Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Secrets of Parenthood: Why Didn't Anyone Tell Me?

The following secrets are morsels that I wished parents would have shared with me before I had children.  I feel as though they may be more important than those petty breathing exercises that you're taught in Lamaze. Nevertheless, they are all facts that I picked up by pure experience. So rather than making you all fend for yourself in this sometimes terrifying world of parenting, here are just a few things to keep in mind.  Having this knowledge won't help you avoid the inevitable, but sometimes having realistic expectations makes all the difference.  Without further ado:

1. Eventually, your kid will be the one with the nauseating green snail trails running from his nose to his mouth. It's unavoidable. That's what tissues and a gag reflex are for.

2. You can give them napkins but they're still going to use their sleeves.

3. If they say something to you and you don't respond, they will only say it AGAIN and say it LOUDER. And if you still don't respond... Well, ignore them at your peril.

4. Your precious child will at some point turn into a screaming hell-spawn. Usually in public. If you're Mr. Grouchy Pants, during a church service or wedding. It is the mark of a good mommy to shrug it off while stifling your own hysterical, embarrassed laughter.

5. Every one of them can negotiate better than a professional trial lawyer. Particularly where bedtime is concerned.

6. They only need to walk past a room to mess it up.

7. They are atrocious liars. Somehow, the answer they want to give seems to be hidden in the upper outside corner of one of their eyes. Another word of advice: Lie BIG. Even if we know that there's no way that Darth Sith and Luigi emptied out the Toy Closet and then self annihilated in a battle to the death, leaving you with the unfortunate mess, we'll appreciate the creativity. And imagine you'll make a great storyteller someday. Or very unsuccessful criminal.

8. Just when you think diapers and potty training are all happily part of your past and you get all forgetful and complacent, somebody leaves you a "tootsie roll" in the tub. If you're unfortunate, there are bubbles. And you don't realize what's been lurking in there until it's far, far too late.

9. They mispronounce words and it is hilarious but you have to be careful not to laugh too hard or they will be embarrassed or intentionally say: "There goes the firef&$#!" over and over. Grouch, for example, when he says "six-year-old" it sounds exactly like he's saying "sexual". Like his teacher helps him with sexual math and reading. Or he met a new friend at the park who is a "sexual girl".

10. For some reason, there is some need to take action figures, superhero costumes, extra clothes, different shoes, unnecessary books, swords, anything that's mine, or ginormous water bottles to school in their backpacks. Please stop. One, something is going to get lost or stolen. Two, it just makes it heavier, guaranteeing you come closer every day to resembling Quasimodo. And, three, you always hand it to me to carry. Just because I carried you for nearly an entire year at one point doesn't mean I want to be a pack mule for your crap now.

11. Getting them out of bed Monday through Friday? We've turned on the lights, opened the curtains, blasted Lady Gaga, and ripped all the covers off them... and they still manage to turn over and go back to sleep. Yet, Saturday, up at 6 am. Thank you. Michael Jackson and I will be taking our revenge Monday morning.

12. Before you realize it's happening, they find the need to ask ridiculously embarrassing questions in public. Like while checking out at the grocery store. Imagine a precocious three-year-old boy with the loudest voice in the world. He looks around and says: "That lady over there has a baby in her tummy... Do you think that they doctor will be able to get it out by himself, or will he need help, cause she sure is big!"

13. Nothing is better than watching a toddler rock out in their carseat. I do not mean to "The Wheels on the Bus". I mean Lady GaGa or Queen or something completely awesome that they randomly decide that they love more than anything. Nothing that is, except their interpretation of song lyrics. Which are nothing short of genius.

14. Kiddos are tricky. You ask them to brush their teeth and they look at you like: what is this "brush" you speak of? What are these - how do you say -"teeth"? But at school, they can spell October, say the alphabet backwards, make finger puppets, and nonchalantly inform their teacher that Jacob is the name of the good werewolf.

15. You and husband may be forced to get into the very creepy habit of calling each other "mommy" and "daddy" so that the children don't end up screeching: "MIIICHELLEEEEEEE! Can you come wipe my BOTTOM!" while in public. It's much less horrifying when they call you mom. Trust me on this one.


  1. Re #4: I have a story. Our SS teacher in Georgia has a boy, around 3...? Anyway, they are in Walmart when he goes into full-on meltdown mode. After she finishes shopping, she gets in the car and a woman knocks on her door window. She rolls the window down and the woman says, "Hi, I think I can help you." And she's like, "Excuse me?" And the woman says, "I'm a faith healer, and I think I can help you." And she says, "I need you to move away from my car so I can leave." And the woman says, "No, no, I can help you/ I've had great experience with difficult children." Mind you, this is one of the most well-behaved children I have ever seen, just having a bad moment. At which point my friend rolls up her window and pulls out while the woman is still trying to knock on her window to get her to roll it down.

    Anyway, I thought it was hilarious and thought I'd share.

  2. that is funny! I've actually been approached by one of those "healers" before. I'm much too nice and let them think that they might have a chance before I tell them I'm late for church or something like that. They are relentless.