What I Didn’t Expect

(Sorry for the delay in posts.  Work and preparations for Eitan’s birthday party have kind of dominated the last two weeks.)

 

Parenting is a weird business.

Weird may not be the best word for it; I just chose it because there are so many different ways of looking at being a parent and so many different things to experience that “weird” seems like a catch-all word.  Parenting is the one job[1] I can think of that can make a person laugh, cry and want to punch a hole in the wall all in the span of five minutes.  It’s exhilarating and heart-wrenching, amazing and overwhelming, all at once.  The biggest thing about being a parent, though, is this:

You have no idea what you’re getting yourself into.

There’s no way to prepare for being a parent.  You can read every single book, every article, listen to every podcast.  You can baby-proof every single inch of your home, from the electrical outlet covers to the toilet lid locks to the rubber pieces on the stove that keep kids from turning it on by mistake.  You can do all the research about which toys stimulate kids’ intelligence, which car seats have the highest safety ratings and which strollers are the sturdiest.[2]  But even with all of that, parenting is going to throw you curveballs every single day.

For instance, last night, I came home from work, said hi to Trudy and Eitan, and went to vacuum our apartment.  I brought the vacuum into the living room, plugged it in and turned it on.  (It should be noted, by the way, that Eitan loves the vacuum.  Loves it.  Some kids get freaked out by loud noises; Eitan is drawn to them.  The vacuum, Trudy’s hair dryer, the dishwasher, he loves all of them.[3])  For whatever reason, neither Trudy nor I had put Eitan in a place where he wouldn’t be able to get in the way of the vacuum, so he was still playing on the floor with his toys.  He hadn’t seen me take out the vacuum, but the second I turned it on, he turned around, crawled right over and put his hands on the machine.  He then proceeded to use the vacuum cleaner to stand himself up and, while I was holding it, pushed the vacuum across the carpet like he’d been doing this his entire life.  When we got to the end, he cruised his way to the front, got on the floor and pushed the vacuum back towards our starting point.  This went on for a good ten minutes or so.

That’s what I mean.  Parenting is one of those things that will give you a moment every couple of days (if not more often) that will make you stop in your tracks and ask yourself, “Is this really happening?”[4]

With last night’s fun in mind, I thought I’d come up with a list of a few other things that have happened over the past year that caught me by surprise:

–The feeling you get when your child smiles at you when you walk into the room.

–The searing pain when your child sinks their teeth into your toe (or shoulder, finger, arm, nipple…)[5]

–The sheer volume and variety of types of baby foods.

–The distance that poop can travel up a baby’s back when the diaper just isn’t doing the job.

–The amount of laundry that ends up getting done within the first few weeks after a baby is born. [6]

–The terrible terrible consequences of messing with a baby’s nap and feeding schedule.

–Sports themed baby products.[7]

–The similarities in levels of security between car seats and Las Vegas casino vaults.

–A child’s ability to find every last place you missed when baby proofing your home.

–The speed with which a baby can disappear from a room, even before they can walk.

I think that’s a pretty good list for now.  Feel free to leave comments about things that you hadn’t expected in your parenting experiences.


[1] You don’t get paid to be a parent, but make no mistake: it’s a job.  And I’m not even home most of the time.

[2] Here’s a quick note about strollers: it’s probably less overwhelming to just buy a new car.

[3] Except the really loud hand dryers in public bathrooms.  Doesn’t like those.

[4] Hello!  My son is one year old and he’s vacuuming!  What is going on???

[5] That was for Trudy, as Eitan has reportedly started biting occasionally when nursing. Eitan has never bitten my nipple.  He has, however, yanked out clumps of my chest hair, which I imagine is somewhat similar.

[6] “It’s a baby! They wear onesies and don’t do anything but eat and sleep! How often am I really going to have to wash things?” Oh, you poor, unsuspecting man…

[7] I don’t just mean clothes. A friend of ours got Eitan a pair of Chicago Bears pacifiers. He never used them but it was still one of my favorite gifts that Eitan received.

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2 responses to “What I Didn’t Expect

  1. Pingback: It Takes A Village | Sleeping on the Edge

  2. Pingback: It Takes A Village - Dads Round Table

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