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.”
“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?”
“Can I have a cookie?”
“No. Wait, honey, why are you making that face? Do you have to go to the potty?”
“Are you sure? How about we sit on the potty for a minute?”
“No. I don’t have to.”
“Daddy, can I have a cookie to eat now?”
“I went poop.”