Opinions, stories, and warnings from everyone you know (and don’t know) begin flowing in the second people find out you’re going to have your first baby. All parents have gone through it; it’s practically a child rearing initiation to receive an abundance of unsolicited advice that quickly turns into noise. Sometimes it’s helpful and other times it’s annoying, but the sooner you accept that everyone loves talking about their own children and experiences (I mean, check me out with this blog), the sooner you realize how special it is just to be initiated in the club. And having completed my membership’s first year, I can confirm there are two truths in the sea of repetitive remarks.
FIRST TRUTH: Kids are expensive. They sure are! When they’re not sucking your energy, dictating your schedule, or popping up as a factor in every decision you make, they are outgrowing clothes, toys, and gear. My next $200 purchase won’t be a spring wardrobe for yours truly; it will be two car seats for one toddler.
SECOND TRUTH: You’ll be chasing after them once they start walking. Damn right. All I wanted was for my 600 lb baby to retire from my shoulder and learn how to walk so that I wouldn’t need to add Icy Hot to my nightly routine. But I should have listened to the people and saved my shooting star wishes for dreams of upper body strength instead, because now I have a toddler that wants to run in the opposite direction of wherever I am, and would rather fall to the floor than be carried.
But that’s the funny thing about being human. We’re all fools until we know better. We always think we know what we want even when we've warned, laughed at, and advised differently. And having lived through the lessons myself, this is my best initiation for the next prospective parent who thinks everything can be cured with sunshine and kissy faces.
------------------ FEBRUARY 26, 2014 - UPDATE ------------------
There is another totally, unequivocally, true truth that I failed to mention that happens to be the most important one.
THIRD TRUTH: Enjoy it, time flies. Unfortunately this is too true. Every parent knows it feels like "just yesterday" their babies were born. Time likes to play a dirty little trick of speeding up when you become a parent. All the chaos, the sleepless nights, the early mornings, the hand holding, the growth tracking, the counting in months, will all end one day. So enjoy it. Each bratty, loud, messy moment of it. Those kids will become adults overnight and the days of raising them will be replaced with supporting them. And there's nothing you can do it about it except enjoy the ride.