Sorry, Sam, your partner in family-writing crime heartily disagrees with you.
Photo by: Thomas Hawk
Last week, Sam Davies wrote about all the awesome fun things about having kids. This week, I’m here to rain all over Sam’s parade.
Look, I wanted a kid. Badly. Like, crazy-badly. I love having a kid now, too. Like, crazy-muchly. It is immensely fulfilling for me as a person. I love it. It’s like diving into a huge vat of Mrs. Yoder’s doughnuts every morning when I peek into her room and hear her happily chirping to her bunnies about how she’s going to go outside today and throw a ball to the dogs. There is no greater joy. Honestly, if someone left me a whole basket of babies on my doorstep, I’d be OK with that. Slightly panicky and concerned, but ultimately OK.
But having said that, it doesn’t mean there aren’t things that are…a little more complicated with tiny people involved. Particularly when these tiny people have very big feelings.
Take going out for popsicles. I remember the naive Hayley who, blissfully ignorant of the cold hard truth about popsicles, decided that a Sunday afternoon outing to get popsicles would be the perfect way to top off the weekend. Oh, sweet Hayley. How did you not know? Popsicles are cold, and holding them is hard for tiny hands, and that’s how my child ended up being the child wailing about being given a popsicle at King of Pops.
Because the popsicle was cold.
To parent a toddler, you can’t just be a regular old adult. You have to be tricksy. You have to be wiley. You have to be sneaky-smart. You have to see the future for what it could be, not what you imagine it might be.
Say you’re thinking of going to the playground.
‘What a grand holiday we’ll have!’ you might say, if you are slowly morphing into the kind of person who says ‘holiday’ because Peppa Pig has invaded your home.
ALERT: It will not be a grand holiday! ABANDON ALL HOPE, YE WHO THINK OTHERWISE. There will be swarms of people, and if you’re an introvert, this will cause your soul to slowly shrink until you are a shell of a person, wandering around after your child, the sun beating down on the back of your neck because you forgot to slather yourself with sunblock when you slathered your child. The shrieks of children are not joyful, they are the shrieks of a thousand carrion.
Miiiight I suggest the botanical garden instead? They have chalk, and flowers, and turtles, and blocks made of wood, and not a swing or slide in sight. It is heaven, if you’re like me and require a little bit of space and quiet. The park is a lie!
Slowly, I’m learning that my expectations of certain activities might not align with them in reality. And it’s OK. I’m also learning how to adapt. Popsicles are a layer of Dante’s hell? Alrighty then! We will vacate the patio and eat popsicles some other way. The park is too insane? No problem, we’ll have a different sort of holiday with more flowers and fewer falls from tall metal climbing structures.
So maybe don’t abandon all hope, ye who venture out with toddlers. Adjust that hope, instead.
Hope for the best, expect the worst.
Wait, no, that’s not quite as grim as I wanted to get.
Hope for the best, adjust accordingly!
There. I think that covers it nicely.
It’s all gonna be OK, y’all.