There is no manual for parenthood, as much as we want it to be true. Parenting strategy usually arrives in ebb-and-flow, trial-and-error form, as much as we want it not to be true. Over time through the cultural doctrine of verbal pass-down, parents have developed a semblance of a united language, an inclusive set of ruling standards for survival against our children.
Because, let’s face it, children can be plenty contentious and loads of barrier sometimes.
One week ago, I did an informal survey on my primary social media page regarding statements that we, as parents, knew to be true about raising children. The results became a collection of funny, ironic anecdotes that revealed our endemic parent tongue. Regardless of race, class, region, environment, number of children, or gender of children, I found that fellow parents believed much of the same notions that I have about the behaviors, tendencies, rush to judgments, and nightly bedtime troubles of our younger generations.
I suppose the way through parenthood is in our mortal parallels. Some things are just “little human” nature.
For starters, one of the first pieces of advice passed from one veteran parent to a newer one regards the prehistoric existence of something we all miss deeply: Sleep. The phrasing is diverse: “Sleep will never be the same.” “Learn to sleep when the baby sleeps.” “Enjoy all the sleep you can now.” “Girl, naw.” Every one of these messages is the same.
There’s usually so much sadness, so much longing.
Other fabulous parent truths include:
“All flatulence, even from the tiniest behinds, is created equally.” YouTube is full of videos as proof that baby poots are a rite of passage for parents.
“Though children are experts at living in the moment, they will never let you forget that one time you told them ‘no dessert.'” Ten yes’s, one no, and all is lost.
“Kids can find anything in the world other than what you are asking them to find.” This selective eyesight is frustrating for parents and kiddies alike, particularly when the item is right there.
“When you tell your kids it’s bedtime, they suddenly get hungry, thirsty, and need to poop.” In my specific episodes of bedtime stalling, I have witnessed Jrue to become a big fan of simply hanging out on the toilet. Not going number one or two. Just literally sitting and imagining and doing taxes. It’s pretty factual that a kid, once a “fantastic sleeper,” would sooner over later become a not-so-fantastic sleep procrastinator.
“Stickiness is life.” Similarly, a Jeopardy category would also reveal the conditions of muddy, dusty, crusty, snotty, slobbery, and colorful as equally-correct children skin classifications.
“Silence is NOT golden.” Kids can make an often-expensive mess in seconds. If a parent has ever had to pay a repair professional to “fix” a toilet that had suddenly become clogged with familiar-looking toys, yep, they learned that lesson. They learned that lesson good-fashioned.
We have to attempt to find some humor in something, even in retrospect. “You will have at least one story about some part of your kid that got stuck somewhere.” I believe in this quote. And I fear it. So far, Jai has only gotten her body through one of her bookshelf cubes, and we had no choice but to capture it digitally for loving blackmail purposes later. I know that she’ll be my adventurous one, though. When the event (finally) happens, I’ll write about it once we free her.
“Kids have no filter and are brutally honest.” Say it louder for the parents in the back. The site Modern Mom put together some hilarious guest entries on the topic. These notes posted on Café Mom are shake-the-head comical, too.
“Kids are mini terrorists!” I have no words to soothe the punch of this statement.
And it doesn’t get any better as they age. “Kids sure make a lot of plans for people who don’t have a car, license, or money.”
The verbal inquisition
Not only do our kids fight with us, but they fight amongst their alienkind: “With siblings, toys suddenly becoming interesting only when the other picks it up.” It’s like the age-old adage: You don’t miss what you don’t have. Or, something like that.
“Some kids have the ability to ask more questions that’ll drive Buddha to jump out of his Zen and into the front of a moving train.” This is an old faithful. Sometimes, it’s not even questions—they frequently just want to talk. Now that video evidence exists on the worldwide web, take a look at this viral clip of an employee who was joined in a bathroom stall by a randomly chatty child.
In addition, “kids will ask mom for a million things while mom is doing a trillion chores.” Dads often recognize this odd quandary, as well; however, rarely do children go straight to dad for help first. Inquiring minds want to know: Why is this?!
When older, a “‘no’ can trigger their negotiating skills.” What do we do with young adults who look, act, and think in the methodical manner we do as adults, in a fashion that we directly and indirectly encouraged? Panic, probably.
To have and to household
“Laundry…it never ends.” This is international parent code. More like Milky Way code, I’m sure. Let’s begin educating the rest of the population by placing this on some billboards then, shall we?
“CLEAN UP, FOR WHAT?” The caps lock got stuck. It had to be stuck.
When in doubt, we should try to keep it simple. Energy is a rare entity that must be treasured. Therefore, “pizza is a must.” Pizza for dinner tomorrow night, too, is neither a poor idea, nor a shameful one. Remember: survival.
That third leg
There are so many stories that can be disclosed about “sweet and spicy” girls versus “rough and tumble” boys (and all variations in between). However, one small subtopic deserved mentioning of its own. The male appendage emerges with many governing guidelines of its own. Some of my favorites: “With boys and changing their diapers, always make sure their boy parts are pointing downwards; otherwise, they will pee all up themselves.” “Boys may play with their privates or come up with weird names for them.” And, finally, a question for the remainder of the 2010’s decade: “How is there urine on the base of the toilet BEHIND the bowl?” We may never find the answer, honestly.
I chose to save this one for last, as it can incite several differing expressions for many suffering parents around the globe. “Kids seem to have a sixth sense when it comes to their parents trying to slide in some ‘special’ time.” In my house particularly, I cannot sit innocently on the couch beside the hubs without a problem.
And yet…we still procreate. Humans still divinely bake in bellies…and rather efficiently, I might add.
What do we do, parents? We love our children, often more than we love ourselves. Motherhood, fatherhood, and caregiver-hood brings unbelievable encounters of frustration and hurt and obstacle, but all of the glitter of patience and selflessness and tenderness. Parenthood is everlasting. We’re here to learn and traverse and experience…and laugh. Always laugh. “It is never-ending…from the womb until death.”
You’ve got that right.