Kid Truths: Things I Wish I Knew Before I Had Kids
These are some things I have learned since having kids – things that I was not expecting or prepared for by other parents. Just wanted to break the silence. These are in no order.
1 – Kids are gross. Not just in the standard, puke/poop areas, but little kids lack the social awareness and general knowledge of what is gross. For example, my kids love to crawl out of bathroom stalls – you know, under the door? Totally oblivious to whatever they are picking up from the floor. Yuck. Toddlers might be fascinated by dog poop, penises, or smearing their new sibling’s spit up. You get it, right. They are g-r-o-s-s.
2 – Kids talk all the time. Even when you are trying to listen to someone/something else. Especially if you are trying to watch a movie or listen to Oprah’s expert guest.
3 – Related to the previous item, kids are loud and there is NOTHING you can do about this. Dirty looks from librarians, other passengers on the plane or your mother-in-law will only bother YOU but will not impact your child in the least.
4 – You will fall in love with your newborn, but to the rest of the world he looks like a shriveled up little troll. Nobody will say this, of course, because it would be really messed up and also because it is temporary.
5 – Your relationships with your mother, your mother in law, and whatever siblings you and your spouse have will likely change once you have your first child. Sometimes for the better. Sometimes not.
6 – Assuming you are female, you will contemplate leaving your partner within the first year of your first child’s life. Maybe not seriously, but it will likely cross your mind.
7 – Babies can have stinky ‘morning’ breath.
8 – When you have a second child, older people are freakishly interested in the first child’s adjustment to the new baby. I often felt like older relatives for some reason thought baby #2 would bring #1 down “a peg or 2”, as if he needed that.
9 – Of course your first child will eventually show his/her displeasure with your second child. It WILL happen, because it is normal. You do NOT have to insist that he/she is fine and not jealous at all because eventually he/she will be.
10 – Your pets, ie “fur babies”, will probably become neglected “second place” babies once you have kids.
11 – The nursery decorations really don’t matter. Neither does the color of the swing, the style of bouncer, or the pattern on your Baby Bjorn.
12 – ER doctors have the bedside manner of Guatemalan street peddlers and they all think new moms are somewhat retarded. One ER doctor gently told me that bone cancer “isn’t contagious.” As if I was implying that, which I was not.
13 – There are no right anwers once you have kids. You will be pulled in different directions about things you never thought mattered, like breastfeeding and cosleeping, vaccines and organic foods. You might make up your mind about one thing but then change it when you have your next child. Lots of people will try to tell you what is right, but this is really the only time you are totally, frighteningly, in control of the decisions you make.
14 – Guilt. He is your new roommate. Get used to him, but don’t feed him because he will only want more.
15 – Parenting doesn’t really get easier. As time passes, the challenges shift into different areas – but there are always challenges.
16 – The latest research suggests that in the nature/nurture debate, nature has more influence than previously thought. So you do your best but know that your kid came into this world hardwired for things beyond your control – and if you can accept that, you’ll be ok.