Fish out of water

(that's me, when I was waaaay smarter. At least as smart as a goldfish.)

Just recently two people I have known for a long time as young and footloose childless people have become expectant parents. And they've got that look. That deer in the headlights combined with intoxicated over-the-top happiness look.

I want to help them, I really do. Because I remember vividly how completely clueless I was when I was pregnant the first time. And the worst part about it – I had no idea I was clueless.

Outwardly I pretended to be aware that this was a whole new adventure I knew nothing about. But inwardly I was sure I knew what was what. I'd listened carefully to all the advice and act as if I was taking notes. I might even have written a few things down, like "carry a bottle of antibacterial soap at all times" (still the best single bit of advice I received).

But inside I just knew I had it all figured out.

Right. It's like the goldfish in its bowl thinking, "Man, if I could just get out of this bowl, you wouldn't believe the places I'd go. I'd rule the world!"

That goldfish thinks we're all swimming out here.

I knew, for example, I'd never panic over a mild fever. In reality, we went to the emergency room when I was pretty sure Sierra's cough sounded just like a barking seal.

I knew, once again, I'd never stick a lollipop in my kid's mouth just to have some peace and quiet on a long drive. In reality, there's a box of them in my car.

I knew I'd never park my child in front of the television. In reality I would never have gotten through a shower for the first five years if it weren't for the combined power of Dora the Explorer and Blues Clues.

And there was absolutely no way my children would have anything but a balanced breakfast. In reality, Sweeties Donuts are a regular feature in our 'we're running late, let's eat kolaches' dietary plan.

Sometimes I wish I could go back to the days in the fishbowl when I was so much smarter than I am now. I knew everything and there was a certain comfort in that skewed reality.

But once you jump out of the bowl, there's no going back.

Out here, mommies and daddies just have to flop our way through as best we can.