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The great lies of parenting

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1. Timing contractions is total bullshit. You make these neat little charts well in advance and it all sounds so sane and manageable going into it. Just time how long your contraction lasts and figure out how far apart they are. You’re probably in active labor when your contractions are five minutes apart and 60-90 seconds long. That really didn’t sound too bad to me when I was reading about it on paper. That’s, what, a minute to a minute and a half of pain, followed by five minutes or so to recuperate? What I didn’t know was that you measure from the beginning of one contraction to the beginning of the next contraction, not end-to-beginning like you might think. I found myself flying through labor at this out of control, break-neck pace, and I barely had time to catch my breath in the tiny space of time left over where I was not actively coping with a contraction. There was no time for me to scream at my support person for tickling my arm hair with all their extraneous breathing or anything! I have never felt so cheated in all my life as when I realized that I wasn’t going to have those 4-5 minute quiet calm spells in the middle of double-peaking contraction hell. Welcome to parenting.

2. Babies come with their own unique sleep patterns. You can switch their days and nights around a bit when they’re very new and don’t know any better, but after a few weeks they realize that they rule the roost, and from there on out its total pandemonium….forever. For example, my son sleeps in twelve hour stretches, and likes to stay up late and sleep in. My daughter wants to get up at 4 am, takes two three-hour naps during the day and retires again around 7. Their sleep schedules are wildly incompatible and there is nothing I can do about it. I just have to live through it.

3. Babies are born knowing how to commit murder. I mean that literally. There is nothing quite like seeing your barely-talking baby pretend to slice a doll’s throat for the first time. You want to know why the old fairy tales are so brutal? Because kids are super gory! It is highly disturbing!

4. Kids also come out knowing how to masturbate, and have zero qualms about doing it in front of others. (Or in the middle of a wedding, for that matter.) And if a kid sees another kid masturbating, they’ll think it’s a great idea and start right up themselves. It is unbelievable.

5. Baby girls can poop into their own vaginas. I don’t mean smear a little ON there, I mean IN there. This is how the sink bath became a daily ritual in our home, because what else are you going to do?! I’m dreading the day this happens while we’re out in a public place.

6. All kids eat the same shit. Lemonade, graham crackers, grapes, string cheese, carrot sticks…you can kill yourself cooking up sumptuous feasts for them, you can spend three times as much money providing them with the organic alternatives, but you aren’t going to change their taste buds. Grown-up food just tastes icky to them, and you have to respect that.

7. Kids can tell when the thing they are about to say may offend someone…and they handle that knowledge by raising their voices. The reasoning seems to go, “It may be the wrong thing to *say*, but no one said that anything bad would happen if I *yelled* it.”

8. Kids are very suspicious of variety. The last big change they can remember involved being ejected onto the world and getting their heels poked with needles, so it makes good sense that they’d be wary. My love of logic is not enough to get me through ten million readings of “Fox In Socks,” though. And after two years of sandwich making, the smell of peanut butter makes me gag a little. Oh! The monotony!

9. The word “no” is pure comedic gold in kid world. There is just nothing funnier to a two year old than an exasperated parent trying to stop you from doing what you both know you WILL be doing, no matter what they do, say or threaten. This is why loving parents find themselves doing really bizarre stuff, like pressuring their toddler to run with scissors. “Come on,” you’ll find yourself coaxing them in beseeching tones, “just run to the end of the hallway! Puh-leeze!” Your child and any strangers in earshot will stare at you, aghast, and say something along the lines of, “WHAT?! What a horrible idea! Running with scissors is a highly dangerous activity that should not be attempted at home! Didn’t your mother teach you that?” But we can just smirk after them. We, after all, know the truth; of course Mother told us not to run with scissors. How else did they think we got these nifty scissor scars?

10. It’s a slow process, but an inexorable one. One day you’ll call your husband “daddy” instead of calling him by his real name, and you’ll realize that there are no kids around that were actually fathered by this man. You’ve just grown used to hearing him called daddy and telling other people to go ask daddy and he has now become the man known as “daddy” in your mind. And you will never, ever be able to have sex again.


Written by GRSeim

June 13, 2012 at 6:06 am

One Response

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  1. 2. Oh, the sleep patterns. How do you cope?! Libra and Gemini are both pretty happy to stay up late (our bedtime routine frequently starts at around nine pm, and they might be asleep by 9:30 … or 10 … or 11 …) – but then Gemini wants to wake up at six, and have a nice long nap midday, and Libra typically wants to wake up with his daddy at seven and then nap until about nine, and then not nap at all even though he could really use one by about three in the afternoon. And I’m – well. Their primary daytime caregiver’s internal alarm clock does not sound until about nine in the morning, regardless of when I go to sleep, and I actually am more awake at nine if I’m up til about midnight. It’s madness, getting all of us awake and not-cranky at the same time!

    4. Thankfully I was pretty prepared for this, and it doesn’t bother me as much as it probably could have had I not known in advance.

    5. Did not know that. Wish I still did not know that.

    9. No is still their favorite word, and they have found all sorts of different inflections for it that somehow make it funnier to them while retaining the meaning. My partner has gotten good at turning this around on them a la reverse psychology (“Okay, Libra, JUMP! Jump off that couch right this instant!” “NO!!”). Me, not so much.


    June 14, 2012 at 8:03 am

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