Catching Puke With Your Bare Hands (And 7 Other Things You Never Saw Coming As A Parent)
I don’t care how many books you read before you become a parent, you’re just not going to be ready for everything that comes at you. And even then, you will often find yourself taken by surprise. Consider this list a warning if you’re a new parent or you have your first child on the way. The warning is not necessarily that you will experience any or all of these things. Rather, in four or five years you will probably be able to write your own similar list of things that no one could have possibly warned you that would happen. Stay vigilant. It’s certainly not all pretty. You’ve been warned.
1.)Allow me to reiterate: it ain’t all pretty and you’ve been warned. One day, and you won’t see it coming, you’ll be given a choice that you must make on the spur of the moment. Like when your sick child throws up and you will have to ask: do I get puke on the furniture, or do I get it on myself? It’s a decision John had to make, and as evidenced by the above artwork, he truly loves his kids.
2.) You will constantly be exhausted. Having kids is a little bit like a train that never stops. I know that you already know this, but you just have no idea how tiring it all is until you’ve lived it. Kids are constantly growing, changing and challenging you in new and different ways. Once you get past one phase, like diapers, you enter a new and more complex phase, like preschool and social issues.
3.) You get to become a poop expert. A poopologist, if you will. Sure, everyone knows that kids poop a lot, and all the time. And it’s stinky, and you are in charge of it all. Along the way, you will become acutely aware of the subtle nuanced differences between all the different styles of poop. Texture, smell, wipability, color: mix them together and the combinations are endless.
4.) Nonstop negotiations. Over candy. Kids don’t stop about candy. Ever. If I could go back and do it again, I would shield my kids from the stuff and pretend that it doesn’t exist. Ridiculous fantasies aside, they really never stop. If your kids are within a 50-foot radius from any type of sweet, they will be trying to get it. Since you, the parent, are smart, you easily put it out of their reach. But since a child will simply not accept being outsmarted, he will pull out the one trick he knows best: incessant, whiny begging. As long as there is candy in the universe, this will never end.
5.) Watching kids eat boogers, and other disgusting, questionable things. Maybe I’m onto something here… what do kids eat when they don’t have candy? Nose candy, of course! It doesn’t matter how many tissues you have around the house, or how many times you tell them no. Kids will still defiantly dig in right in front of you, then put it directly in the next nearest hole on their face. Seriously, though, don’t let your guard down on this one. Kids love to put disgusting, and sometimes dangerous, things in their mouths. Constant vigilance… and know how to give the Heimlich maneuver to a child.
6.) Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Kids don’t learn everything right away. As a matter of fact, they don’t really learn anything right away. If you want to teach her to read, for example, you’ll have to read every single day. Then, she’ll invariably pick the exact same books, over, and over and over again. Repetition. Same with tying shoes. Same with potty training. Same with… well, you get the picture. When you see a smart kid who is really good at something, just be assured that they have parents who are either bored a lot, or accustomed to being bored a lot. And repeat.
7.) You will tell lies to your children. Isn’t it wonderful the first time you hold your little brand new bundle of joy in your arms, look into his eyes, and tell him a nice, big fat lie? Of course that doesn’t happen, but it will. Think I’m wrong? Think Santa Clause. The Easter Bunny. Governmental bipartisanship. The list goes on, and on.
8.) You will become a medical expert. You will also be scared to death when you hold your first child. Scared that you will not know what to do in a medical emergency. Be assured, however, that one day, you will. Just remember that you will never regret taking your child straight to the pediatrician or calling 911 when an emergency arises, but you might regret it if you don’t. Eventually, after all the trips to the doctor, you will realize that you have become pretty darned good at diagnosing and treating non-emergency medical issues with your kids.
This is a good time to remind you that, while yes, you will never be able to know everything about raising children from books and the internet, all the resources that you have at your fingertips these days are a decent start. And yes, those are the same fingertips that you may use one day to keep your child’s throw-up from getting on your child.