A good friend of mine has a blog that records the life of she and her husband and their three beautiful little girls. At the end of one post she wrote that they are tired and overwhelmed at times, but thankful and blessed too. This seems like a perfect way to describe parenthood and if I were to give anyone advice on what to expect when one is expecting a child it would be to tell them: You will be overwhelmed and you will be blessed. These things happen at the exact same time, usually at 3am.
Here’s some more advice I’d give since we’re on the subject:
All kids want a pet. Being afraid of all animals and having no interest in them whatsoever is apparently not hereditary. If this happens in your house, buy your kids some prehistoric eggs. That will, for awhile anyway, keep them distracted from asking for a dog, cat, gerbil, turtle, iguana, or lion.
But be warned: sometimes, in the middle of the night your kid might walk into your bedroom and wake you up from a deep sleep to say: “Mama! Mama! Wake up! WAKE UP!!!!”
And you will say, “What is it? What is wrong?”
And your kid will say, “I CAN HEAR THE TRIOPS HATCHING!!!”
When your kid starts to talk, she will ask a lot of tough questions. However, if you’re lucky, she will ask them in rapid succession so that by the time you have taken a breath to begin answering the first question, she will be done and on to something else. If you’re double lucky, you will be driving her to school so there is little time for contemplation. This technique is called “Stall and Distract,” and you can read up on it in Parenting Magazine. It’s what all the good parents are doing.
Or if you don’t feel like reading Parenting Magazine, just read how a master handles the situation:
“Mama? How old do you have to be to have a baby?”
“Ummm, how old?”
“Yeah, and what is a flu shot again?”
“A flu shot?”
“Also, I have to tell you something really scary. Are you ready?”
“Gina* only has four fingers.”
“Yes. I know because I counted them. Where is her other finger?”
“Her other finger?”
“Yes. Where did it go? How come she only has four fingers?”
“I’m not sure, Hadley, but look! We’re here at school! Have a grrrrreat day, sweetie!”
Since I’m on a roll, let me just go ahead and tell you that sarcasm doesn’t work effectively with young children. This is a lesson I am still learning. Kids live in a very literal world. Here’s an example: Hadley and Harper wanted to watch “Busy Town” (it’s the place to be) one afternoon so I turned on our Netflix and accidentally brought “Word Girl” up instead.
“OH NO!!! WHAT ARE WE GONNA DO? THIS IS NOT THE SHOW WE WANT TO WATCH!!!!!”
I write in all caps and explanation points to try and illustrate the severity of my mistake.
“Calm down, girls. I’m pretty sure this is not the end of the world.”
To which Hadley says, “Right. Because the sun has not bursted yet.”
I think my head “bursted” a little after that conversation.
I’d like to make all your lives easier when it comes to siblings fighting. Folks, it’s impossible – I repeat IMPOSSIBLE to mediate a fight. If your kids are like mine (and they are, aren’t they?) what they are fighting about makes no sense in any world or any language. Just today Hadley and Harper were fighting over who got to play with a Polly Pocket and against my better judgement I asked, OK, screamed, “Who had it first?”
“ME!” they both tell me. Turns out, Harper had Polly Pocket’s body and Hadley had her head.
Ol’ Solomon thought he had it rough.
Finally, I’d like to end this post with a few notes Hadley has slipped under the door after she’s gone to bed but she still has things she needs to say (Hadley always had things she needs to say).
This note has something to do with the fact that Hadley cannot sleep anymore.
This one she wrote when I was writing and was not able to say goodnight when she went to bed. Sigh.
And then there’s this one:
Yes, parenthood is an overwhelming blessing.
*Her name is not really Gina.