Some of you who read this will already be parents, others will be expecting, and some will be thinking about bringing another little miracle into the world. Those in the first group will already know what I am going to write about, the other two groups however, read on, because what I am going to tell you comes from the experience of raising 3 kids. And let me tell you, there isn’t a parenting book, class, or forum that will tell you about the random things that crop up when dragging kids into adulthood.
Unless you are some kind of spectacular moron then you will be aware that poo and babies go together like booze and hangovers, changing nappies is a disgusting, smelly, and necessary part of the experience. It’s not the poo that’s the problem though , it’s the total indifference you end up feeling about it. You never get used to the smell, ever, but the sight of it becomes so normal you forget what life was like before you were surrounded by faeces. For example, the other day I had to change a dirty nappy, and I realised that a bit of poo had gotten onto the floor, and my hand. So I shrugged, grabbed a wet wipe, cleaned my hand, and picked it up off the floor. I think most parents would say in response, ‘So what’s the big deal?’
Well I’ll tell you what the big deal is. Before I had kids, if I walked into a room and saw that there was poo on the floor, I would literally hold a Spanish Inquisition style round up of my friends, take DNA samples, and find the miscreant who took the offending dump! I would go full CSI on their ass! There is no way in hell I would have shrugged and got on with cleaning it up.
But there does come a point when you realise that kids are totally gross, honestly, they spit, drool, vomit, puke, snot, and wee over EVERYTHING! I can’t remember the last time my sofa wasn’t covered in damp patches of bodily fluid. But if you thought that was as bad as it gets, just wait because…
Kids Are Suicidal Idiots!
Kids are stupid, we all know this, if they weren’t then we wouldn’t need schools. Sometimes their idiocy can be used to your advantage, for example, if I tell my daughter to get into her pyjama’s and she doesn’t want to, she’ll have a tantrum and all hell will break loose. If however, I ask her to get into her, ‘Super Special Magic Princess Pirate Pyjamas’, then she does her Superman impression and in the blink of an eye she is changed and ready for bed.
Other times though, this idiocy manifests itself as a masochistic desire to kill herself in weird and wonderful ways. You can idiot proof your house to the point that everything is covered in bubble wrap, every plug socket is covered, and the only sharp things in the room are in my wardrobe.
But if you turn your back for more than ten seconds, they manage to find rusty nails to poke into their eyes, or a bottles of weedkiller to drink or are fashioning nooses from your comedy, singing ties. It’s like they get fed up with all this breathing nonsense you keep insisting they do and without having a viable way to re-enter the womb, they just decide to off themselves. But it’s not like this idiocy is even confined to children because…
People Will Assume They Can Talk To Your Kids Regardless Of The Situation!
9 times out of 10 I have no problem with people talking to my kids, in fact I encourage it, I think it’s good to push your kids to interact with people so that they learn social skills and that they shouldn’t be afraid of everybody that they meet. Obviously this is done under my supervision, and I am never going to encourage them to chat to the person that owns this van.
The problem is that some people decide it’s ok to chat to my kids even if their interaction is clearly not welcome. Like the other day, I was travelling on a bus with my girls, as it was a 2 hour trip me and my Mrs decided that they should have a nap. So we attempted to get our 2-year-old off to sleep when suddenly an older gentlemen started waving, smiling, and playing games with her. We smiled politely, and let it go.
Then 15 minutes later he was still at it, so we hinted that she was tired, and that we wanted to her to get some sleep.
After another 15 minutes we moved her away, and he continued.
Again, and again, and again.
After an hour of this, my Mrs snapped and said, “Look can you stop, we are trying to get her to sleep!”
The gentleman was obviously put out by this, but, he did eventually stop. What was annoying though, is that he made us feel like we were being a**eholes for asking him to leave our daughter alone. So those are your options, put up with strangers interacting with your kids whenever they feel like it, or, look like an a**ehole when you ask them to stop. But if you think you can just keep your kids closed off to stop this unwanted interaction you soon realise that…
At Some Point Your Going To Have To Let Go!
I see some parents down at the park when I take my kids, and they are hovering over them, making sure their little idiots don’t leap off the highest part of the climbing frame or run in front of a moving swing. To be honest I was like this with my first, and I understand that sometimes it’s because parents separate, so it’s the only time they can really connect with their child. But what I’m talking about is the ‘Helicopter Parent’, the type of parent so terrified of their child ‘breaking’ that they watch their every move.
This type of parenting has got its merits, at least you know that your child will always be ‘safe’, but I find that the child loses something in the process. I have come to the conclusion that a kid needs to learn the limits of their body, be left to interact with other kids without my involvement, and occasionally, take a leap of faith to find out whether they can do something that scares them. Which unfortunately means getting hurt from time to time.
I’m not advocating irresponsible parenting here, obviously I won’t let my daughter do something that will cause permanent damage, or, you know, death or something. But if she falls over and scrapes her knee, it’s not the end of the world, and parenting like this has produced brave and strong girls, who will pick themselves up after a fall and try again with new knowledge about what they can and can’t do.
With all that said, it is still terrifying for me as a parent, allowing them to hurt themselves a little from time to time goes against every natural impulse, but I need to tell myself that I can either allow them to grow up strong and independent, or, I can smother them and have them growing up as the kid who doesn’t talk to class mates and eats paper in the corner.
It’s a no brainer really.
I apologise, I didn’t intend for this post to become Parenting 101, but trust me, I could go on and on about the stuff people don’t tell you about being a parent. Like the creepy way babies decide to stop breathing for up to 15 seconds for no other reason than to f**k with you. But I have gone WAY over the word limit I set myself already and my 3-year-old is trying to lick a battery…….
Kids! Who’d have them?