The years leading up to my son's birth it seemed like I lived a carefree life, even though it was anything but. I've always said that parenting is something of a learning process, one that we go through each and every day we get out of bed, even after our children are all grown up and have left the nest. We will always and forever, up until the day that we pass, be learning about our children. While they may look like little carbon copies of mom or dad, they have personalities that are entirely different from ours. I'm getting a little off track here, though. Once I became a mother, a few things happened. The first was the immense and incredible love that I had for this child of mine, and the love that he has for me. Nothing is better than when he crawls into bed with me in the morning, brushes my hair on my forehead aside and gently kisses it and says, "It's time to wake up, mommy." Moments like that are ones that I will truly treasure forever.
But there are those other moments, those other things that I truly never thought that I would care about, that we suddenly concern ourselves with when we have children. There are times when I find myself giggling, sometimes even in the midst of tears, that these seemingly small things are so huge when it concerns your child. The things that we do for our children, it's amazing. Prior to our children, we would have likely never imagined doing or thinking about the things that we do. These are the top five things that I never thought I would care about before having children.
1. Vegetable-To-Floor Ratio
For all intents and purposes, this shall be known as the VTF ratio. Until your child came along you never realized quite exactly how many different vegetable stains that your carpet could possess. That? Oh, that's when the little one thought it was funny to throw his peas on the floor and then grind them into the carpet with his tiny little foot. That stain in the far-left corner was from the night that our sweet son decided that he hated the color purple and thus he threw his pickled beets across the room.
Who knew that vegetables were such a lucrative topic for toddlers? If they aren't being strewn across the carpet, than they are being argued about. They try to negotiate their way out of eating all of those carrots on his or her plate. The dream is for mom and dad to hold steadfast in their decisions to get their kids to eat all of the vegetables on their plate. But the truth is, children are persuasive, very very persuasive. Who knew that a child's vocal range could reach a pitch that high? No, really, if you throw your spinach at the wall again, you're going to bed right now. Knock it off.
Since becoming a mom, nothing is off limits anymore, and I am totally honest when it comes to talking about my child. Honest and open, it's always the best way to go. If you haven't figured it out already, G.U.F. stands for gas, urine and feces. I could say shit, piss and farts, but I'm trying to have a little class here. Oh, who am I kidding?
Legitimately, I never thought that I would care so very much about the state of someone's bowels. In the same respect, I never believed that I would be so incredibly excited over the fact that another person performed a basic bodily function. As a mom, I have often found myself wondering about things like:
- When's the last time he pooped?
- Is his pee supposed to be that color?
- I don't think his poop is supposed to have glitter in it.
- He's particularly gassy tonight, I guess that's why he's so fussy.
- Seriously, why isn't he pooping?!
I actually found myself bawling my eyes out the other night because my son was so horribly constipated that he was in tears. But, because he was hurting, I was hurting. It broke my heart to see my little man hurt so badly. We ended up taking him to the hospital where they did a second enema (we had done one at home) and he eventually went a little bit. But my point is that I never would have imagined myself being so concerned with another person's bodily habits. Just another one of those things you learn along the way as a parent.
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I would have to bribe someone to do something. I've never had any sort of stellar bribing skills beforehand, and now I have to become some sort of master manipulator in order to get my child to eat his vegetables, take a nap, use the potty, or even to go to bed at night. More often than not, I find myself saying things like, "If you don't eat all of your broccoli, than your television privileges are revoked," or some similar sentiment. On the bright side, though, I am certainly gaining valuable life skills by raising a child. So, that's definitely something.
Boy, if we could only go back in time and catch up on all that sleep that we missed, especially when we were teenagers. Pre-children, we were able to stay up as late as we wanted, do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. Good times, good times. If we were hungry in the wee hours of the morning, we could get up and go to our favorite local late-night eatery. Now we've been relegated to standing in front of the fridge in our bathrobe, hoping that there is something scrumptious in there that awaits us. Nowadays, if we are so lucky to get the little one's to take a nap, we are typically right alongside them sneaking in some precious sleep where we can get it.
Oh, our sweet, sweet sleep. How we miss you so.
5. Phone Conversations
Boy, if we only knew what we faced once we had children. We would have savored and enjoyed our phone conversations that much more.
"If you could just sit and play quietly for a few more minutes, I will give you a gummy bear. Mommy is on the phone. No, you can't talk to the bill collector, sweetie. I can assure you that they don't want to hear about how you taught Mr. Bearington how to go poop in the potty."