By Jeana Lee Tahnk
It's funny to think of the preconceived notions people have of
the kind of parents they'll become when they have kids. "I'm always
going 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 is
dumping a bag of flour onto the kitchen floor.
As a childless 20-something, I was the same way whenever I'd see
parents wrangling with their tantrum-y, whiny kids. And I said I'd never
do certain things, until the kids came along and, well, sometimes you
do what you have to do. Such as ...
Lick your hand and wipe your kid's face: With no
tissues in sight, you sometimes have to pick between having your kid
walk around the ketchup crusted on his face or you doing the dreaded
Eat their leftovers: I was a pretty sophisticated
eater pre-kids and certainly enjoyed a meal out. But with kids, I've had
many a meal consisting of bread crusts, chicken-finger stubs and burnt
french fry tips.
Change a diaper anywhere: You don't always have the
luxury of a diaper-changing station, or even something to change your
baby on, so I've used my lap, a window bench and even the hatchback of a
car as changing stations.
Bring them into bathroom with you: Like many (I
assume), I prefer to use the bathroom solo. But two young kids and only
one 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 at
admitting that I have said, "I'll turn this car around right now, if you
don't stop XYZ [insert "bickering," "being too loud," "sticking your
hands 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 with
baby No. 1, but by baby No. 3, if it has fallen on the floor it's still
perfectly edible. Unless the dog has licked it.
Let kids eat chicken fingers every night: Although it
only seems to happen when we're on vacation, there's a mysterious spell
cast over parents that results in the answer, "Sure, why not?" to the
question, "Can we have chicken fingers again for supper?"
After having three kids of my own, I get it. And now, whenever I see
younger, childless people glancing my way, I just chuckle to myself and
think, "You'll see."
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