Parenting books/blogs/magazines/other parents do NOT adequately prepare you for parenting.
I’m sure they mean well and all, but I personally have not found that they cover the important stuff.
Sure, they’ll talk about feeding schedules and sleep schedules and important milestones (more on that later).
They DON’T cover weird ladies at the library who stick THEIR FINGER IN YOUR BABY’S MOUTH, constant shame and judgment from others (thanks internet!), tandem crying jags, and poop-splosions.
But let’s go back just a minute to those milestones. Naturally those parenting resources cover things like sitting up, sleeping through the night, standing, walking, talking, running a 10 minute mile, and doing the taxes.
These are fine, I suppose. I would like to submit a few additional milestones that are totally underrated and are amazingly awesome.
10. Kid can wipe his/her own butt (bonus points if they actually do a good job!). I’ve read a lot of articles where parents realized they’ve done something for the last time. I am 100% ok with no longer hearing ‘Moooom! Come wipe my buuuuuttttttt.’
9. While we’re on the subject of pooping (always a parental favorite), that milestone where your kids are no longer interested in watching you poop. With a 7 and 10 year old (2 separate kids, not some mutant who spans three years), we have MOSTLY met this one. I say mostly because while they no longer want to watch me poop, they also figure that if I’m in there they have a captive audience and should absolutely come interrupt to ask me things that can ABSOLUTELY WAIT UNTIL I AM DONE.
8. The ability to blow their nose. Sure, the boogie-sucker is great, if you like wrestling alligators who are hopped up on espresso and amphetamines. Arguably the nose-blowing is only marginally better – but its worth appreciating.
7. Graduating to a booster seat. Now, I am not advocating that you graduate your kid early, but when the time comes, its great. You tell them to get in the car, and they go get in the car (actual results may vary). I know the 5 point harness is a wonderful safety feature, and I am glad they exist. I’m also glad we don’t own one anymore.
6. Reaching stuff. Specifically light switches, cups, and milk. Also the silverware drawer. There is something very satisfying about saying ‘just go get it.’
5. Being old enough to watch cool movies. I like a good Barbie movie as much as the next person (which is to say, I can watch without wanting to remove my eyeballs with a corkscrew). We are reaching the age when we are introducing Star Wars, Indiana Jones, the Goonies, the Princess Bride, and other cool stuff. Afterwards we have fun family conversations about why they don’t like them enough. Good times.
4. On the subject of movies – the ability to operate all of the electronic equipment in the house. We had a friend of ours watch the kids one night who doesn’t do technology much. She commented that we would have to teach her how to run the TV (and Fire Stick, PlayStation VUE, and Netflix). We laughed and laughed and laughed and told her the kids were probably better at it than we were. On weekends they can get up and go ‘watch shows’ and WE CAN SLEEP MORE.
3. Going to bed. I can tell my kids to go brush their teeth, put their jammies on, and go to bed. AND THEY DO IT. Mostly. But still, they do it! Its amazing.
2. Cheap labor. Now, I don’t know about the division of labor in your household – and I figure you’ve got a system that works for you. At our house we have standard chores (the kids do their own laundry, pick up their bedrooms, clean their own bathroom, and pick up the dog poop), and extra chores. Extra chores get you cash. My kids will cheerfully weed the garden for a crisp green dollar all their own. They are both learning the value of money as they are saving up for cool stuff they want – and I don’t like weeding. Win-win.
1. I can’t really overstate this one. Its number one for a reason. Are you ready?
Able to apply own sunscreen.
THIS IS MY FAVORITE THING IN THE WHOLE WORLD. It is not really a secret that I have not been the world’s most diligent applier of sunscreen on my own body. I have skin that does not burn easily and have always hated sunscreen. I fully understand that this is terrible reasoning and I have likely done unspeakable damage to my skin. So, now I try to be better about the stuff. I have always been good about applying it to my kids (and husband, who I think can get sunburn from strong fluorescent lighting). I still HATE THE STUFF. Its greasy and gross and since its waterproof its impossible to wash off your hands! The spray stuff helps a bit, but still hitting everyone up with the sunscreen also takes forever. Kids want to play outside? Gotta stop what you are doing and lube them up. Going to the pool, not yet you aren’t!
I’m sure there will be more. Like when they are old enough to stop worrying about swearing in front of them. Looking forward to that. Old enough to run to the store for me or reshingle the roof.
So enjoy your potty-training and first words, but don’t forget all the other awesome stuff along the way.
Like and share and stuff.
And put your sunscreen on. yourself – don’t ask me.