But eventually, like a really tattered, rolled up in a ball, tied with crappy ribbon and then shoved in the back of your drawers under a mound of clothing, button-up shirt, you slowly start to iron out the wrinkles. You smooth over the rough edges until all that's left is a smooth (albeit still a bit tattered) shirt. At least it's recognizable. Around three or four months, your life starts to resemble what you think having children is all about.
There are the coos, the smiles, the milestones, the obsessing over milestones, the vaccines, the rolling over, the finally starting to sleep a wink here and there. You start to see what you're in for; you start to get the hang of parenthood.
And just when you start to get into a groove, start to feel confident in this whole parenting game, you become consumed by this all-encompassing feeling that there is so much around the corner waiting for you. In fact, I've found five things that I never even measured as a blip on the radar when I thought about diving headfirst into parenthood.
No. 1) You may not realize this just yet, but you're going to spend probably the next 10 years of your life clipping someone else's nails for them. I know, weird right? You may not think it's a big deal now, but just wait until you try to use those uber-tiny nail clippers on your wiggly little newborn. (I've tried the whole biting the nails off with my teeth thing and it doesn't work. Braeburn has nails of steel already). And if that's not bad enough, wait until you accidentally clip part of their uber-soft baby finger. Not only do they wail, you do too because you feel like such a terrible mom.
Unfortunately, this chore will continue unless one of these three things happens; someone somewhere invents something to stunt the growth of nails; your child finally understands hygiene and learns how to handle their own business; or evolution decides not to give us nails until we're 20.
No. 2) A princess is never a princess and a truck is never a truck. Seriously. While I pack my daughter's lunch I contemplate whether or not I'm emotionally damaging her by putting her tofu and hummus wrap in a plastic lunch container plastered with Disney princesses all over it. That "quick" trip to the grocery store turns into a 30-minute debacle on what big girl panties I should pick out for Pearyn; am I the only one who's a little weirded out by having the my little pony "Pinkie Pie" decorating my daughter's bum? Maybe I should go for the Tinkerbell three pack instead? At least that way she gets a little cultural education with her fairies?
And better yet, why is the pack of infamous Sesame Street characters (Oscar, Cookie Monster, Count and Big Bird) deemed "boy" underwear? Since when do you have to have a penis to appreciate a furry green puppet that lives in the trash can?
No. 3) Your child, at some point in time (whether you want to admit it or not), is going to be an asshole. No, seriously. Your precious bundle of joy is going to act like a douche bag. Chances are, they've probably learned it from you. As a mother to an extremely colicky baby boy, I admit there have been many a night I've cursed biology for causing my darling little man to inherit what I like to call the "d-bag" gene.
Now don't get me wrong here. I'm not saying you should call said child a bad name to their face, I'm simply saying that at some point in the first year or two of parenthood, you're going to find yourself asking whatever higher being you seek solace in, what precisely terribly thing you did to birth such a little butthole. And until you're a parent to a little jerkface of your own, I reserve the right to say these things without judgement. And just to reiterate, I'm not saying it to their little butthole faces.
No. 4) Even when they're out of diapers, you're still going to wipe a lot of butt. Sure, your almost-three-year-old daughter may or may not be potty trained and you may or may not have had a little party to celebrate not having to change her diaper after she poops her own body weight, THREE times a day, but the real joys are about to come. Now, instead of having a squirmy little baby butt to wipe while they eat their toes and contemplate the meaning of existence, you have a little toddler poking their bare butt through your cracked bedroom door while you're trying to blog and daddy is asleep in the chair almost singing "can you wipe my bisqeet mommy, I took a big "pooorp." I know that bisqeet and pooorp aren't words, but just read that sentence aloud and you'll have an idea of the way my three-year-old daughter talks.
The best part? She says these things with such pride, sticking her stinky little butt through the door and waving it around.
No. 5) The only thing you're ever going to be sure about again in your entire life is how you absolutely have no control over your heart anymore. This little person, these little people, will take pieces of your heart for the rest of your lives together. You may not know if those peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and coconut milk boxes are good for them, but you do know one thing. As long as you are alive and breathing, your heart will never, ever be yours again.
It will be carried around inside these little people that leech onto you when they're all cutesy and their smiles make you all ooey and gooey and then one day, they're all grown up and you suddenly realize they've walked away with your heart.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that parenthood will be the biggest love story of your life, but also, the biggest heartbreak.
You also might like:
- Pee, chocolate poop and the things we do to remain sane
- How I survived my first night alone and (other) nightmares