The Joys of Parenting
The School of (Parenting) Life
Reading is generally the best way to learn. You read textbooks at school and get tested on them, and they tell you that the things you learn here will benefit you in the real world. I don't remember the last time I actually needed the Pythagorean equation or the knowledge of the makeup of an atom or cell except to rock in Jeopardy!. This doesn't really apply the the "School of Life" where sometimes no matter how much you study and read, you're not fully prepared for the situation at hand. Textbooks don't carry the "what if" factor.
This can apply to going into labor. Even a "seasoned pro" can go in and end up getting thrown for a loop. "What do you mean I need to be induced? Last time I gave birth on the actual due date". Everything can go wrong, everything can go right, it's really just a crap shoot in the end isn't it? The books don't really prepare you as well as you'd hope, because you generally always get thrown for a loop anyways. They're good for a general feel for what's about to happen, but otherwise they seem more useful to pass the time while your feet are swollen and you're too sore or tired to move.
The biggest application of this reality versus book debate happens after the baby is born. From the moment he takes his first breath outside of the womb, you start to realize that you're never really prepared for the sleeplessness or all the crying. Seriously, they cry and cry. I think the hospital turns babies into demon children with the amount they cry. Mine stopped excessively crying the minute we came home. Some, still have babies that do little else but cry. And it is ear piercing and heart breaking. What they say is 100% true: Children do not come with manuals.
It ends up being all trial and error, and that's perfectly okay. Every child is different too, so you could have on perfect angel that is "textbook" and the second one seems to fit in no mold at all. That's more than okay, that's perfect. If every child were the same, we would be living in a boring world. It's not about the rules of "being a child" they follow; it's about raising children to be incredible and life changing adults. So what if the book says "no ice cream", but your 9 month old looks at you with puppy eyes and reaching for your spoon. A bit or two of ice cream while they're running around won't kill them. Sometimes rules are made to be broken. And you'll know what "rules" those are by learning about those little budding individuals you're raising.
The "Rules" of Parenting
There are certain rules that come with parenting, and I've decided to show you another list of them. They are 100% foolproof, I promise.
- I'm sorry, were you eating that? Your stomach is growling, and it's lunchtime and you remember that you were too busy to eat breakfast because you're little one had other plans for you. But now? Now that little one is napping and you have your eyes on that leftover Chinese food. You microwave it, and sit down and put your fork to your food. The minute that fork filled with delicious food touches your eager lips, no matter how long the baby has been asleep, they will always wake up. This should be called "Babies First Law". This law also applies to the minute to start to fall asleep for a well deserved nap/bedtime.
- The "Diaper" rule. This rule applies a lot of the time, but only becomes annoying when they can wiggle away from you naked. It's "the diaper rule". This rule states that "I will not poop in a diaper I have already peed in. This is beneath me." No fail, my baby's one bowel movement a day coincides with a moment in which I have just changed his diaper. Maybe it's a coincidence, or maybe babies are just born to test every fiber of our patience. Either way, this will happen, and he will successfully wiggle away and streak through the house because I get way to tired to stand up quick enough to immediately grab them.
- The "Sleep" rule. This rule is the simplest one: the amount of how tired you are versus how tired your baby is. Spoiler alert: this "sleep rule" generally means "the more tired you are, the more alert the baby is. Enjoy this one... /rolls eyes.
- Do you beat your child? This rule, is the most nerve testing one and it applies to older children as well. Your child can go the whole week or even month without a mark on them. No fail, however, the day or two before a doctor's appointment something will happen. The baby will run into the table giving himself a black eye, or fall into the wall because he was running with his eyes closed and ended up with a giant bruise on his forehead. Or your school age child will not pay attention on one of those metal "springy bouncy" things at the playground and hit his head so hard he splits it open right above the eye. And no fail, while you're in the waiting room everyone eyes you. Then, you get into the doctor's office and the truth sounds so bizarre that your doctor might think it's a cover story. I forgot that part of the rule: they always end up doing it in such a way you might as well just tell the doctor that you did it because it's completely "unrealistic" how it really happened.
- The soggier the better. The final rule is sharing. When your baby learns to share his food with you, you can rest assured you did something right. The soggier that cracker is the more he loves you and wants to share it. This is his way of saying "you were awesome, mom." Enjoy it now, because when they are teens you'll never be awesome and you'll just be an embarrassment.