Thursday, September 30, 2010


You know you are well into parenthood and approaching middle age when you start to relate to just about all the family themed sitcoms on TV.  Either your family, or one you know, seems very well represented on the screen.

We, and when I say we, I mean everyone in the house but my husband who is somehow strangely immune to the vast majority of illnesses that sneak into our family, were all feeling pretty crummy last night.  We ended up watching TV pretty much the whole time.

One of the shows we watched  was The Middle, which is such a funny show that you must watch it.   The youngest son on the show, Brick, is a unique child to say the least.  He whispers to himself all the time.  Last night, he wanted to keep leaves as pets, which totally reminds me of Ashley.  She'd do something like that. 

On the show last night, his parents were trying to teach him how to blow his nose.  Simple enough, right?  No way.  It's one of the things in the fine print of parenthood, that no one ever warns you how hard it is going to be. 

There are a lot of those challenges as a parent.  The ones that seem insurmountable.  The things that you swear your kids are just never going to figure out.  You start to imagine them going to college with snot running down their face, riding a bike with training wheels in high school, tripping over their untied shoelaces as an adult.  Shudder. 

Of course, it depends on the kid.  Some just figure things out faster, some seem to have a hard time grasping concepts that seem like second nature to us as adults. 

Nose blowing is a big one.  Most kids will either suck in their snot or blow out of their mouth for years before they figure it out.  Then when they figure out the whole blowing thing, it takes a while to coordinate the tissue holding and blowing.  It, apparently, is very complicated.

Wiping after going to the bathroom is another big one.  Wiping is one thing no one ever warns you about.  You mean I have to teach them to wipe???  Yes.  And it takes FOREVER.  If you are like me, you have had the privilege of reluctant wipers.  The ones who flat out refuse to do it.

...When they start to wipe, you have to teach them to be thorough without using an entire roll of toilet paper. 

...When they use an entire roll of toilet paper (and they will), you have to teach them to be able to tell when it's going down and when it's not. 

...When it's not going down (and there are times that it won't), you have to teach them to get mom fast and not to keep flushing and flushing and flushing. 

Tying their shoes has proven an elusive skill, as has riding a bike without training wheels.  Aidan just recently figured out how to tie his shoes tight enough that they didn't untie immediately. He's 9.  It took almost two solid years of trying before Ashley rode without training wheels...yet the child taught herself how to use a snowboard without a major incident. 

Teaching them how to hit a baseball is another one.  It requires hand-eye coordination, timing, aim and a certain degree of bravery.  I'm sure there are kids out there that master this one quickly, AJ might be that way, but as of yet, none of the others have been.

I'm sure we have years ahead of us in this department, many more skills to be taught that will make us frustrated.  We still have to teach them how to drive.  I'm exhausted just thinking about it. I remember how my parents would cringe at the thought.  The invisible steering wheels and brakes that appeared in the passenger seat.  The sighs and the cries of brakes, brakes, brakes!!!   I'm not looking forward to my time in that seat.

I'm starting to think that AJ just might be a genius.  He's barely two, and as of this morning, he can already blow his nose.   Here's to hoping he can figure out some of the other stuff fast too.  Even if he doesn't, it's okay.  I'm pretty skilled with a plunger these days.  His dad has spent years running behind bikes.  And we've both thrown what seems like a million balls before a single one was hit.

We knew that parenthood wasn't going to be easy.  We knew there would be challenges. I just don't think either one of us ever realized how hard it would be to teach someone to blow their nose.

1 comment:

  1. We are lucky, Charlotte can blow her own..but needs help holding the tissue for a thorough job. Rebecca seems to be getting it already from watching her sister. And I hear ya about those shows.


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