It's funny to think of the preconceived notions people have ofthe kind of parents they'll become when they have kids. "I'm alwaysgoing to do this,"or, "I'm never going to do that," is so easy to think -until one of your kids is having a mega meltdown while the other isdumping a bag of flour onto the kitchen floor.
As a childless 20-something, I was the same way whenever I'd seeparents wrangling with their tantrum-y, whiny kids. And I said I'd neverdo certain things, until the kids came along and, well, sometimes youdo what you have to do. Such as ...
Lick your hand and wipe your kid's face: With notissues in sight, you sometimes have to pick between having your kidwalk around the ketchup crusted on his face or you doing the dreadedlick-and-wash technique.
Eat their leftovers: I was a pretty sophisticatedeater pre-kids and certainly enjoyed a meal out. But with kids, I've hadmany a meal consisting of bread crusts, chicken-finger stubs and burntfrench fry tips.
Change a diaper anywhere: You don't always have theluxury of a diaper-changing station, or even something to change yourbaby on, so I've used my lap, a window bench and even the hatchback of acar as changing stations.
Bring them into bathroom with you: Like many (Iassume), I prefer to use the bathroom solo. But two young kids and onlyone parent at a restaurant means six feet occupying one bathroom stall.
Let them watch annoying cartoons: Long airplane ride. Enough said.
Repeat things your own parents said: I bristle atadmitting that I have said, "I'll turn this car around right now, if youdon't stop XYZ [insert "bickering," "being too loud," "sticking yourhands out the window," or any other disruptive backseat behavior].
Randomly break out pictures of kids: I became that person who spontaneously offers to show off a photo of my kids. They're just so cute.
Give them food off the floor: Definitely not withbaby No. 1, but by baby No. 3, if it has fallen on the floor it's stillperfectly edible. Unless the dog has licked it.
Let kids eat chicken fingers every night: Although itonly seems to happen when we're on vacation, there's a mysterious spellcast over parents that results in the answer, "Sure, why not?" to thequestion, "Can we have chicken fingers again for supper?"
After having three kids of my own, I get it. And now, whenever I seeyounger, childless people glancing my way, I just chuckle to myself andthink, "You'll see."
Read More by Jeana Lee Tahnk