We're All Damaged

Sunday, March 4, 2012

What They Don't Tell You


We’ve all seen movies where hapless, sensationally unprepared people are thrust suddenly into parenthood.  The filmmakers usually swing broadly here, giving us any number of comedic diaper malfunctions and projectile vomiting. 

I can’t help rolling my eyes because these things become so commonplace so quickly that they’re basically irrelevant. The other day, my five-month-old puked on me with such force that it nearly knocked me over.  Still, as warm formula and ground-up carrots ran from my chest down to my lap, I don’t even think I changed my facial expression.  My only real concern was whether or not any of it got in my soda.

What the film industry fails to prepare young parents for is something far more difficult to deal with, and that is, well…boredom.  Caring for small children can be really, really boring.  There, I said it.

I know that sounds terrible and I should probably stop typing and go report myself to Social Services immediately, but, if you have little kids, you know that I’m right, particularly on Sunday afternoons in March when it’s just barely too cold to go outside. 

You’d love to read or go see a movie at an actual theater.  You’d love to listen to music, eat at a restaurant, attend a sporting event, go for a run, drive without having someone scream gibberish at you from the backseat, or have an interesting conversation with a grownup.  Sadly, these things aren’t possible right now—and they won’t be for awhile.   

So, instead, you sit around the house.  And when I say “around the house,” I actually mean “on the floor,” because your two-year-old wants to play a game she made up called “Climb on Daddy.”  And when she says, “Climb on Daddy,” what she actually means is “Step on Daddy’s Crotch.”  And while your crotch is being stepped on, you’ll be watching the second half of some random, heavily edited-for-TV movie on ABC Family that you found while endlessly flipping.  Today, for me, that movie was Love Actually.  And you’ll do this all one-handed, because your five-month-old will insist on being in your arms the entire time, and if you put her down, even for a second, she’ll scream until she’s red-faced and gagging, and she’s not due for another nap for at least two more hours.

And, for the love of God, what’s that smell?  Whatever it is, the whole house smells like it. 

Please, don’t take this as me complaining. I chose all of this for myself—we all do, eventually.  But if you haven’t made this choice yet, I beg you to turn off whatever device it is that you’re reading this on and go somewhere. It doesn’t matter where. Seriously.  Anywhere. Please.  You may never have the chance again.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with the transcript of a conversation I had with my daughter today. Twice.     

“I want to eat a cookie, Daddy.”

“No.”

“Why?”

“Because you’ve been eating cookies all day.”

“I want one, though.”

“You make a good argument, but no.”

“Can I have a cookie now?”

“No.”

“Daddy?”

“Yes?”

“Can I have a cookie?”

“No.  Wait, honey, why are you making that face?  Do you have to go to the potty?”

“No.”

“Are you sure?  How about we sit on the potty for a minute?”

“No. I don’t have to.”

“Really?”

“Daddy, can I have a cookie to eat now?”

“No.”

“Daddy?”

“What?”

“I went poop.”

thenormannation@gmail.com

6 comments:

  1. Well then, you'll be very happy with my weekend. A local artist died, and I went to his compound, which is made from concrete and more beer bottles than you can possibly imagine. Every room has at least one wall made from them, and it's amazingly, incredibly beautiful. One of the workrooms (with huge wine bottles build into the walls to hang things from (I'm talking the jug wine with a loop) had wooden doors with his random thoughts written or drawn all over. Pretty cool stuff.

    Then today I drove out early to a friend's camp house because it was just so darn sunny outside. I didn't really do anything but listen to old country music on the drive there and then a bit of folk music on the way back. It was a great weekend, all in all.

    BUT - I remember the days of crawling all over my dad as he lay on the carpet watching TV. And the squeals and giggles of my brother and sister as he'd reach out and tickle us every once in a while. So - movie or no, coffee shop or PG-version of Love Actually, I hope you enjoyed your day.

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    1. Nice. Culture. Music. No one throwing up on you. Solid weekend indeed.

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  2. This is hilarious. And I have to agree with every bit of it. I feel like you just described my Saturday with my 18 month old! Lol. I still wouldn't change it for the world.

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    1. Yes...it's funny how we still like them so much. It's hardwired in there, I guess. Frankly, if my daughters weren't related to me, I'd probably have them kicked out of my house.

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  3. I just wrote this blog post about my almost twelve year old. I'll trade ya... http://www.talesofmikkimoto.com/ben/almost-twelve/

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  4. "Would like to sit on your potty?"

    "Would you like to poop in your potty?"

    "Yes, Daddy's pooping."

    I can't flush the toilet in the house in any more because that's her job and she's jealous of it, gets upset when someone else does it.

    We spend a lot of time talking about poop, about peeing, but so far we've only had a lucky celebration or two. She's enjoying it. I'm looking forward to the end of it.

    I take solace in the fact that almost no 7th graders wear diapers and we've discussed that. So we know it's coming. It will be nice when it gets here.

    And hey, I'm getting to be of an age where it's nice to know Daddy can poop in the toilet too.

    Thank God, they're so cute.

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