Hey folks! Hope you had a great Thanksgiving! The leftovers at our house are finally gone, so I can get back to the work of writing. Once again, this is a continuation of my previous posts. For numbers 10-5, click here. I’ll wrap up with #1 later in the week.
Vow #4: I will never let my kids’ schedule restrict my schedule
Everyone knows parents like this:
They used to be fun to go out with. Life-of-the-party kinda’ folks. Paparrazi-worthy. They never missed a happy hour, birthday bash, or Jimmy Buffet concert.
And then they drop off the face of the Earth like Johnny Carson. Why? They have either birthed, adopted, or stolen a child. Their house becomes like Saddam Hussein’s hidden bunker. No one is allowed to enter or exit without express written consent of the baby.
“We will never be like that,” we vowed.
And then we learned what life was like with a child.
The first three months are like one long day lived in three-hour chunks. Feed the baby. Change the baby. Clean someone else’s puke off your neck. You’re so tired you can’t even chew your own food. Ask any parent about this time and they’ll tell you the same thing.
“What did we ever do with our time before we had kids? I just don’t remember!”
We all remember. We used to go shopping, have conversations, and go to movies at a real movie theater. If we got bored, we would make out on the couch just to pass the time. But we’ve blocked all of that out, like a disaster survivor with PTSD.
It’s a coping mechanism. Once you get through this Baby Boot Camp, you achieve a sense of balance. You never want to go back to that out of control time. Any hint at chaos becomes a trigger. At our house, chaos comes in the form of very tired, irritable children. If you have seen the climactic scene from the horror movie, “Carrie,” you have seen what our living room looks like at 5pm on days when we decided to skip nap time.
For this reason, all invitations are weighed against the price we might have to pay for attending. Afternoon sale at Kohl’s? Forget about it. Late lunch with friends? Not a chance. Private audience with the Pope?
We’ll get back to you.
Now that our kids are finally outgrowing nap time, our schedules are opening up a bit. Ever so slightly. So, if we turned you down for an afternoon tea invite a few years ago, don’t take it personally. We fully intend to make it up to you by scheduling some alone time with you, and then boring you with tales of our children’s brilliance in hopes that you will join the club. If you haven’t already.
Vow #3: I will never put my kid on a leash
Result: YOU DECIDE
We’ve all seen them, and some of you may have even used them. These are the harnesses that you strap around your kids that allow you to tether them to your forearm or belt loop.
Anytime I saw a parent using this, I considered calling Child Protective Services. It seemed so barbaric. What kind of parent would treat their kid like a dog? I wondered.
Every parent. That’s who.
If I had a nickel for every time I whistled at my kid to get their attention, bribed them to get them to sit, or commanded that they “heel” next to me while walking through a crowded grocery store, I could buy a Tickle-Me-Elmo factory. Many of the faces I make at my kids to convey my alpha male status are the same ones Cesar Milan, The Dog Whisperer, uses to keep a Doberman from turning your La-Z-Boy into a chew toy.
So, while we have yet to physically lasso our children in order to keep them from running away, we do have a no tolerance policy for walking through a parking lot without holding hands. But we do allow them to lead each other around on leashes. Which is somewhat disturbing and cute all at the same time.
Vow #2: I will never let my kids eat in the car
If you have ever been the back seat passenger in a car normally used for ferrying toddlers around the city, you’ve seen it. The upholstery looks like the floor of a movie theater after a Harry Potter premiere.
Did I just sit on a Fruit Roll-Up covered in nacho cheese? How can that be?
Well, let me tell you.
We never intended for our kids to eat in the car. Sure, there are the horror stories of parents stopping along the highway trying in vain to dislodge a grape from their child’s throat. That’s an obvious motivator. But on top of all that, we just didn’t want our car to smell like a grade school dumpster.
So we made the vow, and quickly broke it.
This one is a matter of convenience and practicality. Sometimes, if Saturn aligns Neptune, you actually get to leave the house to attend an event. Unfortunately, if nap time runs into dinner time and you have to be somewhere, it’s only natural that you have a meal in the car.
And this is a very slippery slope.
Once you’ve allowed food in the car, you can’t get the toothpaste back into the tube, so to speak. You take a long car trip, so to avoid too many stops, you throw some snacks in the back seat. And then comes my son’s persistent questioning. He has a record-breaking qpm (Questions per minute) speed. Audrey is quickly gaining ground. Just the other day, she asked for a cracker no less than 27 times in sixty seconds. All of her attempts were rejected, but she kept asking. She should have a long and lucrative career as a telemarketer. Some days, you just can’t handle the noise coming out of their pie-holes.
So you feed them pie. In the back seat.
There. I said it. I’m not proud, but that’s the way it is.
Stay tuned for #1, and the wrap up!