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July 9th, 2009

adult conversation vs. baby talk

It's been almost two months since I started my job. Do I still like it? I do. Do I miss my boy? I do. And Mondays are the hardest day of the week.

As I sat on a patio enjoying a chai latte with some of my colleagues this afternoon, it occurred to me how different my life is these days than it was just a few months ago. Two months ago, I would not have been sitting on a coffeehouse with a group of childless women talking about things other than naps, tantrums and my boy's latest accomplishments. I would not have been trying to convince women who have heard nothing but horror stories birth that birth can be a beautiful, magical experience that does not require pain-relieving drugs or medical intervention. I would not have been able to actually finish my beverage while it was still hot, nor would I have been able to stay sitting and complete my sentence.

I never missed so-called "adult conversation", nor did I long for a conversation about topics other than babies. I enjoyed "baby talk" long before I ever had one of my own. Babies and children fascinate me, and I appreciate learning the opinions of people that I respect in how they formulate their own parenting practices.

A close friend's daughter asked us a few weeks ago why grown-ups always talk about their kids when they get together. I thought it was a very insightful question and a perceptive one. The immediate response that came to my mind was - because our kids are the most important things in our lives and we think about them always.

But as I thought more about it, I realised that the answer was more basic than that. People who are parents have something in common with other parents, a common dominator. We all have to deal with the same stuff, and we want to talk about it. We want to brag and commiserate. We want to share the joy and the heartache. Talking to a total stranger who happens to have a baby is easy in a way that talking to a childless stranger is not.

Coming back to today's patio discussion, another thought occurred to me. How strange and unusual, and... well, nice... to be the only one with a kid at the table; to be the only one who has experienced pregnancy and at least the beginning stages of childbirth; to be the only one to cope with a screaming child and the only one to know the joy of coming home to a joyous greeting of "Mommy, Mommy!". How mature I felt and how happy I was to be a mommy.

I thought back to earlier conversations with friends where I was the only childless one in the discussion, and I remembered feeling anxious and sad and alone. I'm glad that I'm no longer in that place. And I'm very grateful every day for my little boy.

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