Last week an entire plane full of people wanted to throw my family out the window. We were on a four-hour flight to Florida and my 10-month-old son Jack was not having any of it.
It started off well enough, but soon escalated into a melee when Jack realized he couldn't crawl up and down the aisles during take-off. Like someone trying to hold down a greased pig at the county fair, I clung to my son as he screamed his face off. Other passengers looked at us with a mixture of pity and disgust as this screams soon reached a crescendo of hysterics.
Out of sheer desperation my husband began shoving tiny pieces of an Egg McMuffin into my son's mouth which immediately placated him. We sat back in utter exhaustion, with Jack happily chewing his processed food on my lap with the realization that parenthood was much harder than we thought it would be.
Before having children, my husband and I thought that once we were parents, it would be easy to maintain the active lifestyle we had always led. We could continue to do many of the things we had always done, and be the same people we had always been...with some slight modifications, of course. Who really wants to become those asinine people who bring a screaming kid to a nice restaurant at 10 p.m.?
And unfortunately, we all know babies and bars usually don't mix because of the whole age requirement thing. This wasn't necessarily about “staying cool” (I lost my hip factor when I started falling asleep on the couch by 9 p.m. each Friday night), but instead was more focused on retaining who we were before kids.
We planned to maintain our identities while forging ahead with a new life as loving parents. As the reality of parenthood set in, we began to acquiesce to the sleep-deprivation and stress of parenthood and give up parts of the life we had once shared. We passed up opportunities to go to local ethnic restaurants in favor of chain eateries with children menus and bright crayons. We said adieu to our cramped, urban digs and moved into a house in the 'burbs. And we nearly gave up on the idea of world travel...who really wants to take babies out of the country?
Most of our friends who had kids had stumbled onto this same situation. It wasn't as if they wanted to stop doing the things they always had. Instead, they assumed it was part of parenthood to take on another identity for 18 years...to cease being cool and begin a slow metamorphosis into your own parents.
Will we be able to return to our former life? We're getting there. This column will be about my quest for a fulfilling life with children. After living all over the country for the past 14 years, we recently moved back to my hometown of Louisville with our dog, Noodles, and our 10-month-old son, Jack. We just bought a creaky, but delightful home in the Highlands which will serve as the perfect home base for my hijinks. This new lifestyle is still a work in progress for us. Despite triumphs there are many times when the great big world and children just don't coalesce.
But we refuse to be daunted. I try to maintain composure and a sense of humor when our son starts screaming in the middle of a museum, or throws a glass in a restaurant. I am committed to strapping Jack in his stroller (or more often on my back), grabbing my trusty goldendoodle, Noodles, and getting out to experience all that life...and Louisville has to offer for families.
So come join me. I will be popping into this virtual world of Louisville.com several times a week to update on my quest for fun, personally fulfilling stuff to do (and avoid) around town as well as other recommendations and general musings about my quest. I plan to go down the road less traveled, so I assure you it will be a bumpy ride. Alas, sometimes life is harder when we choose to not follow the crowd. But, I am confident that experiencing what I love about life with my child will be worth it in the end.
For more information: St. Francis Assisi's trivia night this Friday is both kid and adult friendly.
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