Friday, February 8, 2013

7 Unexpected Things I Learned From Parenthood

Parenthood has got to be the craziest adventure that anyone embarks upon in their lives.  I feel like I've done some slightly adventurous things in my life--I've gone white-water rafting on one of the most dangerous rafting rivers in the US, I've gone zip-lining over one of the most gorgeous parts of our state, I've traveled to Japan for three weeks in a group of teachers where I didn't know a single soul (okay, so it was really a pretty cush trip and I made plenty of friends, but still...I didn't know anyone going into it--and Japan is far away, right?)--none of this really compares to being a parent.  It's kind of funny...when I first found out I was pregnant, I thought, "Hey, I've been a babysitter for a very long time. Surely I know pretty much all I need to know to take care of some kids." How painfully naive that is.  To get prepared for being a parent, the most important thing you can do is acknowledge that there's no real way TO truly prepare.  This means that the parenting experience is an educational learn something new almost every day.  Marty and I were recently talking about some of the disgusting joyous things we've learned, and I thought that it would make a good blog post--and my hope is that if you're a parent, too, you'll comment and share what YOU'VE learned.

Without further ado, 7 Unexpected Things I Learned From Parenthood:

7)  Even when you THINK your carpet/floor is clean, it's filthy. Infants and young toddlers who are starting to scoot and move WILL find unexplainable, unidentified objects on your floor. I don't care if you just vacuumed, swept, mopped, scrubbed, Roomba'ed 3 minutes before, they will find something funky, and it will head toward their mouth, lest you intercept it.

6)  Pre-Child, you have a hell of a lot more time and money than you realize.  I wish I knew where all of our money that we made pre-kids went, because it sure isn't in my bank account! However, it must have existed, because now we somehow manage to eat and clothe ourselves, and yet pay for a monthly childcare/preschool payment that is twice our mortgage.  The same goes for time...and seriously, if you're considering becoming a parent, please relish your time right now because from that first sleepless night until probably the day the kid moves out, it is no longer YOUR time.  Now, I'm not saying that I don't love my time with my kids, because they're amazing and funny and pretty darn enjoyable, but sometimes I definitely wish I had just a few real minutes to myself every day.  Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't.

5) If you think you're an anxious person, you don't know anything yet!  My kids have evoked an anxiety within me that I never knew existed (Marty is laughing as he reads that, thinking about what an understatement that is...). Wait a second, though, before you take that as a bad thing.  The anxiety comes from that deep, unequivocal love for my kids. I'm anxious thinking about them getting sick. I'm anxious about whether or not they know just how much I love them, how they seriously completed me when they were born. I'm anxious about whether they will learn what they need to learn to lead a productive life. I'm anxious about whether they'll find love, and deep friendship, and all of the other things that make life beautiful and worthwhile. I'm anxious thinking about that inevitable day when someone hurts their feelings, makes them hurt.  I carry that around with me, deep in my subconscious, mind you (I don't stress about all of those things every day or anything!), and it's hard. It's also totally worth it.

4)  The speed at which a child can expel bodily fluid has GOT to be faster than the speed of light.  When Amelia and Anderson were in the NICU, they could, ahem...'dirty' an incubator within 1.2 seconds.  I saw poo shoot with such force that I swear, had anyone been in the line of fire, there would've been an injury. Think salt rifle or something. :-)  Unfortunately, lately, I've seen some sneezes that make Flubber look like a little silly putty. Pre-kids, had I seen a sneeze like that, I'm certain I would've physically gagged, but now I just kind of chuckle, grab a Kleenex, and wipe all while still holding my cup of coffee.

3)  There is nothing so glorious as nap time.  I'm not talking about nap time for me--I'm talking about nap time for the kids.  There have been days so hectic around here that I pretty much get a tear of joy in my eye when I see the clock nearing noon.  That 1-3 hour time period mid-day when you can either actually get something accomplished or not be forced to repeat random phrases about elevators is truly blessed.  Sadly I think mine are getting closer to giving up naps altogether, which breaks my heart.  I'm hoping to at least institute a mandatory 'quiet time' in their rooms when this happens...

2)  Poo in a training potty is WAAAY grosser than poo in a diaper.  I know "grosser" isn't a word, but prim-and-proper "more gross" doesn't do this justice. This is a recent item on my list, and one that surprised me!  We were late in the potty-training game and I was so excited for them to use the real toilet! Unfortunately, Amelia's tiny hiney doesn't fit on a regular toilet seat. In fact, it doesn't even really fit on the little seat you put ON the regular toilet seat--she's too small and her butt slips through and startles her, which she doesn't like (and rightfully so). So, she uses a little training potty that's nice and low to the ground.  I couldn't WAIT for her to finally get the concept of pooping on the potty...and then it happened. I don't know if it's the fact that, when it's in a diaper, it's...smooshy and patty-like (I KNOW! SO GROSS!) and less like actual real, adult poop, but when I have to dump out that little tray that has poop in it, and some kind of sticks to the sides, I gag.  How in the heck can I have wiped butts, changed an unbelievable amount of diapers, and gag over that? I mentioned it to Marty, and he agrees that it definitely takes disgusting to a whole new level. Glad it isn't just me.


1) You have no control over your heart when you have kids. I've heard the cliche that "having kids is like having your heart walking around outside your body". I'm not an overly sappy type and probably rolled my eyes at that more than once, but wow is it the truth. Despite the insanity that is my house probably 75% of the time, I love those kids more than I ever imagined I could love anything. Kids make you feel powerful and exhilarated, and yet exposed and vulnerable all at once. It's the most disconcerting, awe-inducing feeling ever. I recommend it. :-)

So the kids' 4th birthday is Sunday! I cannot believe that they will be four. This time four years ago, I was in a hospital bed for the 30th consecutive day, dealing with pre-eclampsia and wondering when we'd have to deliver. Little did I know that the next day, they'd tell me it was time, and the day after that, my two miracles would enter the world. We are keeping it low-key this weekend, celebrating with just us, and then getting together with family for a real party in April. Right now we are all still recovering from sickness, as is a lot of our family, so we just decided to wait until we are all healthy and able to enjoy.  They were actually due in April, so it's like a party around their full-term due date. :-)

So share with me...what is something that YOU have learned from parenthood??


  1. I am so not looking forward to poop in the potty. sooooo not looking forward to it. I have learned that the language of cavemen is alive and well, AND I am fluent in said language.

  2. You are right on with all 7!! And it's worth repeating...where did I spend my time and money before Emerson?!?! I too, try and caution those non-parent adults to live it up while they can! You can never prepare for the amazing ride of parenthood!