No one really talks about what happens after you have children.
I mean, what really happens.
Sure, the What to Expect books talk about some of it, like:
- Your child will walk at some point.
- Your child will sleep at one point.
- Your child will pick up a Cheerio at some point.
- Your child could put a Cheerio in their ear at some point.
They don’t mention:
- Your child will throw the Cheerio at some point.
- You will step on the Cheerio at many points grinding it back into molecular form.
- You will wear a Cheerio on your person at some point.
- Your pet will wear a Cheerio on their fur at some point.
No one talks about the important stuff, like how you have to make dinner every night until you die. Or, how the grocery store is basically your second home that you’re not allowed to sleep in. When they rearrange the aisles there, it’s as equally frustrating as when your kids casually toss their socks around the house like a fairy tosses glitter dust. If allowed, your child would toss their socks casually around the grocery store as well. Glitter too.
Other things they don’t tell you about?
When your child sleepwalks. This is unsettling. Not just because it’s weird having someone in your house aimlessly wander around at night saying incoherent things, but because when you try to put them back to bed they won’t stay down and often point to things that aren’t there and act scared. Or, maybe that’s just my sleepwalkers.
When you finish a glass of water you tried to start eight hours earlier. Home economics did not prepare me for the fact that one day, drinking water would require its own scheduled appointment.
You don’t drink much hot coffee. If you’re lucky to find your coffee mug, you’ll likely be able to count how old it is by the number of rings inside it.
When you step on your child. If this never happens to you, praise God in His infinite goodness. I once didn’t see one of my kids sleeping under a set of blankets on my bedroom floor. I rounded my bed while simultaneously negotiating iPad time with her five-year-old brother and why we aren’t having cake for breakfast with her sister. When I stepped on something squishy, she literally sat up like a vampire from its coffin. If she had a squeaker inside of her, it might have been funny. Instead, I was horrified and so was she. I watched her like a hawk for weeks and consulted her pediatrician many times until she realized my guilt was the most troubling part of the entire situation. Then, calmly explained to me how it wasn’t possible to damage her. My daughter still talks about how I stepped on her and I still remind her of how she has her own bed.
When your child sucks on an AirWick Air freshener. Your call could go like this: “So, hypthetically speaking, if my toddler sucked on an AirWick Air freshner what would I do?” The good news is Poison Control does not keep your family on file for the number of times you call (I asked once). The good news is, we just needed to monitor this child for 24 hours and give her milk. The bad news is, your child sucked on an AIrWick Air Freshener.
When your child has night terrors. This is worse than sleepwalking because they scream if you try to wake them up. They look through you like you don’t exist, stare around the room like they’ve never seen one, and sit with wide, empty eyes.
Zero stars. Would not recommend.
When your child learns the word “no.” It’s not really when they say no and don’t know what it means. It’s when they finally connect the word “no” with actual meaning and then understand they can also use “no” with hands and feet to enforce it. This is excellent for things that are a danger. This is not excellent for when you’re trying to put them in their car seat.
In defense of the What to Expect books, they’re fantastic for learning things like milestones and how to set routines. They tell you when to call your doctor or reassure you that you’re doing just fine. Still, nothing will ever adequately prepare you for being a parent until you become one. Even then, it doesn’t matter. Maybe now you know how to burp and feed your baby and bathe them, but that’s for that particular baby.
Subsequent children change the rules.
- The first child ditched the bottle for a Sippy cup right at the one-year mark.
- The second child was fine with whatever drinkware but refused cow’s milk.
- The third baby refused to let the bottle go until three, and went as far as throwing the Sippy across the room to make sure you got the message.
- The fourth baby decided to skip the Sippy altogether and went right for the cup.
So, don’t fret too much over what’s going on with your kids, because no one knows. Not even them. Just go find your coffee and ignore all the “nos” your child is spewing at you. Understand the role Cheerios will have on you, your floors, and your pets in your child’s development and don’t wake up a sleepwalking child.
As for Air Wick Air freshners. . .zero stars. Would not recommend.