock.  He proclaimed that I was way too young to be her mom.  I proceeded to explain that I am 26 years old to which Santa replied, “Well I thought you were only 17!”  This exchange was rude for a variety of reasons, but the main one being what if I was only 17?  Come on, Santa.  You’ve got to brush up on your people skills a bit.
Emmalee has chunky feet.  Due to this it is very difficult to find shoes that fit properly and that will actually stay on her.  One day in the Dollar Tree a woman approached and exclaimed in an absolutely flabbergasted manner, “Doesn’t your baby have any shoes?!”  First of all, we are in the Dollar Tree.  Maybe she doesn’t have any shoes.  Are you offering to buy her some?  If so, Target is right around the corner and I’m totally jonesing for a trip.  Secondly, I know she looks like she’s two, but she’s only 10 months and she isn’t walking yet.  Is it really that big of a deal for her to just wear socks when she’s being carried?  And lastly, mind your own (insert choice of obscenity here) business!  What makes you think that you have the right to question the choices I make for my child?  Oh right, I wandered into your direct line of sight, didn’t I?  My fault!
These are just a few of the absolutely bizarre encounters I’ve had while venturing out into public places with Emmalee.  While I try not to let these things affect me, I will admit that I go to great lengths to keep Emma from crying when we’re out to avoid the “look at that teenager without a clue” glances.  I also carry Emma’s shoes around in the diaper bag religiously, even though I have no intention of putting them on her.  And I’m very seriously considering having a shirt made that reads “I am 26, married, I have a college degree and I own a home” and wearing it every time I leave the house.  Emmalee will have a matching shirt that says “Yes, I do own several pairs of shoes.”  You know, just to let people know. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Awesome Changes

Having a baby changes things.  While struggling to keep my eyes open last night during the last quarter of the Superbowl, I was especially struck by this realization.  A mere three years ago I hosted a keg party at my house in honor of the Superbowl.  This year I didn’t even turn it on until halftime when Emmalee was asleep and I finally had a chance to make myself a sandwich and relax for a few minutes.  This got me thinking about other things that have changed in my life since Emma’s arrival.
My level of self-consciousness.  I’m not sure at what point having a child lowers your modesty expectations, but I’d say it happens in the hospital sometime after the fifth relative stranger has stuck their entire hand up your lady parts.  You suddenly just don’t care anymore what other people think of you.  And even months after the baby is out, you’ll find that trying to do anything with a baby takes up so much of your mental energy that you don’t have room left in your head to worry about what you look like to others.   Most people are paying more attention to the baby than to you anyway.
My shopping habits.  Though I continue to be a bit of an impulsive and emotional shopper, I no longer have much interest in buying things that are not for Emmalee.  The baby and toy departments of stores used to be foreign countries that I dared not visit… and now I call them home.  Buying a new pair of shoes for myself used to make me happy, but I’ve found that the feeling can’t compare to the joy of buying Emma a new pair of shoes.  Even though I know she’ll kick them off her feet in about 3 seconds and they will be wasted because keeping them on her will be impossible.  Emma looks so much more adorable in clothing than I ever could.  And hello?  Who doesn’t love toys?  Having a baby is an awesome excuse to let your inner child run wild in the toy section!
My ability to be reasonable.  I used to think of myself as a mostly logical and rational person.  Now that I have a baby though, I can see that is no longer always true.  When my husband started traveling for work and I was left alone with Emmalee I had trouble sleeping.  Some of my fears were understandable.  What if there was a burglar/murderer/fire?  How would I keep Emma safe?  But my biggest fear, the thought that kept me up until the early hours of the morning frozen with terror, was that I would die in my sleep and Emmalee would be left alone, scared and hungry for hours before anyone realized something was wrong.  I am 26 years old with no known health problems other than nasal allergies, so clearly this is an unreasonable thing to worry about.  But to be fair, the people on the television show House are always reasonably healthy before collapsing with some life-threatening disease.  If those people had been home alone with a baby they wouldn’t have been rushed to the hospital, meaning they would have died.  And what would have become of the baby???  I think you see my point.
My mental capacity.  Research has proven that having a baby does not impact your cognitive abilities.  And yet…  I swear I used to be able to remember things like when the cell phone bill is due, or what day is trash day, or why I needed to go to Wal-Mart, but these days things like this slip my mind more and more.  Perhaps it is again due to the amount of mental energy a baby requires.  With all the worrying about how long she sleeps, how much she eats, when was the last time she pooped, is she happy, is she developmentally on track, how many days are left until her birthday, am I spoiling her, will she go to college, and on and on and on, there just isn’t much room left for mundane things like paying the water bill or feeding the dogs.  This “Mommy ADD” as I like to call it also impacts me at work.  My to-do list used to be brief and manageable, but these days it seems to get longer rather than shorter.  Though I try my best to focus on work while I’m there, Emmalee is never far from my mind. 
My free time.  Free time used to be something that just was.  I have some time to kill, maybe I’ll watch a couple hours of TV or read a book, whatever strikes me at the time.  Now that I have a baby in my life, I view the rare moments of free time with a different set of eyes.  While rocking Emma to sleep I get excited thinking about what I might do with myself once I lay her down and I find myself planning out my two hours of “free” time.  First I have dishes and laundry and sometimes I still need to eat dinner, but what about after?  Should I read?  Watch Teen Mom?  Hit up Babycenter.com?  Write a blog?  I’ve got to check Facebook.  The possibilities seem endless and I want to do it all… which means I end up staying up way too late trying to balance my responsibilities with my intense desire to just relax and waste time. 
My priorities.  My world used to revolve around me.  Yes, there were other people in it that I cared about, but there was no one I was responsible for other than myself.  If I was hungry I ate, if I was tired I slept, if I wanted to read or watch TV or just lie in bed and stare at the ceiling for an hour, I could fit it in.  These days my world revolves around Emmalee.  My first concerns are about whether or not she is hungry, thirsty, tired, etc, and these needs are met before my own needs are even considered.  But I am not complaining.  Because even though being completely responsible for another human being is exhausting at times, it is also unbelievably rewarding.  My life has taken on a whole new meaning because now someone depends on me.  And yes, things have changed.  But I wouldn’t have it any other way.  When it comes to adding a baby to your life, change is awesome and so worth the sacrifices.