Monday, May 18, 2009

Diving In.


We went to a great party this weekend. The kids came too.
The one year old was an angel. She went to sleep in a strange bedroom in a strange house about 20 minutes after we arrived and slept through the night despite raucous behavior below her.
The six year old ran with a pack of girls for several hours with a look of disbelief (that she was getting to stay up so late) and joy (that I wasn't stopping her from doing all the things they were doing) on her face.
It was very nostalgic to remember those rare nights in my childhood when that happened and it was so magical.

We got talking to a younger couple who were thinking about starting a family. They asked that great unanswerable question - "How do you know if you're ready?"
Me being me, answered it anyway.
My first response is always, "Have you traveled?" I think you should take a least one great, adventurous trip together before you add children. They had.
We chatted away about what changes, loss of sleep, stress on your relationship, the unimaginable joy and love, the laughter.

Then they asked the next great unanswerable question.
"What can we do to prepare?"
The true answer is - you can't - but me being me, I had a go anyway. (There was wine involved.)

"You could set your alarm for an hour and half earlier than you need (or want) to get up.
In that extra hour and a half - you can't go pee, make yourself coffee or anything to eat.
You should instead cut grapes into quarters. Peel and dice apples and do two loads of laundry. Throw the fruit pieces all over the floor and then clean them up.
Then you should make yourself a cup of coffee but leave it to go cold on the kitchen counter. If you are particularly sleepy or grumpy add some kids music or TV at LOUD volume.
That should take you through to 7.30 am....."

Perhaps I went too far but you know how I feel about myth. How do you convey what it's really like? For example between the last two sentences, I changed a diaper that not only necessitated a change of the baby's clothes but a change of mine and the change pad cover. All the clothes are now soaking in the sink and the diaper was so toxic I had to walk it to the outside garbage can, All that between the words myth and how. You would never have known.

I'm betting that sweet couple have decided to wait a little longer but I say jump on in the water is fine.

112 comments:

  1. DEFINITELY my new favorite post. Laugh out loud hilarious. And still, wouldn't trade it for anything. Just finished choking down a 'concoction' my lovely daughter made for me out of the herbs in my spice cabinet. Yum.

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  2. Thanks for stopping by my blog on my SITS day!! We still have lots of traveling to do before adding kids to the mix, but we're looking forward to that stage of our lives!

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  3. Perfect! Both the advice and the late night nostalgia factor.

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  4. When I was pregnant (but we hadn't told anyone yet), we visited friends with newborn twin boys (yes, those ones - see above comment). Those babies screamed bloody murder the entire time we were there and their mother jokingly said to us "now you'll never have children!" or words to that effect. But we did and so will that young couple - if they're ready nothing anyone can say will persuade or dissuade them, because whatever we say to anyone in the way of advice is 87.25 percent edited out in their brains anyway. Right? Selective hearing. (That was an official scientifically-arrived-at percentage by the way)

    Great post, Scottish Lass.

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  5. Excellent!! No truer words spoken.

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  6. So funny! Definitely making me think twice ;)

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  7. LOL! You've convinced me to plan a slew of vacations before I take the plunge into mommyhood ;)

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  8. LOL I think the only reason anyone manages to have kids is by telling themselves that perfect old lie: ours will be different - no messes, no tantrums, no crying jags. :-P

    I don't think anyone can ever really be *ready*, so I agree - jump on in!

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  9. I LOVE this!! I love when parents are HONEST about the realities of being a parent.

    I'm a step-parent but having the "trial run" of my step-kids on weekends has made me realise that I do not want kids. EVER! Nobody tells you how hard it is and it's such a taboo to admit to finding it difficult. I admire your honesty.

    Great blog!!! Happy SITS day.

    LBM xxx

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  10. That's funny but can be true. Enjoying my visit on your SITS Day.

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  11. How funny that you couldn't even finish a post without the diaper interruption . . . and wrote it in here! LOL! I KNOW I was never ready to have babies--they scare me! I'd be a nervous wreck!

    Enjoying your blog. Congrats on your SITS day! I'm absolutely certain after today, your followers will increase considerably!

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  12. Love your preparation suggestions! ;)
    I appreciate your honesty!

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  13. You had me at "there was wine involved." :-)

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  14. Hilarious!! Especially the wine part. That was some good advice!

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  15. I love that you are so honest! We are on the bubble of being ready and being scared to death! I think your blunt approach is the kinda advise I am looking for though. Tell me how it is for real! :)

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  16. I love it when one of my pregnant friends has all these pre-conceived ideas of "how easy" life is going to be after a baby. As I look at her and nod my head in agreement, secretly I am laughing inside and knowing that she has absolutely no clue of the chaos her life is about to turn into!

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  17. Boy oh boy, ain't that the truth of it!?!?
    One good thing, those days tend to fly by and pretty soon they'll be laughing about them, too:)

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  18. i think people ask, but really don't want to know... but how many times do we whine "no one told me"? at least they know now... you rock :)

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  19. I wish I had known you when I was raising my babies (they are 17 and 14 now). I found new motherhood to be unbelievable challenging and I was surrounded by moms who seemed to be blissful all the time. I felt as though I was the only one struggling. Of course, all these years later, I realize I was the only one being honest (or unmedicated), but I sure could have used a friend like you then.

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  20. Happy SITS day and you are SO right you cannot prepare for the difficulties or the joy. I still get overwhelmed when I think about all that I do and all that needs to be done but you just do it because I think every women has that moment when they look around and go "Wow, if I don't do it no one else is going to!" I had this moment last year when my twins and I had the stomach flu. It was REALITY and it beat the crap out of me :)

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  21. Oh I like you girl! I feel so strong about how easy people make it look when it is really hard. I tend to blog about both - the happy and the crappy. I will visit again.

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  22. I tell people to wake up at least 3 times inthe middle of the night to feed to dog, take him out and rock him back to sleep... that should prepare you :)

    Oh, and after you scatter the grapes on the floor... you need to pick them up at least 2 more times before throwing them away.

    {happy SITS day!}

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  23. My husband and I have already determined when the kids are up and out, we will throw dry cereal on the floor, so we can step on it throughout the day! :)
    Happy SITS day
    @cheapchichome

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  24. Happy SITS day. You nailed it! :) From one crazed mom to another!

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  25. Nothing like a dose of reality to get them thinking straight! Funny post!

    pk @ Room Remix

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  26. Loved this post! I'm not married (or a mom), but I know kids can be a handful. And I know I'm not ready for it yet. =)

    Happy SITS Day!

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  27. Happy SITS Day, and you are absolutely spot on about what to do in that hour and half before 730 :D

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  28. Looooved this post! Throwing the cut up fruit on the floor and and then cleaning it up made me crack up out loud! That is exactly right!

    And it is true, you can never really prepare yourself for what journey you are about to embark on, you can only just "dive right in" as you so eloquently put it! Great post!

    Found you from SITS too!

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  29. Sounds like good advice. But I'm betting they didn't put it off!

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  30. great advice you gave that couple. we did everything we wanted to do before we had our first...it took 9 yrs, but we knew we were ready.
    the preparation part, well...I knew what to expect
    having grown up with 5 younger siblings. I kept telling my husband that a baby is a lifestyle change. he's still adjusting, LOL! I wish I had read this post months ago and put him through the paces. Happy SITS Day!

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  32. Ok,I'll try again. You described the change that takes place after having children perfect.

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  33. Your answers to them were spot on! I wonder if they got a second opinion?

    Visiting from SITS!!

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  34. I seriously think it is best not to think it over too much or nobody would ever have kids! Jump on in is right!

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  35. Children are work, but it is so very worth it!

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  36. Here from SITS. Wow...love this and it is SO true. No, you can't prepare, but you are so right! It's as close as you might get to preparation.

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  37. visiting from sits! You are so freaking funny! and a very witty writer!! enjoy your sits day in the sun!

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  38. So many people really don't know what they're getting into -- it's good for them to occasionally get a dose of healthy reality!

    Because we all know some angelic baby with chubby cheeks is just going to make them forget what you said, anyway. ;-)

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  39. I'm pretty sure it was a parent who wrote the line for the paper towel commercial...Life is messy, clean it up! Life's little details aren't always as pretty as a rose, or as sweet smelling as a rose, but more like the thorns on a rose. Guess the rose thorns are there to remind us to appreciate the bigger picture of how pretty and sweet smelling the rose is!

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  40. Congrats on your SITS day! Wonderful post -- funny and so true. You really did give great advice a perfectly summed up a morning in the life of a parent. My husband and I tried do as much travel as we could before our daughters were born and have been fortunate enough to have girls that travel pretty well now ~ but it's very different.

    Jenn @ rookno17.blogspot.com

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  41. stopping in from sits, laughing my self silly over this one:) i am so gonna need to borrow the cut the apple up and then throw it all over the floor bit:)

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  42. Haha! You should be there to counsel all people considering parenthood! ;-)

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  43. Oh so true. I'm trying to giggle quietly at my desk so my coworkers won't wonder what I'm doing...Happy SITS Day!

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  44. So funny! Happy SITS day!!!
    Chandice from
    www.glutenfreefrenzy.com

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  45. LOL...maybe you shouldnt have been quite so truthful.

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  46. Happy SITS day. I am nervous for when I finally start a family, but I love the advice you gave. We've watched friends go through it, and they all say the same thing, you can't prepare yourself, you just have to jump in.

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  47. ROFL!!! That's great! Glad I found ya through SITS!

    sweetjeanette.blogspot.com

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  48. What a great post! I don't have kids yet and I'm scared to death of all of the unknowns, I like to be as prepared as I can be and it just seems like it's always sugar coated - thanks for your honesty!

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  49. LOVE THIS!! Thanks for starting my day off with a smile! Glad to have met someone I now absolutely have to follow.

    oh...and btw, Happy SITS day

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  50. We haven't traveled yet...o_O...but baby is due in April. We have a 6 year old daughter (biologically mine, matrimonially his :) ) but I don't think my husband quite understands just how hard this is going to be; just how many late nights there will be; just how many disgusting dirty diapers. But I have a feeling he's going to love every minute of it!! :)

    Awesome post!

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  51. LOL! Awesome post!!!!

    Add in, Go in re-heat your coffee, only to leave it in microwave so that you can nurse you suddenly hungry baby. Sit down on couch to nurse while your lappy is sitting next to you, so you can read your favorite blogs. You realize you can scroll down, because you are nursing on that side, and somehow have to deal with the "Somebody come and wipe me" that is coming from the bathroom on the other end of the house!

    LOL!!!!

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  52. That's so right. It's a tough and unforgiving world we live in sometimes, us parents. My friends who are thinking of having kids I tell them up front "It ain't all pretty bows and lollipops. It's more like lollipops IN the bows!" (As my daughter just walked around the corner with chocolate all over her face....)

    My best, Lynn

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  53. Your explanation of what they should do is perfect. Did their eyes bug out at you?

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  54. I love seeing first time parents... its always good for a giggle (or two).

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  55. OMG, there's a book in the making somewhere in that post. Ha- that would be funny.
    I think your answers were hilarious. Someday they will laugh and think how right you were!
    ***Ally
    Happy SITS Day

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  56. You're like the female version of Dr Phil...tell it like it is and I LOVE it!! I always say I wish someone had told me the brutal truth about parenthood before becoming a parent. It wouldn't have changed my mind about wanting children but it certainly would've saved me from the HUGE shock the first 6 months of parenthood!!

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  57. Funny post! I think you probably made them take a step back or five!

    Happy SITS Day! ; )

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  58. Funny and real! Happy Sits Day.

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  59. Oh my goodness... best post ever. :P

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  60. Excellent advice! I wish someone would have made me try that one before having children. Although I'm dumb enough not to have believed them. We all think it will be different for us because we are more organized, patient and excited about having children than the next guy. HA! We are all so blindly foolish! Thankfully most of the time our children don't seem to notice how clueless we truly are! Amen for naivete.

    BlogBaby's BabyMama

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  61. Happy SITS day to you!! This is such a fantastic post and one that every Mother can identify with! My favorite part is when you told the couple to cut up grapes and then throw them all over the floor! How true! We are blessed with four kiddos and I feel like all I do is laundry, cleaning, laundry, cooking, laundry, homework...oh-you get the idea. :)

    Enjoy your day!

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  62. HA HA HA HA.... HA HA! that was GREAT! still smiling at the grapes. Almost as funny is the comments from the not yet parents. The water really is fine! Hope you enjoy all of the company today from your SITStas!!!!

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  63. that was priceless!! I'm going to have to remember that !!!

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  64. hilarious! we're definitely waiting a while. ;)

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  65. Ah the memories! Reading your blog made remember that though I love my daughter and enjoyed her growing up years, grandchildren can really be fun! You know, without the 24/7 maintenance. Great post! Happy SITS day!

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  66. I agree.. you have to live and get some good stuff in before you kids ... and then have new adventures with them

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  67. I LOVE this post. I don't have kids and the only experience I've with them is when I worked at a middle school. I know that parenthood is a beautiful thing, but it's also hard work. I love that you aren't lying about the good and the bad. Thanks!

    -Victoria D.

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  68. This is a great post- and SO true.. I love how you explain how to prepare:) There is no way to really do it, but that's definitely accurate!! I laughed at the "cut grapes into quarters, then throw then on the floor, then clean them up. That is my life, in a nutshell:)

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  69. I think more perspective parents should know the truth!

    Happy SITS Day!

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  70. Oh, so true! As I've been reading through your 3 posts for today I've been up & down my stairs countless times getting my girls different things they keep saying they need during lunch time! There really is no way to be prepared to be a parent because every day is so different! That's why it's an adventure, right?! Hope your SITS day is great!

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  71. Hilarious! I love it!!!

    Happy Sits day!

    yours truly,
    Lady Lex
    ineedprettythings.com

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  72. Stopping in from SITS. :)

    I think hubby and I each individually did alot of traveling before the baby, but not together. The problem we have now is that we STILL want to travel, but to family places like Disneyland and such. But since we have a baby we don't because we know she wouldn't enjoy it yet. =/ As soon as she's old enough to say "Mickey!" though, it's on. Haha.

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  73. Oh Tiffany and Heather were right. You ARE a good writer. And funny too!

    Happy SITS day!

    Again.

    - Margaret

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  74. LOL!!

    Sooo very true! I tried to explain something like this to my brother before he had a child. :-)

    Happy SITS!!

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  75. Travel first, that is sound advice. And both my husband and I have, just not together. Our daughter Lola smelled her chance to be born as soon as we got together and moved right in.

    We'll save that one for our retirement, then...

    Happy SITS Day!

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  76. So true! So true. Who wouldn't want to jump into the annoying, fearing, heartbreaking, anger inducing, pee your pants laughing (or just pee your pants any old time I guess), heartwarming, snuggle getting, love more than you ever thought you could wonder of being a parent! So scary and so rewarding all at the same time. Love this post.

    Alex
    aka Ma What's For Dinner
    www.MaWhats4Dinner.com

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  77. Hahaha - loved this!
    So true!
    We waited ten years before giving parenting a try - then we became foster parents. We don't have any kids of our own, so I'm not sure how that compares, but just add to the mix: continuous counseling sessions - of course at different and conflicting times for each child, frequent trips to the schools to discuss behavioral improvement plans, and parent visits planned (just when our vacation plans were supposed to take place) and canceled at the very last minute, and best of all, a total lack of constant routine...
    HOWEVER - the hugs and laughter and love really do make up for all the tough times! ;)

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  78. That was great. So funny because it's so true! And I definitley agree that you should travel before you have kids, our one big regret is that we didn't!

    Happy SITS Day!

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  79. SO funny! And so true! It is like reading about myself! You are very funny!!! I am going to follow you now. Thank you SITS!

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  80. never has a truer word been spoken! This is sooo funny! Following you now!

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  81. Add to the equation that you simply don't know what you're going to get in the way of what type of person your child will be! Or if you'll strike the jackpot and have more than one at a time...

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  82. So true! How can you explain to someone how kids make your life explode into another dimension? How your joys and sorrows, ups and downs will be bigger than anything you could ever imagine? How do you ask someone if they're ready to walk the plank...into a life of more?

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  83. LOL, you are never ready until that days comes and then there is no turning back!

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  84. I think your advice was brilliant and you are hilarious.

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  85. My kids are far beyond the throwing fruit on the floor stage, but, you know what? The issues don't go away, they just change. Who drank $16 worth of soda over the weekend, and why was my laundry removed from the dry and dumped unceremoniously on the floor? And there's STILL food on the floor...although I'd like to think they didn't throw it there.

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  86. Sounds like the description I used to give people. They would walk away in shock and then after having their own children come back and say "wow! you were right!"
    Holly @ 504 Main

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  87. *snort* I'll never let Greg read this post. He's alreayd said that he's happy with it just being the two of us, mainly because I have "female" problems. But if he read this post, he'd say - NOOOOOOOO to the idea of kids at all. LMAO

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  88. Big congrats on your SITS day!

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  89. Too funny. I'm guessing that I'm never going to feel "ready" for kids, but I want them someday, anyway.

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  90. Too funny! Those days are long behind me. My daughter (18) has been making the coffee every morning for the last two years. They do make up for the sleep deprivation later. Congrats on being a SITS girl!

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  91. Oh that was perfect advice! I love the coffee getting cold. That still happens to me:) And just when I think I get to start sleeping in, my son starts high school and has to get up at 5:45 am. It is painful.

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  92. It's funny, totally depends on how my kids behave on any given day. Somedays I say "Oh being a mom is the BEST thing that's ever happened to me, you MUST have a baby!!" and other days I'm all "RUN!!!!!!"

    I think you captured it well. :)

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  93. Stopping in from SITS, congrats on your big day and best of luck on getting published, something I also desire to do one day! :)

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  94. *LOL* Or smear peanut butter over your new suede sofa; I just read a post regarding this.

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  95. Brave woman! I couldn't BEGIN to advise on preparedness for a pint-sized ambush.

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  96. If I were them, I would have turned around and ran away! I will celebrate 18 years of being a mom in March. I have survived.

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  97. True that, SITSA! Why all moms have ADD...congrats on your fb day! So I'm fashionably late, but I had to check you out when I saw that you had written a book! Awesome - good for you! I am trying...mine is more of a pamphlet at the moment.

    Mox

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  98. That advice about traveling first is spot on! The only real trip we went on before we had our little man was our honeymoon. I wish we would have done Europe together first. Now, I don't want to leave the dude for that long. Sigh.

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  99. I wish someone would have told me to take a big trip before I adopted my son. Now I'm looking forward to taking him on a big trip.

    Happy Saturday SITS Sharefest!

    Cheers :-)
    - Rainforest Mommy

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  100. Happy SITS day! I laughed out loud when I read this - it's too true!

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