Gemma has changed me. Sure, each of the kids has left their, ahem, mark on my body and my psyche, but this time is different.

I don’t know quite how to describe it. I’ve known with every baby that there is no going back to life before them; everything shifts with a new life and that’s expected. Even the things you can’t really predict – not gagging at finding dried boogs on your arm, making more than one kind of lunch just so you’ll stay sane, how very few hours of sleep are needed to function – you aren’t surprised by. And most of the time you don’t know it’s happening until it’s habitual ( though I hope that’s not the case with the boogers. Or the sleep. . . ).

But with Gemma it’s different. I have been aware of the changes as they are happening and can still very clearly recall existence before I was like this. I wonder if, and dare I say FEAR, there is no going back.

I have never been a huge fan of soda. I liked a cold root beer if we were out for pizza, maybe, or a sip to wash down popcorn at the theater. But if I had a choice, I’d opt for water any day MY ENTIRE LIFE. Now? Now I’m stealing Jac’s Cokes and Dr. Pepper. I have to will myself to choose the H2O. When my mom had her phase of starting the day with a Pepsi, I couldn’t stomach the thought and now, here I am, daydreaming of crushed ice and fountain drinks during my morning shower.

Hand in hand with the pop is a newfound craving for caffeine. Here’s the deal: when I was in my first semester of college, I created a lovely little ulcer with cafeteria cappuccinos and too many ibuprofens. I ended up on a caffeine-free diet until I healed but when I attempted to go back, caffeine was no longer a friend. It made me jittery and sick, so I reluctantly bade my faux joe adieu and avoided caffeine like the plague. No juiced tea, coffee, pain relievers and certainly not soda. Until now. I stand in the doorway of the pantry and argue with myself about choosing the herbal tea over the hopped up black.

It sounds like I’m going crazy.

I might be.

Lastly, I have never been a lover of chocolate. Hot cocoa? Heck yes. Snickers? Sure. If it’s combined with peanut butter or caramel, cool. But brownies, cakes, cookies, chips or bars are out of the question. Or should I say, were? I think I understand a chocoholic now. Alas, the dairy ban has made this especially painful. What I wouldn’t give for a chocolate chip cookie or some mint chocolate ice cream! Thanks be to God Oreos contain no milk as they have been the single thing that has kept me from madness.

I don’t know who I am any more.

I’m holding out hope that in time I will return to “normal”. In the meantime I will be feeding my denial hope with Dr. Pepper and Double Stuff’d.