Before Having Kids, I Never Thought I’d…

Griffin with runny nose, Nasa IstraBefore you have kids it’s easy to pass judgement on the parenting of those who do. Although I did learn a few things about what I did and didn’t want to do as a parent by observing my friends-and-relations, you’re just never fully prepared for those odd off moments during the daily grind of parenting when you say or do things that you thought (or swore) you never would. Here’s a random list of mine own.

I NEVER THOUGHT I’D SAY:

  1. Come here for a second, I want to smell your butt. Most parents have done the old sniff test with their diaper-clad kids, but before we had ours I would watch parents pick up their young children and put their noses to their bottoms with something akin to horror. And while yes, I did it, I never understood those parents who would dive in there like they were in a pie-eating contest. Olfactory caca detection requires circumspection and care – if there’s a whopper in there you don’t want to part the Brown Sea with the tip of your nose.
  2. Please don’t wipe your boogers on the car window.ย The smeary, bleary blobs of nose-wax that covered the car window next to our youngest child’s car seat attested to the fact that he found that spot the most convenient for disposing of the gunk he would unearth from the depths of his nostrils. While he no longer finger-paints with mucus on the window he still mines his nose, so I’m not sure where he’s putting his nasal treasures. I’m sure I’ll find out eventually.
  3. Please don’t lick your brother. This one has a number of variations, ‘your brother’ being substituted with ‘the chair,’ ‘the dog,’ ‘that snail,’ just about anything, really. Sharks use their mouths to explore their world since they don’t have hands, much less opposable thumbs, but we humans have a whole battery of sensory tools at our disposal that obviate the necessity of licking stuff.
  4. No more broccoli until you eat some of your hamburger. Early on we struggled to get our oldest son to touch meat, but he’d down raw vegetables like there was no tomorrow. Kids need protein, right? So eat your burger!
  5. Not tonight Honey, I’m too tired. Turning down sex? The thought had never crossed by mind until I’d spent the day wiping stomach-curdled breast milk off my shirt, changing diapers while I dry-heaved into the toilet, doing 300 circuits of the block in a failed bid to get the baby to sleep in the stroller, and attempting to cook dinner with another person strapped to my chest.
  6. Uhmmm, humans mate just like other animals. You know what I mean? I’d always pictured sitting down with my kids and having a frank and open discussion about human sexuality – round about the age of 12. But, as I wrote in a post about getting busted in bed by your kids, when my 3 year-old sprung the question on me I was completely unprepared and wimped out pathetically. I’ll try to be better-rehearsed the next time around.
  7. Shut the fucking window! We were fishing on a lake in Ireland when a downpour erupted. My son runs to the car and gets in, but the window is open. I’m struggling to get the hook out of the throat of a gorgeous little brown trout without injuring it, getting drenched in the process, and he’s yelling from the car, “I’m getting wet!” “Shut the window!” “I’m getting wet!” “Shut the window!” “But I’m getting wet!” “SHUT THE FUCKING WINDOW!” I do my best not to drop f-bombs around the kids, but sometimes, well, they just seem to detonate of their own accord. Apologies.
  8. Don’t you dare throw up in the car! Which was generally followed by, “Are you gonna get sick? Do you need me to pull over? No? You’re okay? All right, if you need to…OH, COME ON!” Ordering your kids not to puke is like willing a volcano not to erupt.

I NEVER THOUGHT I’D:

  1. Eat food that had fallen out of my kid’s mouth. You’ve been there. You wipe the food from the corner of your child’s mouth and, not finding any place to put it, find it more expedient just to eat that half-masticated goo.
  2. Carry around bags of frozen breast milk. When my wife’s nipples were unavailable for duty, I’d have to carry breast milk around for feedings, get cups of hot water at cafes or restaurants, thaw the milk, bottle it, and feed the baby. It got stares. Lots of stares. I was tempted to cut a hole in the breast of one of my old shirts, protrude the bottle’s nipple from it, and let him nurse away. Never worked up the courage, though.
  3. Loan the baby out to single friends. One day when a friend and I were walking down one of Budapest’s most popular pedestrian streets, he noted all of the young women who swooned at the sight of a darling young boy in a Baby Bjorn. “So you think I could, ah, you know, uhm, borrow him some day?” Hey, if it gave me an hour’s break, borrow away my good man. Win-win situation for everyone.
  4. Struggle with my 2nd grader’s homework. Hey, sometimes those instructions are pretty unclear, and I just have to tell him, “Yeah, you know what? I have no idea what they want you to do there. Ask your teacher tomorrow. But…ah…don’t say that you asked me for help, okay?”
  5. Sit around with a group of parents talking about breastfeeding. Or diaper rash. Or potty training. One evening we had dinner with several friends with families, and one single woman. After a good ten minutes of detailed gastrointestinal discussion, while we were eating, I had to apologize to the only non-parent, who looked decidedly uncomfortable. “Do parents always talk about this stuff at the dinner table?” she asked. “No,” I assured her, “sometimes we talk about vomiting as well.”

25 thoughts on “Before Having Kids, I Never Thought I’d…

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  3. Pingback: Before Having Kids, I Never Thought I’d… | The Harried Husband

    • No idea about the licking, but it seems ubiquitous. It’s strange, but our eldest won’t touch fruit for the most part, and our youngest will down a kilo of strawberries at a sitting. I never refuse fruit, even if he demolishes a huge bowl of grapes, for example. Perhaps I should, but it seems to me that if he wants to eat 22 apricots, then by God he should.

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  4. Things we never thought we’d say… “Please don’t lick me when you hug me.” OR “Go back and brush your teeth for real this time. I can still see that booger stuck there.”

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  5. Awesome post! One that every parent can relate to. I often think, “I never thought I’d say that,” about statements like yours. In fact, I know I’ve had to tell my daughter not to lick the dog. I’ve also carried around frozen breast milk and struggled with my kids’ math homework — despite working in accounting!

    Parenting opens up a whole universe you never knew existed, that’s for sure. Thanks for the laugh!

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    • Thanks! I had a feeling this one might be something that most parents could relate to. I love that folks have added their own additions, so check out the other comments if you haven’t already. Just tonight we had another one: “Please don’t play with your penis at the dinner table.” Our 3 year-old had gone to the toilet and come back to the table bare-bottomed, and was doing Elvis gyrations while flopping around his startlingly-erect penis. Granted, the prohibition was given through fits of giggles, but you have to draw the line somewhere.

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  6. OH my goodness. This is SO true and made me literally laugh out loud. ๐Ÿ™‚ Smiles to being parents of small children. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  7. That is just too funny! I never thought I’d pick my child’s nose for him, but when they’re small, sometimes that’s the only way to get those boogers out. Things I never thought I’d say? “If all your friends were jumping off a cliff, would you?” “Because I said so!” “No darling, mama doesn’t need any tampons this week” (this was at the supermarket, and the question was asked in a VERY LOUD VOICE by Miss 2 and “Did you ask him WHY he threw his poo out the window?” Great post as always!

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      • Since you asked…I arrived at daycare one day when my small boys were about three and a half. The daycare staff, to a man (well woman) were white-faced, trembling and looking slightly in shock. The head teacher gasped out “Zac. I need to talk to you about Zac.” As Zac’s capacity for inventive, lateral mischief is off the scales, I trudged out after her. “He threw his poo out the window!” she said. At first, I must admit I was horrified. Then I thought it was kinda funny – I mean poo is often funny, right? Unless it’s been smeared across the walls by an artistic toddler (not mine fortunately this time!). Finally I got to “Did you ask him WHY?” The daycare staff admitted that they were frankly too horrified by the whole situation to even consider such a thing. The words “In my 30 years as a daycare teacher…” may even have formed part of the response. The miscreant was brought in front of us, and I managed to keep the grin off my face as I asked Zac to tell me what he’d been thinking. “Well, Mama,” he said in a very patient voice as he explained his thinking to the imbecilic adults, “cats and dogs do their poo on the ground, and we’re animals like them, so I thought my poo should go on the ground too.” I turned to the teachers and said “Seems logical to me.” I did then explain to Zac that cats and dogs can’t use toilets, and thanked my lucky stars that he hadn’t learnt about google and you tube yet. He’s either going to be a billionaire inventor philanthropist adventurer or in jail. Possibly all of these. The jury is still out.

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  8. One of my favorites: use your thumbs. Why young kids try to walk and balance a plate of food without hooking their thumbs over the edge I will never know.

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    • Too true. We’ve evolved these handy things called thumbs but yes, they seem reluctant to employ them. Our youngest is too busy sucking his – his favored position is right thumb in mouth, right index finger in nose, and left hand down pants fondling himself. Nice.

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    • What is it with the licking? They all seem to do it. I remember being at a friend’s house many years before I had kids, and their 4 year-old son turned to me and said, “I’m gonna lick my chair.” Then he did. Weird.

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  9. I think I love everything you write! Top of the list of things I never thought I’d say – “stop touching your brother’s peepee.” I did not ever expect that to come out of my mouth.

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