You know that saying, “Little people, little problems?”
We’ve all heard it.
I think it sucks.
The general sentiment is that most of the issues that parents of young kids, toddlers and babies have to deal with – issues with sleep, food, whining, discipline, etc. – aren’t really all that important in the grand scheme of things because (here it comes… ) “JUST WAIT, the issues get so much worse when the kids get older!”
Well, just like I said in my Just Wait column, I know this is true. Of course, drinking and texting and sexting, all while driving, are much more important issues than the fact that the Nibbit mimics everything everybody in this house says all day long. I get that. But right now, I have to live with the Nibbit and the fact that those bigger issues await doesn’t make the mimicry ANY LESS ANNOYING.
Going hand in hand with this idea is the pressure that we’re not supposed to wish this time away (as in, “Dear God, please let this day/month/phase end quickly”) because we should be cherishing every moment of time when our kids are so young and precious. Blech.
I would write a column on how this, too, is BS except
my dear friend the fantastic writer Glennon Melton, already wrote it so much better than I ever could have in this essay, Don’t Carpe Diem.
Go ahead and read that now.
I was thinking yesterday that the reason why it can be so hard to cherish every minute is because my kids are SO SO needy. Literally. They CONSTANTLY. NEED. HELP. MY help. And that can make the days exhausting instead of… well, cherishable.
Oh sure, I know what the old lady on the street would say:
“Enjoy it, dear. [Because old ladies always say dear.] Someday your kids won’t need you at all and you’ll miss these days.”
That may be true. The grass is always greener and all that. But when that future day arrives, I’m going to desperately try to remember the fact that being SO needed wasn’t always SO awesome.
So, here’s my goal: I am going to be a different kind of old lady. I’m going to be the old lady on the street who sees the mom struggling to get her infant to stop screaming while preventing her toddler from running out into traffic and I’m going to say this:
“I remember those days, dear… they were long and exhausting. Hang in there; it gets better.
“It’s true, you worry more when they get older, but they also become people who are independent and good at conversation and able to wipe their own asses. Ah, that’s a good day – the day you can stop wiping your kids’ butts.
“Mark my words. Your kids will ultimately become responsible for their own lives and you can just sit back and support them in every way you know how.
“Sure, you may wish they needed you a little more, but I promise you, you will not miss the never-ending requests for help for every single tiny thing they need to do over the course of the day.**
“You will not miss the inability to go anywhere or do anything without several little people clinging – physically and emotionally – to your every move.
“You may miss the noise, but then you will remember that a lot of that noise was grating – the whining, fighting, screaming…ugh – and you will enjoy your quiet.
“Oh, and you will definitely not miss peeing with an audience.
“Like I said, hang in there; it only gets better.”
Wouldn’t that be great to hear when you’re diaper-deep in sleepless nights or Tortuous Threes Hell? Wouldn’t it be nice to be reminded that some day your kids will be human? They may be sullen, bitchy, hormonal, disrespectful and rude, but at least you will be able to live an entire day without doling out threats of time-outs and “Don’t make me count to three…”
I think I would enjoy hearing someone tell me that it only gets better.
Hearing that may EVEN make me enjoy today a little bit more.
**JUST IN CASE I forget what the endless requests for help sounded like, I’m going to document them right here. Note to future self: read them in a really whiney voice for full effect.
Maaaamaaaaa? Can you help me…
… take my pajamas off?
… put my underwear on?
… put my shirt on? (NO! I can do the pants myself!!)
… stretch this dress?
… cut off these sleeves?
… put these socks on? (THESE SOCKS ARE NOT RIGHT!)
… put these new socks on?
… put these other new socks on?
… comb my hair?
… pour my cereal?
… pour my milk?
… pour my juice?
… clean up this cereal/milk/juice that I just spilled all over the floor? (I NEED A HUG.)
… blow my nose?
… set up the Memory game?
… build a tower?
… put the Cars movie on?
… turn the volume of the Cars movie up?
… change this movie because we saw Cars 132 times this weekend?
… get to the school’s website?
… stop this thing from doing that? I don’t know what’s happening! (Well, I think you accidentally downloaded something inappropriate.)
… clean my face?
… put on my shoes?
… make my lunch? (EW, I don’t want yogurt. You asked me last night if you could have yogurt today. Well, I changed my mind while I was dreaming. Now I want a samich.)
… put my coat on?
… put my hat on?
… put my mittens on? (Effing mittens. We struggle to get six mittens on every morning. And only 3-5 of them make it back home at the end of the day. I should buy stock in Mittens.)
… take my pants off so I can go potty? (BY MYSELF! Hallelujah.)
… put all my clothes back on?
… get into my car seat?
… buckle my car seat?
… put the music on? (Not this song, I HATE this song. You loved this song yesterday. Well, I changed my mind when I heard another song in my dreams.)
… get a snack?
… read this thing?
… understand this thing?
… carry this thing?
… write the letter N because that’s a weally, weally hard one?
… prepare ALL of my meals, EVERY SINGLE DAY of my life?
… cut my meat?
… scoop this pasta?
… blow on this hot food? (You’re kidding, right? No, it’s too hot for me to put my mouth near it.)
… open this?
… close this?
… lock this?
… change the batteries on this?
… get that toy from [my sibling] because he/she took it and I want it?
… yell at [my sibling] because he/she did [xyz thing that I did NOT like] and he/she should be in trouble?
… wash my body?
… wash my hair?
… brush my teeth? (I do it! I do it! You have to brush, not just eat the toothpaste.)
… check for monsters under my bed? And in my closet? And in the hallway? And everywhere else in the world?
… fall back asleep because I had a bad dream?
… tuck me back in because I had to pee?
… get back in my bed?
… get back in my bed?
… get back in my bed?
Can I have a hug?