Often, when I expressed an opinion about something before I had a baby, someone would say, “Oh, you’ll feel different once you have a kid.” For instance, I got into a gigantic argument with a coworker after she insisted I would start driving to Target because they sell cheap diapers, when I hate Target and I hate driving.
And then there was the reader who commented on a screed I wrote about precut vegetables:
Do you have kids? If so, I'd like to see how you find the time to prepare all of this. And don't give me the, ‘it doesn't take a lot of time to chop your own vegetables’ line, either…. On top of that, what's so wrong with making food more palatable to children? Packaging and looks matters to kids.
I was certain I wouldn’t change, at least about the stuff I cared about: My kid wouldn’t watch TV, I would make all his baby food, I would use cloth diapers, I wouldn’t give him juice boxes. So, my son’s about to turn one, and it’s time for a reckoning. How did I do? Here’s my first-year scorecard.
Before baby: Vowed to never let my kid spill crap all over the floor at restaurants and make waitstaff pick it up. After baby: Still neurotic about restaurant messes; have gotten down on my hands and knees to retrieve crumbs and bread nubs, sometimes inadvertently feeding salvaged nubs back to baby.
Before baby: Planned to make all my own baby food, using food mill and organic veggies. After baby: Once my son refused a few of my roasted banana–white bean concoctions, I gave up. Routinely buy environmentally damaging organic “tube food."
Before baby: Vaguely planned on raising baby to eat the diet I wished I was eating: no meat, no cow’s milk, no processed food like crackers, only whole fruits and vegetables. After baby: Visits to local coffeehouse where baby eats bagel are so routine I was worried his first word would be “latte.” Cheese, meat, and crackers are also familiar friends.
Before baby: Irritated by children at parties. After baby: Irritated by children at parties only if they double-dip.
Before baby: Convinced I would never allow baby to have gross food on his face while others were watching, even during meal times. Would perfect the “swipe between bites." After baby: Hahahahahhahah.
Image source: Lessley Anderson