Yep, it’s that time again! It’s still hard to believe over an entire year has passed. What happened?!?!?! While I’m searching for answers to questions Don Quixote style, here are 10 new things I wished they would have told me.
1) It doesn’t get easier; it gets different. Sure, the nights of being up every 2 hours and changing infant diapers in a semi-conscious state are gone, but they’ve been replaced by babyproofing the house, getting kicked in the back by a rogue child foot at night, and following my son around the house to make sure he doesn’t put everything in his mouth (including the cat’s tail). As he grows, the problems become more complex. So be wary of anyone who tries to tell you “it gets easier”. Either they’ve never had kids or they just enjoy the schadenfreude.
2) You’re wrong. Every. Single. Day. My inner voice is constantly telling me I suck at this. I’m not asking for a pity party, but sometimes it’s near impossible to muster up the strength to get up off the mat after another knockdown. Metaphorically, of course. Being a parent means you will screw up at least one thing every day for the rest of your life. Everyone tells me that’s OK, so I’m figuring out how to accept that.
3) Solid food diapers are the second nastiest thing on the planet. I previously covered formula diapers as #1. But having to scrape solid, putty-like waste out of a cloth diaper into a toilet? Yeah, I’ll give you a minute to wipe your previously-digested lunch off your computer screen.
4) “Tight-fitting” pajama sets are the Devil’s work. Yes, I understand they should be well-fitted for safety reasons, but trying to squeeze a pre-Chernobyl toddler into PJs at bedtime should be an Olympic event. Either plan on spending an hour putting them on or saying “Fuck it, let ’em sleep naked.” And getting them off the next morning? Better get the Jaws of Life.
5) Bedsharing is awesome. OK, full disclosure here: Since my wife breastfeeds, she gets the brunt of the waking and feeding in the middle of the night, sleeping in uncomfortable positions, getting kicked, kneed, elbowed, and punched at random, and just generally dealing with the fallout of having a little dude invade your bed space. That said, I enjoy having my little guy sleeping soundly next to me. Of course it’s nice to have a king size bed, but still. He wants to be asleep next to us because that’s where he feels safe and secure in a world he barely knows. Why would I want to take that away from him?
6) You’ll start having “remember when” conversations. About your kid. Yeah, nostalgia after only 12 months. Funny thing about your brain: it has a way of softening the insanely brutal memories of the first few months and somehow magically trick you into thinking you might want to do that again.
7) Watching kids learn to eat solid foods is both wildy fascinating and utterly terrifying. Ever try chewing and swallowing your food without using your molars? Yeah, it’s wicked hard. “What do I do if he chokes?” “Oh God, he’s choking.” “Wait, no he’s not.” “Yes he is.” “No he’s not.” “Yes he his.” “No he’s not.” “Wait, he just swallowed it.” “He swallowed it?” “YAY! HE SWALLOWED IT!!!”
8) Going out to eat is like trying to diffuse a ticking time bomb. Except this bomb doesn’t have a predictable timer and needs constant distraction via toys, games, or food. Look, I’m terrified of having my child melt down in a restaurant (and believe me, it’s happened), but the only way to get kids comfortable in those situations is trial by fire. The more my son is exposed to it the more he’ll be comfortable with it. So the next time you see a parent frantically trying to calm their Tasmanian Devil, show a little compassion. Unless you’ve been there you’ll never know. Now I’ll just hop off my soapbox and head to the next one….
9) Yep, it still takes two. Like I said, it doesn’t get any easier. In my case, I know I wouldn’t be able to have the career I have and raise my son the way I want without the never ending and unconditional support from my wife. My awe and praise for her could fill up an entire post and then some (hey, there’s an idea for another post!). How on earth a single parent does it all is still beyond me. Mad props to all the single parents out there. You have my undying respect and admiration.
10) You’ll still love being a parent. Hell yeah it’s hard. Hell yeah I think I suck at it. But it’s everything I wanted it to be and added a huge new dimension to my life. Seeing his eyes light up when he sees me and says “dada” is THE best feeling in the world.