Parenthood….it’s amazing, magical and fulfilling in ways that you never imagined possible. However, it is also more than a little exhausting and chaotic at times…or all the time…..As parents there are a lot of little details about this that we like to keep to ourselves. I mean let’s be honest. If we share all of the things that make this journey challenging, no one else is ever going to join our little club of crazy. Children are simply incredible. Watching little people that you created with your own body as they grow and learn and develop their own personalities and interests is nothing short of miraculous. Every day brings a new skill, or giggle, or facial expression that sends all of us parents into a state of complete joy. However, with all the miracles of development come the frustrations. Those things that babies, toddlers, preschoolers simply do not understand yet. They have a completely different set of logic than we do. You will notice I left out preteens….that’s because they lack logic completely. Or so I’ve decided…It’s these breakdowns in communication or lack of understanding that send all of us as parents to the brink of total insanity at least once a day. At least. We all know about lack of sleep and the impact it has on our sanity and our ability to function so I’m going to skip that completely. It’s common knowledge. Let’s cover some of the other sanity crushing moments in parenthood:
1.) Color Changing Dinky Cars:
I don’t know if they even make these anymore, but for my nine year old son they were a really big deal when he was little. I hated them then as well. My two year old stumbled across one the other day. Turns out he only likes the color of the car when it is cold….try explaining to a two year old clutching a dinky car in his hot little hands, why it won’t stay the same color it is when you run it under cold water. Try explaining this for hours….
I believe that the inventors of this “technology” should be punished. They should be given a bucket of color changing cars in cold water and placed in a Nursery School class. Then, take the bucket away and leave the cars with the children. Good luck to you sir…good luck.
2.) Voice Automated Phone Systems:
Have you ever tried to call your bank, hydro company or a government office while home with children? Most of these places have hours that require you to call when all or at least most of your children are in the house, and awake. “For customer service, press or say one.” “Mommy!!!!!! Red truck please!” “We are sorry. We did not understand your response. For customer service, press or say one.” “Mommy!!!! Red truck! Mommy!!!” “We are sorry. We did not understand your response. For customer service, press or say one.” “Mommy!!! Mommy!!!! MOMMY!!!!!” “We are sorry. We did not understand your response. For customer service, press or say one.” But at this point you have already given up. And I know what you are thinking, just take the phone into another room and shut the door. It won’t matter. Somehow those systems are designed to process the voice of a child, while you are on a different floor, in another room, with the door shut tight. I am pretty sure they are designed to prevent anyone with children from bothering them.
3.) The Family Portrait:
Sigh….will any single attempt at anything in this world cause a parent to morph from a logical, mild mannered adult into a fire breathing, foaming at the mouth, raging lunatic faster than the family portrait? Usually you have paid someone to take this photo for you. So, time is of the essence. Suprise! Toddlers have no sense of time and zero interest in the fact that you are paying the photographer by the hour. Interestingly enough, neither do preteens. Toddlers also have no interest in personal hygiene. Imagine you have just bathed a group of puppies and you need to get them to a dog show, but on the way to that dog show is a large puddle and a cotton candy factory. It may also start to rain chocolate at some point in the journey. This is essentially the same thing as trying to keep a group of children, in their lovely new clothing, clean long enough to take a decent family portrait. If you do manage to get that group of children in front of the photographer while still clean, brace yourself. They will not, at any point in time all look at the camera at the same time. Nor will they all smile together. Every family portrait we have shows two parents with extremely forced smiles on their faces, one child smiling at the camera, one child trying to run away while I am holding them from behind, one child scowling and looking at their feet and another child, looking back at the rest of us. If you are brave enough to attempt a family portrait, put something strong in that coffee cup….you are going to need it.
4.) The Pantry:
Every family has the cupboard that houses all the snacks. They are not out on display like the fruit bowl, because children will bug relentlessly for a package of cookies, not an apple. For little ones, once they see their older siblings taking delicious, usually forbidden treats from this magical cupboard then it’s game over for mommy. You will resort to insane threats to keep your older children from getting busted by the little ones. Things like, “If they see you, you will lose your electronics FOREVER!” Or, “Honestly I will sell you to a travelling band of gypsies!” This same cupboard brings up the issue of trying to keep snacks available for school lunches. If I didn’t have to buy a steady supply of convenient and school safe snacks for my kids lunches I am pretty sure I would be a millionaire by now. So, I don’t think it’s inappropriate to threaten them within an inch of their lives for constantly ( with ninja like stealth) cleaning those snacks clear out of the pantry. In fact, if it wouldn’t increase our hydro bill I would rig up some electric fencing around the pantry. It’s my only logical solution.
5.) Valentine Cards:
For any parent out there with a school age child, this is one of those things that require very little explanation. I will admit that I am a huge dork when it comes to holidays. I love any excuse to decorate the house and bake themed cupakes (and eat a jar of icing with a spoon while hiding in the laundry room). However, convincing a small child who cannot sit still, to sit still long enough to “help” write out 25 or more Valentine Cards is pretty close to my definition of hell. Also, this year my toddler is experiencing his first Valentine’s Day celebration in nursery school and he is convinced that I am stealing his Hot Wheels Valentines Cards. He simply does not understand that there will be an exchange of cards. He is determined that I am a Valentine stealing monster and I had to hide them. I can’t even utter the words “Valentine’s Cards.” Should be an interesting party…..
6.) Working From Home:
Seems like a great idea doesn’t it? The best of both worlds. Watching your little angels grow while earning an income all snuggled in your cozy home. Bliss. Picture this if you will: You are on a conference call in your home office (kitchen table). You have Treehouse on the television, fishy crackers in a bowl, all the bases covered to keep little ones busy for a few minutes. Then, just as you are about to contribute your brilliant marketing ideas that are sure to take the company to the next level, you look over to the livingroom. Your two year old is standing at the baby gate, naked, holding a poopy diaper. As you watch, completely helpless, that diaper becomes a lariet, being swung around and around while he squeels with glee, spreading the contents as far as the eye can see. And because you must remain professional, there is nothing you can do about it. Not a damn thing. You will simply use your tears to clean up the poop when the call is over. If that doesn’t push you over the brink, check your pulse. It may be too late.
7.) Family Movie Night:
We are all determined when we become parents that we will never yell and we will certainly never tell our children to shut up…I mean what kind of monster would ever do that? Enter Family Movie Night. We go into these evenings with the best of intentions. A lovely evening with our family together all comfy and enjoying a movie together. Sadly there are very few movies out there that will hold the attention of a preschooler for two hours, the baby couldn’t care less and the fidgety eight year old is determined to get his blanket and position just right while chatting incessantly about what just happened in the movie while asking questions about what happened next because he was talking and missed it. The preteen will constantly scowl and hiss angrily at the eight year old for talking, the preschooler will choose that time to fire up his battery operated guitar, and a fight over the blanket will ensue causing the bowl of freshly popped poporn to hit the floor. If at some point in the evening, you do not reach your breaking point and suggest that everyone just shut up and watch the movie, you are a better parent than I.
Try and explain to a toddler that their favorite show is over…..I dare you. I will be especially impressed if you attempt this at 3pm when said toddler has not had a nap.