As a seasoned parent*, I think it’s important to let people know the things that no one told me about parenting that I learned along the way…
- Buy stock in “insert favorite lotion here” – They fail to tell you how many times a day you will wash and sanitize your hands, bottles, toys, your kids hands, and pretty much anything that comes in contact with a teething infant/toddler or two. I think we have spent more money on lotion for these dry hands in the past 19 months than we have in about 19 years combined!
- You don’t have to take the kids to the Dr. for EVERYTHING – after you have made your first round of sicknesses with your kids, you basically know what a stomach bug looks like for your kiddo and how long it takes for them to get over it. If my kid has had diarrhea for 2 consecutive days with no fever and general crankiness, chances are it’s a….you guessed it! Belly bug! Don’t need a $20 co pay for that! (NOTE: Please take your kid to the doctor if you don’t know what the hell is going on!)
- Your body will hurt like you got hit by a truck– I don’t know why I didn’t think of this. Did I expect to be in the best shape of my life when I decided to have kids? No, I didn’t expect that at all. But I also didn’t expect to feel like I got hit by a semi, run over by 2 consecutive F-150’s, then compressed in a garbage truck, and spit out into bed only to be woken up at 3am with a grinding pain in my hip and a pang in my elbow. This, all from playing for THIRTY MINUTES at a kids play space, but also and usually from bending and reaching to pick up a 20+lb toddler, I dunno, about a THOUSAND times a day!
- Stretch IMMEDIATELY after getting out of bed – re-read number 3.
- Watch the most hysterical movie you have ever seen and practice not laughing – This is for reals people! Some of the things my kids say and do warrant a spanking, ONLY because it’s so damn hilarious that it’s not right that I should have to be subjected to NOT laughing at it! So unfair, but also, such a big deal. Being aware that I have a ridiculous sense of humor and laugh at everything, I try my best to implement the RAR system (Reprimand and Run) in our house, but Callie reminds me that if they are ever going to take me serious as a disciplinarian (which I am not!) I’m going to have to stop laughing every time they do something that’s not ok. Throwing their food from the highchair, blowing raspberries with a spoonful of green bean puree in their mouth, and beating her brothers (who were cracking up by the way) over the head with a light up Styrofoam stick (guys, it was freaking hilarious!!!!) is behavior I should be correcting and not laughing at. “The Pest”, “Bridesmaids” and “Old School”, I’m just gonna have to watch you a few more times for practice.
- Snacks will be EVERYWHERE – If someone would have told me this, I would have shrugged my shoulders and said, “obviously”, but I don’t think I ever imagined the sheer amount of snacks found pretty much, everywhere. Those Cheer.ios you gave your baby last week? Somehow, they showed up in his diaper this morning. Those gummy snacks you gave your daughter 2 weeks ago? At the bottom of the laundry machine fusing a sock, a t-shirt sleeve, and the insert of Mama’s nursing bra together. I think if I picked up every snack that’s in 2 car seats, a booster seat, and the floor, I will probably accrue about 2 boxes of cereal, a pouch of goldfish, a party sized pretzel bag and enough raisins to circle the globe about 3 times. I know that if we didn’t have money for food, we could live off of the crumbs in our car for a good 3 months. Also, our car is somehow a sandbox.
- Phantom cries are a real thing – And you can get really hurt answering a “cry”. Example: I knew I was home alone, no kids anywhere to be found. I decide, “No kids! Awesome! I can take a long shower and tackle some of this self grooming I have long been neglecting,” and half way through said shower, our cat must have knocked something off of the table and then, crying. Lots and lots of incessant crying. So of course, I run out of the shower sans towel, into the living room to see what happened. But not before I became a Gold Medal Olympian, because you see, the “slide and split” I did would have earned perfect 9’s across the board, but add in “buck naked” for difficulty and VOILA! Hello Tokyo 2020. If you have no kids at home before you go into the shower, chances are, there won’t be any kids at home during and after your shower, soooo….
- Your house/apartment/living space can dub as a daycare classroom and has the vaguest semblance of a previous life – I know this because when my 3 tiniest kids and my niece come over, I am officially in NYS ratio. 4:1. 4 kids. One adult. My apartment actually IS a daycare center pretty much every day of my life. I’ll let that sink in a little.
- Cleaning noses without tissues will absolutely happen – that’s right folks! And you won’t think twice about it. You’ll do this more times than you can count in the first 2 years of your kids lives. And if you have twins or triplets, yeaaaaah…Might wanna consider the color of those next pair of pants when your kid has had a runny nose for a couple of days. I have to say, I probably shouldn’t have work these black pants today…
- Giving toddlers choices is so awesome, and also so dumb – Every morning before daycare, I give my boys an option of what “snack” they would want with their milk (breakfast before breakfast option to keep them calm in the car on our way to daycare because I don’t have time to go home and change my pants since they’ve been crying ” ‘nack!” for 15 minutes and there are no tissues in sight!) . I hold up two different things. “Would you like this (shows #1) or this (shows #2)? This or this?” and the response is generally, and by generally I mean ALWAYS “ooohhhh dis!” and then grabbing both things! Then of course, I get stuck remembering #5 and, why do I even bother giving them choices because it’s so damn funny!!! We leave the house, Sippy Cups filled with milk resting on laps, an apple-cinnamon rice cake in one hand and a box of raisins in the other, neither of which get eaten because hands are busy and juggling a box of raisins while trying to drink milk with a rice cake in your mouth doesn’t really work when you’re 19 months, so then of course, #6 happens. But I can’t pick anything up because I forgot to stretch yesterday morning and went to Billy Beez and now I’m out of commission for the whole week, so that rice cake is just gonna have to sit there until a phantom cry wakes me out of my sleep reminding me that Levi is probably “crying” because he left his rice cake in the car 3 days ago! Not that it would make a difference if I got it or not, because when he IS actually crying at 6:30am for a rice cake, he’ll remember his choice of fruit bar from 2 weeks ago and choose that instead!
Friends, being a parents is hard, hard work!
*By “seasoned parent” I mean last night, while my kids were helping me cook, they accidentally knocked Adobo all over the counter and on my hand.