o’erstep not the modesty of nature

I started work on a novel yesterday, and it was really hard. Were you expecting it to be easy? My husband laughed when I told him. No, but I was taken aback by how crappy my writing seemed to me as I wrote. It really shook my confidence. And that really scared me: if I can't write a novel, then what am I doing? I left a great career to be a stay-at-home mom. I realized that my whole life plan hinges on being able to write a novel, so if I can't do it ... then what?

When I went back a few hours later and read what I'd written, it didn't seem totally crappy. So that was good. But I'm encountering a problem that I think is common among first-time novelists: it's too autobiographical. I'm not sure whether I want to continue. On the other hand, maybe I need to get that material processed and out of my system.

Anyway, it feels good to be moving forward.

I got Nugget's hair cut yesterday, and he looks like he's ready to enlist now. It's a real big boy haircut, someone said. It's got me thinking about the fact that I've never been that sentimental about his hair. It's true I was upset the first time I had his haircut, when I thought they cut it too short and I was mad at myself for letting someone cut off his baby curls. But I didn't wait a long time to get that first haircut, as many people do, and I've kept his hair pretty short ever since. I like that he looks like a big boy. He is a big boy.

While getting my eyebrows shaped the other day I was talking to the aesthetician about kids -- she had a baby girl, I think she said 4 months old. I mentioned that I thought Nugget was ready for potty training, but that I wasn't. She immediately jumped to commiserating with me about how "we" don't want our kids to grow up. Which is totally not what I had in mind. I'm not ready for potty training because it seems like a real hassle -- remembering to ask if he needs to go potty every couple hours, dealing with accidents -- I'd rather change diapers. But I didn't correct her. She seemed like the type who would recoil in horror that I found anything about my child to be a hassle.

That was not the first time someone assumed I was wishing my son wouldn't grow up, and commiserated. I don't get it. Why would I want to keep my son from growing up? Even when I occasionally miss things about his babyhood, I never think, oh if only he were still a baby. That's just weird to me. I love the age he is now, and I can't wait to experience every new age with him. I want him to learn and grow and have new adventures.

Not to mention the fact that I found his infancy much harder and less enjoyable than toddlerhood. There were perks, to be sure, and sometimes I miss them -- the new baby smell, the cuddling, those dimpled thighs; being able to cart him around while he sleeps; never worrying about what he's eating; etc. And certainly toddlerhood is equally hard. But it's hard in different ways, ways that I prefer. Infancy is physically hard, but it's boring. Toddlerhood is a mental challenge: how do I get him to eat right, sleep enough, and let me get my errands done while teaching him to be independent and make good choices, and feel unconditionally loved? It's still hard, but it's the type of challenge I prefer.

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