As a parent, it’s your job and your job alone to raise your child as a well rounded and a generally accepted member of the human race. Hell, with a bit of luck and a tail wind, you may even raise them to aspire to something more. It’s a big responsibility!!!
My wife recently read me a quote from a parenting article’s comments section that simply said:
We are all perfect parents until we have children.
Those words could’t be more true. Before we have kids we all have our own personal set of things we will never do (dummies, disposable nappies, raising your voice etc.) but as soon as you actually have a kid, you work out that every single one of your ideologies are open to change, and more often than not, open to being completely thrown out in exchange for something that actually works… raising your voice however does not work, they just laugh at you.
Naturally, there are books for everything (I know because my wife bought them all), but when it comes down to it, most of the time you are just limping through with nothing more than your best guess to guide you to the other side of some of the most challenging moments you will ever experience.
I have now made it through my first year and a half of being a parent, my little boy is still alive and I am still married… so I’m going to declare that a success. Luckily, some things do come naturally; for instance, I was terrified about not waking up in the middle of the night for our baby… but I did wake up and continue to all the fucking time. You see, it turns out we are wired to respond. Even though you are completely sleep deprived and mostly surviving on coffee and breakfast cereal (very much like being a uni student before they invented Coffee Cereal), you manage to somehow push it all aside and drag yourself into the dungeon of poo for the 10th time that night, then tend to whatever needs your screaming offspring has (and you don’t even hold a grudge, for too long).
After the first 12 months, that natural super power begins to fade, and you may find that the will to carry on is not as strong any more. And right there, when you are ready to fall in a heap, you have to look for new ways to do things you thought you had under control. This is because just when you have a routine in place, the little shits’ go and change on you!
For me, the single most distinct change is that now we’re dealing with a toddler instead of a baby, and about the only thing a toddler has in common with a baby is a reliance on it’s parents for pretty well everything they need to survive.
Babies are easy. If you put your baby down so you can go and deal with an everyday tasks (like, getting dressed or going to the toilet)… they will usually be exactly where you left them when you come back.
Trying to sneak off for a dump when you have a toddler in the house is a very different story!
The first thing is, when you are the only adult in the house, you don’t close the door (dignity departed at about the same time your baby arrived). A kid who has just learned to walk can crack open his head in less time it takes you to blink, so the last thing you want to do is obstruct your path. After all, it’s hard enough to run down the hall toward the sound of a bump or crash when you have your trousers around your ankles as it is, the last thing you want to do is complicate things. Plus, your toddler tends to want to stay close to you anyway, and in the case of mine, the distance away is exactly the length of whatever toilet paper is left on the roll… I suggest leaving the holder empty and keep a fresh roll on top of the cistern.
The other problem I face daily with a toddler, is his total inability to stay still. Bathing him as a baby was easy, you washed him, you dried him, you dressed him… and it all went off without a hitch. Now you put him in the bath and take cover while he transfers all the water to the floor and everything else within range. Then you try and dry him while the whole time, he is thrashing about in an attempt to escape your every effort to complete the task.
The one thing I can be sure of is that as my son gets older there will be many more such changes, and all I can do is strap in and take the ride. At least I know there will always be: