You never realize how much having children changes you until you become a parent. I’m sure those of you with children know what I mean, and those of you without children may think parents are a bit insane at times. I know I did before I had children! Before my girls were born, I knew I wanted children, but I really didn’t have a whole lot of that “motherly instinct.” I was actually scared to death of babies! I never wanted to hold other people’s babies because I was just flat out uncomfortable doing it, or I was scared I’d drop them and cause permanent brain damage. :-) I don’t know if it’s hormones, God’s magic or a combination of the two, but something just happens when you have children. Immediately, I couldn’t get enough of babies, mine or those of others, and that hasn’t changed to this day. My close friends with children have experienced this, too.

Instinct case in point…I was in Target today and needed to, um, use the facilities, shall we say. So there I am doing my business when I hear two little girls in the stall next door talking. The younger one (guessing by the tone of her voice) was asking the older one to help her, um, finish up, shall we say. The older one would not help her. The younger one kept asking and the older one kept saying she’d have to do it herself, and then left the stall. Well, I was out of my stall by this point, and I could hear that the younger girl was getting upset, and my instinct to help her was overwhelming. I told her that I had two little girls and didn’t mind helping her if she needed me to. She immediately said, “Yes, will you help me, please?”, so I pushed open her door to help her finish up. She was about 4 and her sister looked to be somewhere in the 8-10 range. Being the good mommy that I am, I made sure we both washed our hands afterwards. :-) She was very grateful and then her sister proceeded to tell me about this great bracelet she made at school today. I had heard them say something about “Nana” to each other earlier so I guess they were there with their grandmother, but I have no clue where she was.

I’ve been trying to teach my girls about strangers and what to do if they ever get separated from me or their Daddy in a crowd, and I realized today that my advice is contradictory in a sense. On one hand, I tell them never to talk to strangers, like we all do, and then, like many doctors and child experts recommend, I tell them to look for another “Mommy” to help them find me if they ever get lost. So that’s telling them to talk to a stranger, isn’t it? Catch 22, I guess. Parenting is definitely an on-going learning process….one of those “make it up as you go along” kinda things. Did I do the right thing for that little 4-year-old today? I hope so. I’m not sure I could have just walked out of there and left her there struggling. Now that I think about it, I remember a similar episode from several years ago! Our next door neighbor’s little boy needed some help “finishing up”. Since I was “A GIRL!” he wouldn’t let me, so I went to get my husband...who was not happy with me... Maybe Daddies just don’t have that “must help them out in the bathroom” instinct. :-)

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