Let me start off by saying this will not be some tutorial or lesson on parenting. I have one child who is 14 months old. I’m far from being any type of expert. The last thing I want to do is sound like the 24 year old girl who’s been married 6 months trying to give everyone marital advice like she’s “experienced” anything. But, that doesn’t mean my wife and I haven’t observed things along the way. So I thought we’d share a couple of our own experiences that were unexpected:
Handful Of Caca
Yeah, get over your fear of germs, because at some point you will hold a turd firmly in your hand. Not only that, it will be the funniest thing your child ever experienced. Probably because your face turns paler than Renee Zellweger in winter when you get a nice fat stink palm. The first time it happened to me I was changing a diaper up on the changing pad. My son went to roll over and it was either dodge the poop or let him fall on the ground. The diaper shifted and a small mass rolled down into my hand. I’ll never forget the raucous laughter coming from this child when my first reaction was to throw it across the room. However, mid-toss I realized what was happening and tightened my hand to avoid painting the nursery wall with organic (yeah, i said first time parents) fecal matter. Yeah, you never think it will happen to you. You think there will be more time. You’re wrong.
Toddlers Can Teleport
Oh man, I mean, we knew our son wouldn’t stay immobile forever. Remember the days, ahh they were glorious, when you could just lay them on their back and could turn around? Hell, you could even leave the room for a brief moment to check on the laundry. Even though you’d immediately freak out and run back into the room because there is always someone sitting out there just waiting to snatch away your child, in your living room, with all the doors locked. But, oh my, once they learn how to roll and then crawl, it’s a whole new ballgame. You can’t close your eyes and sneeze without them being 20 feet away, just sitting their smiling. How do they do that? Teleportation is the only explanation. That’s why there is a billion dollar industry selling cages (gates) for children.
If there is danger, they will find it. You can baby proof every inch of your house, and they will find the linchpin and exploit it. If you leave one outlet unplugged, because you wanted to vacuum the house and surprise your wife, you will find them headed towards it with a butter knife staring at you with a sheepish grin. It’s like they know it’s your job to protect them, and if you fail then they win the game. How did they get a butter knife? Magic, sorcery, using the force? Their favorite test of your patience and emotions is to wait until you’re vulnerable and force an immediate decision. Let me explain with a hypothetical example. Let’s say you’re cooking spaghetti and you are waiting for the water to boil. Well, they will just sit there, being a little angel (so you think). Oh, but they are calculating, trust me. When that water starts boiling over the pot and requires your attention, it’s time to strike. That’s when they are going to get up and do a balance beam act on the brick fireplace. It’s no coincidence, you are being tested.
Hah, that worked out nicely. It’s always a bonus when you can work the word “cockamamie” organically into a conversation. Now look, I would never bash proud mamas, that’s not my intention here. But do yourself a favor and don’t google any milestones, or pay too much attention to when your child does something new. Your pediatrician will ask those questions and if something is unusual, they will let you know. There is a vicious web of lies everywhere you look, and it’s really just mamas who want to be proud of their kids. I don’t think it’s intentional, but it will make you think your child is Lenny from Of Mice and Men. I’ve heard stories about kids rolling over when they’re one week old, talking at two months, walking at three, and it just gets worse. It’s like some weird challenge to see who’s kid is better. All kids do things at different stages and it has no bearing on whether or not they will one day solve p vs np or find a way to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity. Let your child do things on their own time, just my two cents.
The worse you hurt yourself the funnier it will be. It’s a rule of nature. Nothing will get your young child laughing harder than the hyenas on the Lion King more than hammering your thumb into the wall and dropping a 100 decibel f-bomb. It only amplifies when you ask the timeless question “OH, IS THAT FUNNY?!!!” Or doing the “scared shitless stumble” with them in your arms. It’s ok to admit it, this is a safe place. You know you’ve been carrying your child and tripped over your own two feet and stumbled 3o feet across the room like you’re reliving your college years with a cheap bottle of vodka. Scariest three seconds of your life in slow motion while your kid laughs like the first time you watched Eddie Murphy’s “Delirious”. It will happen.
This is a serious one that nobody warns you about. I truly believe it would have been easier to be a parent before the days of internet and the rapid exchange of information. Every terrible story you read about an infant you will imagine as if it happened to your own child. You will cry or you are not human. Babies that develop diseases, stories of abuse, neglect, terrible accidents. They will have you weeping like Bette Middler is sitting at her friend’s grave while “Wind Beneath My Wings” plays in the background.. It sucks, but it’s a reality. Your child will receive a thousand bear hugs in the middle of a nap due to you reading terrible news stories that involve little children. It’s a sad world we live in sometimes.
Don’t Show Interest In Anything
It’s amazing how independent your kid wants to be until you are interested in something else. Even when they are sleeping they can sense it. They can be lying in your arms comatose and if you pick up that phone to check Facebook or Twitter they will naturally roll over and knock the phone out of your hands. This is no coincidence. Take a work call when they are in the floor playing? Hah, that’s rich. They will be pawing at your leg like Winnie the Pooh and a honey pot. If you don’t give them attention they will scream with enough intensity to shatter large windows. You have been warned.
Get A Large Hard Drive
Get with the times, we live in the digital age. You will take one million photos/videos/sound recordings and that is not an exaggerated number. The last thing you want to do is be trying to delete photos in order to free up room to take a video when they’re taking their first steps. Export your media regularly and always have enough room on your phone to capture the important moments. Trust me, you will use George Carlin’s seven words you can’t say on tv within a five second time frame if you don’t follow this advice. Just a heads up, it will happen.
Like I said, we are far from experts, but these are a few things my wife and I have observed along the way. Nothing could prepare us for this. It doesn’t matter how many books you read or classes you take, nobody will ever perfectly raise a child. Just have fun and enjoy it along the way.