Monday, February 27, 2012

First, Just Throw Away All Your Ideas

Michael and I were big fans of the "I'll never..." game. It's a fun game parents-to-be play to give you a sense of security and allow you to go through with parenthood because thank God YOU have it all figured out, unlike every other parent before you.

You have such a good time playing this game, you begin to share the better rounds with your friends; some of whom are already parents. "I'll never let my child watch TV, listen to 'kid' music or use a binky." Rest assured, this demonstrates unequivocally your naivety, absurdity and pretentiousness.

While I knew there would be some adjustments on my plans and schemes for parenthood, I didn't realize "I'll never" is completely useless. The game should be called "There's no limit to the desperate things I'll do to make it go smoothly-ish."

This seems like a good spot to send a universal apology to all the parents out there I judged silently (and not so silently) on the "choices" you made raising your children. I now know there are no choices. There are simply ways to make it through the day alive and sometimes with your sanity intact.

Parents out there are nodding their heads. 

Parents-to-be, are telling themselves how I just didn't have the discipline to set standards and now (they whisper knowingly to themselves) I'm letting the child run my life. Good luck you me in 8 months, we'll chat then.

Don't slit your wrists or send your child to live with wolves just yet. It's not entirely hopeless. You still have a say over what diapers they wear and (for now) what food they eat.

Top Moments in Parent-to-Be Delirium:
  1. You will not catch me sitting in the backseat of the car with the child. Can you not bear being out of eyesight for the 15 minutes it takes to get to the grocery store? Clingy much?
    Oh...I didn't realize the child will scream as if you tore out her fingernails with pliers if she can't see me. And she won't stop for as long as it takes; 20 minutes to the store, 17 hours to Texas, she can scream the whole way - round trip.

    Yet, she instantaneously stops summoning the Lord of Death when I sit in the backseat with her; which allows me to go to the store to get food which I haven't done in three months.

    Call me Backseat Betty...actually don't.

    (FYI, this stage passed at about 5 months and now The Bean entertains herself fine in the backseat.)
  2. Clearly the bassinet is something invented by the furniture makers of the world to sucker parents into buying yet another crappy, blocky item to take up space in their house. That child will never sleep in the same room as me. There is nothing she is going to need so quickly that the 10 seconds it takes to get to her room will be too long.
    1. OK, fine...I can see the merits of sleeping in the same room for the first week or two. Everyone is tired and it's pretty easy to nurse throughout the night. But no longer than a month.
    2. The first four months seems like an appropriate amount of time for the kid to be in the crib in the parent's room. I read somewhere they become better sleepers because they hear your breathing. But no more than four months.
    3. Six months tops.
    4. Definitely no co-sleeping.
    5. Not past 18 years old.
  3. My child will not watch TV or the internet until [some age I deemed appropriate that was not 2 months old].
    Oh hi Elmo! Hey there Wiggles!!! You mean, if I put you in front of my child I will be able to take a shower for the first time this week? Come on in!
  4. A child with a binky is a clear indication of a lack of discipline and coddling.
    A child with a binky doesn't scream in my ear all night long.
  5. There is no way this child will interfere with my social life. Children are portable. There are babysitters. We won't go out as much, but we will still go out and have our own lives.
    This one is tricky because for the first 3-4 months you are lulled into a false sense of security. The kid IS portable. They sleep all the time. You can go out to dinner and stick them in the car seat under the table on a chair next to you. Life is good and all those other parents just weren't trying hard enough.


    The Schedule takes over the world.

    Someone needs to be at the house between the hours of 9AM-11AM, 1PM-3PM, 6PM-6AM. Those are The Bean's sleeping hours and LORD SAVE YOU if you make me miss a nap time. Overtired children don't just go to sleep. They scream at you for 5 hours first so you are clear about how tired they are.

    Yes. It is that dramatic.

    Mrs. D-Zo, get a babysitter and get your life back.


    Let me break this down for you:

    A) We pay TENS (as in multiple tens) of THOUSANDS of dollars a year for child care. Money exceptionally well spent as The Bean is with someone all day who is doing a better job than I would at raising my child. Do you know what is not included in this cost? Extra hours. Our cost-free social hours (see The Bean's waking hours above) are not particularly aligned with anyone else's. Going out costs an additional $15/hour; which might be reasonable except that...

    B) I haven't slept in 8 months. Not a single night all the way through. I'm so tired my hair is crying. Which leads me to...

    C) Things I have no interest in doing: Wearing something other than sweatpants, putting on makeup, going somewhere where there may be noise, having to say something intelligent, having to say anything, not sitting, and staying up past 9PM since...

    D) The Bean doesn't get memos on schedule changes and she has a tight morning of activities planned that just does not allow for wiggle room. There's waking up at 5AM and yelling until someone gets her a bottle and a new diaper. There's the hour-long discussion she has with her bottle millimeters from the monitor microphone. Then she has to fall asleep for 30 minutes - just enough time for the family to all fall back asleep - and then wake up ready to really start her day at 6:30.
  6. I'll definitely blog, workout, clean, shower, have a career, walk the dogs, pick up tennis, get my hair dyed every 4 weeks, cook dinner, repaint the bathroom, plant a garden...
    See the response for point #5.

1 comment:

Margaux said...

My 8 month old should most definitely have a shirt that says "DO NOT MESS WITH THE SCHEDULE." Then when I look at him I will think twice about whatever plans I'm trying to talk myself into that will inevitably cause certain disaster later that day.