Wednesday, December 19, 2012

On why I don't need a parenting handbook

You're probably reading the title of this post and thinking, well yea parenting is hard, who told you it was going to be all sunshine and rainbows?

And the answer is no one. Everyone will tell you that being a parent is hard. For all the same reasons:

You'll never sleep again, like you did pre-children.

They get into everything.

You'll constantly worry.

It's not about you anymore.

And while these are all very, very valid points on parenthood, I was totally expecting them.

No, the hard part about parenting are a lot of little things that everyone fails to mention. So I'm mentioning them.

Like how you will give your child a Where's Baby's Dreidel hide and seek type board book on the first night of Hanukkah. And you read it three times that first night and think how adorable it is that he loves that book so much. And then suddenly Hannukah ended days ago and you're reading the book for the 12th time since breakfast. And it's not even lunchtime yet. Your original favorite line- Is it under grandma's apron? Just isn't funny anymore. You even hid it in a drawer under a hundred other books, but he found it and he pounds his little chest "me, me" and turns around and sits on your lap, ready to be read to.

I mean who can say no to that? So you read it again, maybe with your eyes closed, because you know it by heart- while you daydream of the next place you are going to hide it.

Being a parent is hard. Need another example?

We all know babies poop. There will be a day where you change three stinky diapers in row, all amazingly different consistencies. But thats expected.

No, the hard part is when you are changing his stinky diaper, holding your breath, when suddenly he reaches down with both hands and just clenches two handfuls of poop. His adorable tiny hands now seem huge as he reaches up in slow motion, giggling and smears one handful on the wall and the other on his chest. Suddenly you weren't born with enough hands and there is poop everywhere. You step back for a second, arms outstretched sort of spotting him because there is that chance he decides to roll off the changing table in that moment. You take a breath and sort of think to yourself, "Okay, but seriously what do I do?" The determined best course of action is to just pick him up, hold him as far away from you as possible and deposit him in the nearest bathtub. The poop smears in his room can wait until later.

And then, as you fill up the tub (for the second time that day) he is smiling because boy does he love bathtime. And he looks at you in a way that makes you think he's smarter than he's letting on, and maybe the kid just wanted to play in the bathtub again today.

Everyone's always saying there should be a handbook for this stuff. But seriously, even if there was, would you go grab it with poopy hands and turn to the chapter on When your Child Grabs a Handful of Poop? I didn't think so. Because, let's face it even if you did, your toddler would end up loving that chapter, and you'd have to re-read it again and again until the end of time.
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