As I desperately cling to the last months of my 29th year like the hair of my two dogs clings to every piece of clothing I own, I realize that the number 29 is significant to me in several ways. My daughter was born on the 29th of April, 2009 and I’ve just begun the 29th month of being a parent. Does this mean I need to buy a lottery ticket with the numbers 2 and 9 in it? Nah, I don’t believe in that kind of stuff. Now if you’ll excuse me, radio station 99.2 is looking for the 29th caller by 2:29pm. Wait a minute…
Weird number coincidences aside, I thought this would be a good time for a re-post of sorts. You see, awhile back I wrote a piece that was published on another site about the not-so-often-communicated things that soon-to-be parents should know about life with little ones. I was super excited, as it was the first time I had written anything that might be seen by more than the 6 people who read this blog. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out as I thought they would on that other site and so this piece was the only one that ever made it there. (And to be quite honest, I’m not sure I got more than 6 views on it anyway)
So while this is not a true “re-post” because it has never appeared on this blog before, it’s still a bit of a cop-out since I’m not writing anything new. I’ll have some new original content coming soon, I promise. For now, all you parents and soon-to-be parents out there, enjoy this piece.
Welcome to the world of Mickey Mouse and memory loss, underpants and unconditional love, toys and terror. That’s right, it’s the land of parenthood and the crazy train is leaving the station so you better hop on board. While I may not have the longevity of other parents; I believe my experiences with two children less than 15 months apart, both under the age of two, qualifies me to give the following statement: parenting is hard.
Now that last statement is likely no great revelation. Anyone with kids, or for that matter a dog, a cat or a pet cockatoo, can tell you that being responsible for another life is not always a walk in the park. It requires hard work, patience, caring and the ability to forgive when your favorite shirt is ruined by a misplaced bowel movement (this goes for the dogs, cats and cockatoos as well by the way). As I prepare for the 2nd birthday of my little girl, I found myself thinking about what I’ve learned over the past 24 months of fatherhood. This is what I came up with.
- A baby cries for 3 reasons; they’re hungry, tired, or they just left a surprise in their diaper. This is much easier to decipher than when my wife cries; which could be for any one, or a combination, of 26 different reasons (most of which are my fault in one way or another).
- As parents, we still have the ability to get a good night’s sleep. We just need to accept that the phrase “a good night’s sleep” is relevant. At 17, a good night’s sleep meant 13 hours of uninterrupted slumber. As the parent of a newborn, it means 97 minute intervals of one eye open, one hand cradle-rocking, narcoleptic exhaustion.
- When attempting to “baby proof” the house, it does not help to crawl on the floor in an effort to “think like a baby”. That only leads to lower back pain, and having to use your crawling baby as a “little boost” to get you back upright again.
- Do not use your crawling baby as a “little boost” for any purpose. As it turns out society frowns upon that.
- DVR actually stands for Disney Video Recorder. I believe this machine was handed down to parents from the Gods so that we could record episodes of Disney Channel programming which, as I have learned, is like digital candy. This allows parents to cook, clean, do laundry, or just veg out in 24 minute increments.
- Your second child will not be the same as your first. It just won’t. If your first was an angel, good luck with number 2. If your first was Junior from the movie Problem Child; well, you probably stopped at one. Sorry.
- When your child approaches that exciting First Birthday, it’s time to start paying attention to what you say, watch and listen to when they are around. You don’t want their first words to be a line from your favorite rap song.
- Pick your battles. When your toddler reaches the “No” stage, don’t waste a time-out on an argument over which color shoes you want her to wear. Time-outs are your ace in the hole. Use them for important matters like, you know, teaching her it’s wrong to smack her little brother in the head with a bucket.