Sunday, February 23, 2014
The things they never tell you
One afternoon, when Big One was still Only One, my husband and I were walking through the Sainsbury's car park, amazed that Only One had managed to chew off her shoes and socks three times while in the supermarket. 'The things they never tell you,' he laughed.
I had a flash of genuine insight. They don't happen often, but oh, when they do... 'They do tell us,' I replied. 'We just ignore it because never think it will happen to us.' Our little angels won't throw temper tantrums. We would never bribe our children with sweets. I would never leave the house without extra nappies or with a spit-up stain on my shoulder. We are logical, reasonable and organized people – beyond such travails.
I will now reveal my top six truths about life with kids that, if you have children, you will recognize. If you have yet to take the plunge, you will (as I did) assert that these things will never, ever happen to you. And I will laugh like Dr. Evil when they do. Because they will.
If you are expecting, or hoping to be expecting, buy a washer, dryer and stock in Procter & Gamble (Ariel and Fairy), Unilever (Persil) or whichever company markets your favourite detergent. And whichever companies provide your water and electricity. When I was single, I did laundry once a week. Or so. Now it’s once day. At least. It is amazing how much washing such little people can create.
It will take you, on average, a half-hour to leave the house. And that’s on a super-efficient day. The nappy bag must be packed, the baby fed, burped, changed and clothed. The day that you are in a hurry and decide to risk it by only taking one change of clothes will be the day that your baby spits up three times. You will then have to either buy something new if you are near a shop that sells baby clothes; if not you must decide which outfit is the least vile and smelly or let them hang out in just their nappy.
BC (before children) I would see parents out with their offspring at restaurants, in supermarkets, on airplanes. If the children went into tantrum mode, I would get annoyed, shake my head and wonder why these parents couldn't make their children behave. Now when my children act up, I get annoyed at the people who shake their heads and wonder why I can’t make my children behave.
There will be at least one woman in your circle of friends, perhaps one who had their baby at the same time as you did, with a flat stomach. They will swear it’s breastfeeding and nothing else. You will look down at your own belly pudge and decide that the stomach in question is flat due to a combination of 1. Never eating, 2. Impossible amounts of exercise, 3. Santeria voodoo and offerings to Oblia the goddess of tight abdomens, 4. Surrogacy.
From the time your first little miracle comes home from the hospital until your last little one becomes a teenager (I hope), you will have a maximum of 88 seconds alone in the toilet. They will pounce like pygmy owls around a helpless mouse if they sense that you want, or need, to be alone.
You will rarely raise your voice to your children. On one of the very few occasions that you express frustration you will turn around to see your boss standing right behind you. And his wife.