Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Figured It Out

Now that I am a veteran parent, I occasionally feel compelled to warn newbies.  They never believe me. 

Until one day, when they figure it out for themselves.

I had to do it too.  I didn't believe it when other people warned me.  I thought they were joking.  Or crazy.  Or just plain wrong. 

They were right.

Parenting only gets harder.

And babies, as hard as they may be to care for, are a piece of cake

Of course, when you are perpetually sleep deprived, when your nipples are sore, when you are overwhelmed by a first cold, when you are unsure of what exactly you are doing, it seems like nothing could ever be harder.  Having a baby, especially your first one, brings with it a steep learning curve.  You've got to master a whole lot of skills in a short period of time. 

Once you do that, though, babies are easy.  They eat, they sleep, they poop.  Sometimes they cry.  That's about it. 

Then all of a sudden one day that baby is a toddler, and you realize just how good you had it back then.

Now the entire world is theirs to explore, theirs to climb on, theirs to cram in their mouths and up their noses (if they are anything like AJ, that is).  They run, run, run.  They find their voices and enjoy using them at the most inopportune times.  They will not be contained. 

By the time your toddler begins to sense impending danger and actually starts to listen a bit, it's time to start preschool.  You go from dealing with one preschooler to twelve. Is your kid going to be the biter or the bitten?  Is your kid going to be the last one potty trained or the one who takes all his clothes off at every opportunity?  Is your kid going to be the one who cries for mama all the time or the one who hits the other kids and makes them cry for their mama?  You have to start dealing with birthday party drama and play date nightmares.  You have to decide what to do when you love another kid's mom, but the kids can't stand each other. 

Do that for a few years, then worry about kindergarten.  Is she ready?  Can he handle the whole day?  Why does my sweet child turn into a beast every afternoon?  What did she just say?  Who taught her that?  Now on top of all the kids you've dealt with for years you get new ones.  Some of which will inevitably have never been in a group setting before.  Who haven't been taught to listen or sit still or not bite.  Thought you crossed that bridge already, huh?  Guess what, parents?  Nope!

By first grade, cliques are formed.  Kids are excluded.  Friendships formed and destroyed on the playground daily.  Not only do you have to still deal with playdate and birthday party drama, but now the kids are fully aware of who got invited and that they didn't.  Some classmates have older siblings, and older siblings teach them about dating and marriage and how to make babies.  There are even a few kids in their class with cell phones.  (I wish I was kidding). 

With every passing year you get new challenges to deal with on top of everything else.  Some stuff gets easier, it's true.  Eventually they do learn to tie their shoes without help.  They do learn to wipe their butts without destroying every pair of underwear they own.  While that happens, other stuff goes wrong.  Their backpacks turn into black holes.  They start to care about what clothes they are wearing.  They want privacy.  They want to call their friends on the phone.  They have friends that you don't know...and you don't know their parents.

The first signs of puberty start to show up.  School performance becomes increasingly important, even if their attention spans don't get any longer. They get bullied, sometimes by kids they used to be friends with.

They kiss someone for the first time.  Now you've got a whole new economy sized can of worms to deal with.

I still have a year before my kids start to hit middle school age.   Then high school.  Driving and dating and what they want to be when they grow up. I have years of new challenges ahead.  I know it's not getting easier any time soon.  I've learned.

Makes you suddenly miss 2am feedings and spit up a little, doesn't it?


  1. Goes along with 1,2,3 today. Funny how the grass is always greener in the past


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