Way back in the early days of this blog (we just passed my 2-year blog-versary [not a word] last month) I wrote a post about things they never tell you about parenting – specific to my wonderful children – in case you missed it (which, let’s be honest, I had like 5 readers back at the beginning, so chances are, you did because I highly doubt anyone is going back and reading my archives of their own accord) here’s a link, it’s amusing, especially if you know my kids.
I’ve learned more things since then and gained more insight with the marching on of time and I was just thinking this morning about the ridiculous things I’ve done for my kids thanks to a text exchange with my friend, Amy, who is getting her midway ultrasound today for her second child. She was noting the fact that she would have to consume copious amounts of water prior to said ultrasound and hold it uncomfortably in her bladder for the duration and I thought, “This is where it begins…” all those little details about parenting that you are completely unaware of unless you have close friends (or sisters) with kids who share all those details with you. But if you were like me, most of that stuff was tuned out because I wasn’t yet at that stage in my life. I didn’t start paying attention until I was married and thinking of kids myself. And really, but the time that big, gender-revealing ultrasound comes along, you’ve already done plenty of things you never would have done prior to kids. You’ve scaled back or given up caffeine, you’ve altered your eating habits, you’ve craved random food combinations, you’ve cried because you had to cook chicken, you’ve maybe given yourself shots for infertility treatments, you’ve attending classes on car seat installation/infant CPR/breastfeeding, you’ve toured birthing centers and interviewed doctors/midwives, you’ve considered whether or not you’d like to have a magical needle full of body-numbing medicine poked into your spine during childbirth (my two cents – do it – there are no medals or cash prizes for those who go without), you’ve purchased impossibly tiny clothing in gender neutral colors and stressed over which stroller/pack and play/diaper bag to register for… and that’s all before you even have a bundle of joy in your arms. It is comical and eye-opening when you consider how much having a child alters your life… but how could it not? You have made a new life (with a little help from your partner and whole lot of help from God) and that life will forever impact who you are and what you do… FOREVER.
Before I get too sappy, which was not at all my intention, here are some other things I have done/experienced that I never thought would happen prior to becoming a parent. I mean, if I had sat down and thought seriously about it, maybe I would have come up with a list something close to this, but really… who does that? Not me. I’m a take-it-as-it-happens sort of person.
- You will more thank likely catch vomit that is not your own (if you are catching your own, you might be doing something wrong because I sort of think adults should be forewarned about their own puke and be able to at least find another suitable receptacle to take care of the job).
- You will get poop on your hands/clothing/hair – sh!t happens.
- You will have to live up to the standards you’ve set for previous holidays/birthdays/life events because your kids will remember what you did in the past… which means you will send your husband to the store at 11 at night to buy gold coins for the tooth fairy to gift to your kids and you will troll the aisles at the grocery store for appropriate valentine’s gifts the day before Valentine’s Day.
- Your choices for dinners out with your family will be dictated by their ultra-specific eating habits; if a restaurant doesn’t serve chicken nuggets or fries, you will likely not choose it unless you were dying to hear your youngest child bemoan his existence and insist in a woeful voice that he is starving.
- You will display disproportionate excitement over scribbles on paper (“It’s me riding a cloud, mommy.” “Okay…”), achievements on video games and your child’s ability to count to ten in French. It’s not that you aren’t proud…
- Your weekend trips to Chicago will shift away from staying downtown and checking out great restaurants, to staying in the suburbs at a hotel with a pool and visiting Legoland.
- You won’t enjoy a brief, 3-hour flight to Houston for vacation, but instead endure a 20-hour, 2-day road trip down south highlighted with many stops at McDonald’s because it is the only food option with a play land and your kids have the ENERGY.
- You will spend hours a week in your car, transporting kids to/from daycare/school/activities and waiting in the
godawfulsuper efficient school pickup line (and you will contemplate how you would physically hurt the person who disregards the line and pulls in front of those waiting into an empty space just vacated by someone else who already picked up their kid).
- You will gladly watch other people’s children because it makes the evening go so much faster and you will learn you can easily whip up a meal for four kids without even needing an extra trip to the grocery store (which insanely makes you ponder having more kids).
- You will delight in the fact that other people’s kids like coming to your house because you have different snacks than they have at home, congratulating yourself on your grocery-shopping skills.
- You will feel guilty when you can’t make the school holiday parties.
- You will feel equal parts happy and jealous when you see how your child adoringly looks at his teacher.
- You will feel like you are doing it all wrong, despite how many times you are told by others (and yourself) that you are not. And when you see someone else who is losing it with their kids, you will feel bad for them but also better about yourself – because at that moment, you can tell yourself that maybe you are doing it a little bit more “right” (until you get in the car and lose your patience when they won’t just sit down in their seats).
- Before adding another child to your family (which we are not at all in the process of doing, it should be noted), you will very seriously consider whether or not it is the right thing to do and if/when you are pregnant with that additional child, you will have a moment or two where you are gripped with the reality that you are actually doing this and the outcome of this is indeed ANOTHER child and you will ask yourself what in the world you were thinking.
- You will long for a night out with friends and during that evening, you will mostly talk about your kids because they are your life.
- If you work outside the home, you will look forward to going to work.
- You will get to a business meeting and find a toy car and a pair of kid’s socks in your purse while you are searching for a pen.
- You will argue with your kids over the dumbest things – who sings a song, why they can’t take a shower on a particular morning, how much longer they can watch TV, what their actual age is, why they cannot vote in a national election when they are six – the list is endless. You will forget that arguing with someone who is unreasonable is ill-advised and you will have to remind yourself to let it go, that even if you are actually right, you don’t have to “win” the argument with that the other person (who is 4 or perhaps 6).
- You will wake your children up before you go to bed to make them go to the bathroom in the hopes that they will not wet the bed… they will wake you up in the middle of the night for no good reason and insist that they cannot go back to sleep.
- You will childproof your house with bungee cords, fridge locks (that your 2-year-old can easily open), gates around your entertainment center (for nearly 6 years) and door knob covers that your father will teach them how to get around.
- You will dutifully set your DVR to record new episodes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
- You will threaten bodily harm to anyone who corrects your child when they say something incorrectly because those imperfections are so darn cute and you will regularly say those incorrect phrases yourself so when you work out, you are “extra-sizing” and if something isn’t your favorite, “You don’t ‘yike’ it.”
- You will share little rituals with your kids like blowing up fist bumps and bedtime thumb-kisses and they will warm your heart each and every time you do them.
- You will have to resist the urge to get mad at your kid when they are rude during bedtime prayers because you’re pretty sure that yelling at them while you are trying to talk to God probably defeats the whole purpose.