Oh boy, the stories you hear from parents before you’re a parent seem so out there you always believe that they must be exaggerating. Let me tell you, a lot of these stories, they’re probably downplaying because they don’t want to scare you. So, today, I’ve decided to share some of the weird things I’ve encountered and I’m sure a lot of you can relate. To anyone who doesn’t have kids yet, see this as your warning.
-Okay so this first one is easy, when you become a parent, I think the first weird parent thing you start doing is smelling everything. You smell diaper butts, and wet spots on clothes, and your armpits because you can’t remember the last time you showered for a little while. It’s crazy, I think it becomes your primary sense for a while.
-You’re going to become obsessed with poop. It’s weird, no one likes it, not even you, but it happens. What color is the baby’s poop? Why isn’t it the same consistency as yesterday? Are they pooping too much, or not enough? These are just a few of the things that I have late night googled because I’m up at 3 AM worried about someone else’s bowel movements. And don’t even get me started about potty training, that’s a whole other can of worms.
-You find out baby wipes are the best all-purpose cleaner for everything. Need to wipe a butt? Baby wipes. Need to clean up some spit up? Baby wipes. Need to wash your face? Baby wipes. Stain on your jeans? Baby wipes. Sitting in line at school pick-up? Use a baby wipe to clean the dash of the car! Seriously, if you become a parent and you don’t continue to buy baby wipes for everything you need to tell me what that’s like, because I will never go back.
-Your standards for clean go way down. I’m not saying you don’t appreciate a perfectly clean house, and to the parents with super clean houses, what’s that like? Let me give you an example, a couple of days ago Caleb came home from work and was walking through the living room when he calls to me “Is this poop or chocolate on the floor?” I thought for a second and remembered Atticus had a fudge pop earlier, so I just said back “Probably chocolate.” And then we both went about our day. Seriously, I didn’t think about it again until yesterday when I was walking past it with baby wipes in my hand and scrubbed the chocolate stain off the floor. My mind is a little blown on this one too, it’s more extreme then usual, but not super uncommon.
-You have unworldly knowledge of every public bathroom and whether it has a changing table, and how dirty the floors are, because it is common knowledge that if you have a child they will sit down on the bathroom floor and look down at all the other people’s feet and you have to tell them to get off the floor because it’s dirty and they take that as lay down and pretend to make snow angels because you’re taking too long to pee. Is that just my kids? It can’t be right? To add on to the last one you also know way too much about which non-edible things in your house are non-toxic. I am lucky to not have any crayon, chalk, or glue eaters in my house, but they have still eaten their fair share of really gross things. Atticus’ favorite seems to be things he’s dropped on the floor. And my favorite gross story for Alice is the time she came up to me with blood streaming from her thumb to her elbow, she had a wort on her thumb knuckle that had a band-aid covering it. I assumed (hoped) she took it off and the wort was ripped off with it somehow. When I asked her, what happened to her wort she looked at me with completely no emotion on her face and just said “I ate it.” You can pause here to gag. It’s okay. She’ll be haunted by this story forever. By me, who will continue to retell it forever. Especially to boys she brings home when she starts dating.
-You can’t sympathize with childless people who complain about being tired anymore. Listen, I’ve tried. I’ve had friends come up to me exhausted, talking about how they only had twenty minutes of sleep last night because they were working on a deadline or school work or just playing videogames, and then they had to go to work the next day and it was the worst. And I’m like, “Yeah, I would be tired if I did that too” but guess what these guys get to do when they go home from work to their childless, quiet, clean homes? They get to go to sleep. Anywhere they want, for as long as they have to. Want to take a nap on the couch? Done. Want to sleep on the kitchen floor? It’s probably not covered in whatever is sticky right now on my floor, so go right ahead! Want to crash for the night in your big comfy bed? Do it! And that’s awesome for you and I’m so excited that you get to sleep and no one will wake you up asking for a snack or slapping you in the face asking you why people aren’t dogs, or just sitting next to you telling you a story about a banana and an eyeball. I am jealous of you sleeping habits, so go ahead and complain to me and I will listen, but don’t expect any condolences.
-You become a ninja at snack eating. My go to is to wait until they’re busy playing together in one of their rooms or say we’re going to play hide and seek and I’ll count. Then, I grab the candy I wanted and sneak into my room to eat it before they find me.
-No matter what other books you read or how much Lizzo you listen to, you will always have at least one children’s book completely memorized, and a couple of kid songs will always get stuck in your head while you’re alone in your car. This is why it has probably been about four years since Alice has asked me to read a Sandra Boyton book but every time, she starts complaining about getting ready for bed I start reciting Pajama Time! To her because “The moon is up gets getting late, let’s get ready to celebrate! It’s Pajama Time!” Also, when I’m out by myself running errands instead of singing in my car to something cool immediately first I have to belt out the theme song to PBS kids, Molly of Denali before I realize there are no kids with me and shamefully throw on some Truth Hurts to remind myself that I am an adult and I like adult things.
So, my childless friends, the next time you come over to my house and you see strange stains on my couch, and hot wheels every where while I sit there looking like I haven’t slept in three days handing out snacks to my kids while repeating Kids Bop jams to you instead of actual conversation, just go ahead and leave if you are not brave enough. But, do know, that even with all these weird hobbies I have now, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.