I had fantasies about what parenthood would be like before I became a mom. My mind streamed a sunny montage of my baby and me snuggling, going for walks in the park and giggling with my husband as our child took his first steps. These sweet, wholesome daydreams all eventually materialized. But I never could’ve imagined all the crazy moments that would be straddled between the sweet ones.
I knew there’d be a lot of poop. But I never could’ve imagined the nuances—pooances—of it all. Not once did I daydream about scrubbing poop off of my baby’s scrotum/labia majora. And nobody filled me in on the animalistic experience of having a child make intense eye contact with me while straining to poop. I didn’t know about the icy panic that takes over the first time one of my children ejected diarrhea during a bath. There is just so much poop.
The moment I answer a phone call and try to talk to someone, she gloms onto me as if she’s trying to reenter the womb
I knew that sleep deprivation would be a part of early parenthood. But I had no idea how much of my life I’d spend trying to force my children into sleep, or how many nights I’d ponder the ethics of using Benadryl to help them on their journey to sleepytown. Never did my daydreams include my kid hollering to me for an eighth sip of post-bedtime water, sparking a boiling rage in me. Nor would I have guessed all the hours I’d spend driving my kids around waiting for the telltale slump that meant they’d finally succumbed to sweet slumber.
Here are things I’ve said to my children in the last week: "You need to finish your pizza before you have any more fruit." "You have ranch dressing in your hair." "Please take your hands out of your underwear while you’re eating meatballs." “Eat your dinner, eat your dinner, eat your dinner!” “No, you can’t have a snack—remember that time when I said eat your dinner? You should have listened!” Food is a central part of parenting, and it brings so much crazy.
3. Not being able to talk to anyone else—ever
Small children can smell intimacy and will attack accordingly. Anytime my husband and I try to have a conversation, it lasts approximately 7.2 seconds before one of the kids interrupts us. The same goes for any attempts to talk on the telephone. My daughter could be peacefully playing with her pastel-hued ponies in another room, but the moment I answer a phone call and try to talk to someone, she gloms onto me as if she’s trying to reenter the womb. This does come in handy when a telemarketer calls, as you can truthfully say, “This isn’t a good time. My daughter is trying to crawl up my vagina.”
4. I don't know jack
Being a parent has humbled me immensely. I regularly field questions like, “What does a bald eagle’s poophole look like?” and “Who’s that?”—asked while pointing at random stranger in grocery store. “I don’t know,” I reply. Before having children, I thought one of the fun parts of parenting would be shining our own knowledge onto our children, but mostly, I’ve just realized how little I actually know.
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Over time, I’ve learned that all these wacky moments are actually parenting. One moment I’ll be blissed out on the transcendent love, and the next I’ll be shaking my head and Googling 7-year-old obsessed with eagle butts. And I wouldn't have it any other way.