Motherhood is all about living — and maybe learning

It’s painful, I must admit, to watch some of the home videos of my first year as a parent. Devoted? Yes. Attentive? Yes. Clueless? YES!

In one scene my daughter is in her johnny jump-up thingy, and I’m the camera person. I’m sort of narrating, sort of trying to translate my bouncing baby’s pleading babble. Boy, do I get it wrong. There she is ricocheting around the doorway with her entire hand in her mouth, drool dribbling down her chin and arm, with a blatant expression of agony on her face. And my response is, “Do you like to bounce? Yes, you do!” The baby then rolls her eyes, shakes her head and sighs. Not really, but she would’ve if she hadn’t been 4 months old.

In my defense, I hadn’t spent much time around babies before, so I hadn’t hung out with anyone while their teeth were cutting through their gums. At least not since I myself was a baby with baby friends. Now having spent countless hours soothing a distraught teether, it’s so obvious.

Honestly, there are a number of these Clueless Mommy (and Dense Daddy) moments in our home video library. One involves a baby scooting (like a puppy) around the sandy shores of Hawaii. The mommy and daddy think scooting is cute. Days later this same baby is diagnosed with a yeast infection. D’oh!

I always assumed that the second child would benefit from the firstborn’s work as a parent educator. My friends who have more than one child say not so much. Basically, they explain, the first child gives an intensive hands-on training seminar titled “All About Me,” and the credits earned are mostly nontransferable to seminars taught by subsequent offspring. Of course, they do recognize the signs of teething. Oh well, as Douglas Adams said, “You live and learn. At any rate, you live.”