1) Happy Friday. Thank goodness, right? 2) You’ve made it to the final post in my “Things You Know But Don’t Really Know” series. So far we’ve discussed how kids are gross and dirty and how they are hoarders and moochers and don’t sleep when you want them to. This will be the most information-packed post, so I’m just going to get down to brass tacks.
#6: Kids Are Needy
So. Very. Needy. I mean let’s be honest. A newborn can’t do shit. (Actually, that’s one of the things newborns can do quite well, but you know what I mean.) They need to be fed, burped, changed, bathed, rolled over, rolled back, rocked to sleep, picked up, put down, bounced, swaddled, swayed, shushed. Parents with newborns are like zombies for a reason. But we know this. Everyone warns new parents that the first few months will be hell.
But where was the warning that this neediness actually intensifies as your kids get older? You’re not just fulfilling basic human needs anymore; you’ve become a means to an end. “Mommy, can you get me crackers?” “Daddy, I need my pink shirt with the purple polka dots.” “Mommy, where is that doll I was playing with the other day?” “Where’s my binky?” “Daddy, can you put a show on for us? Yeah that one. Oh no, not this one. The other one. Oh wait, the first one. Actually, where’s the one about the kid doing that thing with the other kid?” “Mommy, I’m thirsty, I need a drink!” “Come wipe my butt.” “I wanna push the button!” “I need a Band-Aid!” “Mommy, we want a different show.” “Daddy, Mommy said to get us a snack.” “Where’s my blanket?” “Daddy? Daddy? Daddy?” “Mammmmaaaaaaaaa!”
Yup, that about sums up the first 5 minutes the kids are awake each day. But the kicker with all of this neediness is the timing. It is a simple fact that your kids will never need anything while you are already up or even when you ask them point-blank if they need anything. Nope. They’ll suddenly need you right when you sit down to eat, or relax, or poop. Or the second you get in the shower or are otherwise in the middle of doing anything else but tending to them. When your kids are little, you can simply forget about being able to poop alone or take a relaxing shower while they are awake.
#7: Kids Are (Too) Honest
How’s that? Don’t we want to raise honest kids? you ask. Oh absolutely. Yes, we want our kids to fess up when they hit a sibling, or tell a lie, or eat the last of the ever-loving Girl Scout cookies that you won’t be able to get again for another year.
But until kids develop that internal filter that (most) adults have and learn that some things shouldn’t be said out loud, you’re going to be getting a whole lotta honesty you may not want. Some hypothetical (ahem) things you might hear include
- Your belly is squishy
- Your legs are hairy
- Your breath smells yucky
- Your hair is greasy
- Your legs are jiggly
- You have a boogie in your nose
- You stink
- Your boobies are so big (“Big” is such a relative term, eh?)
Well, if you would leave me the frick alone for 20 effing minutes I might be able to do something about all that! (Oh, who am I kidding, you’ll probably need at least half a day to get all that shit under control. But alas, I refer you back to #6, so the likelihood that you’ll actually have even 5 minutes alone to do ANYTHING is slim to none.)
And don’t think your kids save all of this honesty just for you. You can be sure they will tell you just how hairy or stinky or big your waiter is one day when you are out to lunch. You will pretend you don’t hear anything. Your kid will repeat him- or herself louder and louder each time until you are forced to acknowledge the statement. You will start giving your kid “the look.” Your kid will not understand this look and think you haven’t heard what he or she is saying. Your kid will say it even louder. You will shush your kid. Your kid will get upset and repeat him- or herself again, this time while wailing. The waiter will have heard all of this.
#8: Kids Break Stuff
It’s inevitable. Your kids are going to break things. This is why you don’t buy kids expensive crap. $1 toys are easier to replace than rare antique collectibles. Even someone who knows nothing about kids will know this.
But kids don’t just break their stuff. There is no magic spell that excludes your stuff from being destroyed as well. Cell phones will be dropped in the toilet, eye glasses will be stepped on, couches will get colored on with permanent markers, lights will be left on in the car draining your battery, computer charging cords will get wrapped around the office chair and wound up so tightly from all the spinning that they’ll fray and eventually sever. And I don’t know any family with a complete set of dishes or glasses. Most of the destruction will be accidental, mind you, but that won’t make the replacements–should you decide to actually replace or repair your damaged goods–any cheaper.
#9: Kids Hurt Themselves. A Lot.
I knew kids got occasional booboos, but I had no idea just how often my kids would hurt themselves. It begins when they can start moving on their own and doesn’t seem to end. They roll into things, fall off things, trip over things, walk into things, choke on things, step on things. Kids are freaking clumsy. Or they often don’t know any better. And don’t get me started on all of the things they will do, intentionally and not, to hurt each other.
Thankfully, although you can absolutely count on your kids getting hurt, most of these injuries will be ones that can be fixed with kisses and a few (or 63) Band-Aids.
#10: Your Kids Are Worth All of It
You have no idea just how much you can love another person until you have kids. It is the fiercest, most intense love you can ever imagine. You will do everything in your power to protect your kids and see that they never come to harm because you helped to create this fragile life. You are responsible for this fragile life. You will understand what it means to be selfless. You will sacrifice for your child. You will do the best you can for your child. You would give your life for your child.
You will understand that even though all of the other things are true, having someone to love and be loved unconditionally makes it all worth it.