One of the joys of parenthood is getting to liberally dispense cockamamie advice and half-baked bits of wisdom to anyone who has yet to birth a child. See my post https://averyandlily.com/2013/04/29/986-rules-for-life/ There are lots of great things about being a parent, but getting to spout off like I’m an expert all the time is definitely one of my favorites. The fact that I have twins just adds to my street cred. I even enjoy doling out advice to people who already have kids, maybe even older kids than mine. Why not? I’m a generous person. Why should my wisdom be reserved for the childless? Here are some more nuggets of insight for you to add to your treasure trove of knowledge. You can thank me later.
You’re going to touch poop with your bare hand.
It’s going to happen. Hopefully not often and probably not on purpose, but at some point your bare hand will come in contact with your baby’s poop. Just accept that it’s going to happen to you and has happened to millions of others. One of the unexpected facts of parenthood is that you become quite the scatologist. You learn all kinds of things about your baby by his poop. You’re changing the diaper and are like, “Oh, looks like Junior needs to drink more fluids.” It’s almost like your life becomes all about poop. Has the baby pooped yet today? I hope the baby doesn’t poop while we’re in the car. The baby pooped but is asleep, so do I chance waking him or let him sleep in poop? See, this is why “old” people talk about poop all the time. On a daily basis, for years on end, they had to encounter another human’s excrement. It really affects a person.
You’re going to miss the mark.
You may have some set of standards or ideals to which you aspire. That’s a good thing, but you’re not going to get there every day. Some days you might. Most days you’ll get close. Some days you’ll go up for that slam dunk and not only miss the basket but land face first on the gym floor. It’s okay. You probably didn’t totally ruin your child in one day. With twin 20 month olds, I’ve set my goals in the attainable range. For example, I try to provide at least 2 food groups at each meal. I feel like that is a reasonable target for a toddler’s diet. However, there are some days that I just up-end the cereal box over their high chair trays. I tell myself that at least it’s Kashi and not Cocoa Pebbles. A.B. and Duey, that’s what they call themselves, think it’s a great treat and shovel it down as fast as I can dump it out. If you collapse into bed every night, replaying your blooper reel in your mind, beating yourself up over your dozens of perceived failures, you’re a good parent.
You’re going to get embarrassed.
Eventually your little angel is going to publicly embarrass you. Someday you’ll have a teenager, and it’s your turn to be embarrassing. A.B. jabbers nonstop. She talks all day long. Only about 20% is actual words though. Yet, occasionally she hits the verbal jackpot and constructs a four letter word, always in front of other people. She’s really into wearing socks, but at first she couldn’t say the words correctly, and it would come out like a word that begins with sh. I got many a shocked look. Both of the girls had really bad acid reflux as infants. With A.B, it just went away when she was around 6 months old. Duey projectile-vomited a dozen times a day until she was a year old. Now she does this almost-vomit thing where she looks like she’s gagging but then swallows back down the contents of her stomach. It’s rather horrendous, and she does it a few times a day. People who are seeing it for the first time are terrified. Then I’m like, “Yeah, my kid swallows her vomit. No big deal.”
You’re going to suck it up.
You love that little toot so much you’d take a bullet for her. Hopefully nothing that dramatic will be required, but my situation is pretty darn close. I hate bananas. HATE them. I know that the entire rest of the world thinks they’re the bee’s knees, but I do not. If I were trapped on a deserted island with nothing to eat but bananas, I would get very close to death before I took a bite. Seriously, I would be the worst person to be trapped with on a deserted island. I have told Noel multiple times that if some sort of apocalyptic event occurs, it will be best for everyone if I just die right off the bat. He, A.B., and Duey can go join the Resistance and fight for liberty and justice; however, I just need to get disintegrated in the nuclear blast or whatever. I was stranded on the side of the road in Mexico one time, and within thirty minutes I had eaten all of my granola bars and drank all of my water. I’m just saying. Anyway, our girls love bananas, so I suck it up and serve them bananas several times a week. I cut them up with a fork and knife, so I don’t have to touch them.
You’re going to become someone you previously hated.
Remember when you were a cool single person, dining at a hip restaurant with your cool single friends, and you saw the people with kids at another table, eating as fast as they can while their kids scream and create a lake of food around their high chairs? Yeah, you’re going to become that person, temporarily. Sometimes, your kids will behave perfectly, but more often they’ll step out the door of your house and transform into newly-freed convicts who are making the most of their time on the outside. You’ll apologetically look at total strangers, shrug your shoulders, and say, “They’re usually not like this.” My favorite line is, “They’re just tired.” When a hair-pulling brawl breaks out between my kids, I separate them, and say to any other adults present, “They’re just tired.” Once in a blue moon when Noel and I load up the crew and go to a restaurant, we bring our arsenal of baby gear and hope to entertain A.B. and Duey long enough to cram a one course meal in. That’s when my whole, two food groups at every meal thing goes flying out the window. I let them eat anything that keeps them quiet. Want to eat chili con queso with your bare hands? Go for it. Want to eat nothing but french fries? Enjoy! You’re only 20 months old once! I draw the line at chicken nuggets. I just will not allow my kids to eat that mystery meat conglomeration.
So I truly hope these gems of wisdom guide you on your path of parenthood.