The beginning of parenthood is boring. Not uneventful – lots of shit happens (literally) – but repetitive and monotonous.
It’s hard too, but mostly because it’s new, not because it’s particularly challenging. (Unless your baby has colic, in which case just drop him into a volcano and start over.) You’re tired all the time, you’re stressed all the time, you’re concerned about things you’d never thought about before, etc., but that stuff’s mostly just inconvenient (and being an adult). Of course, when you’re a new parent, you don’t always realize that merely being inconvenienced by your kids is about the best you can hope for.
So your ignorant ass starts anticipating the more interesting stages of your kid’s development, when parenthood will finally be fun! You silly, stupid asshole.
When your kid is a stationary blob of flesh, you can’t wait until he gets over the three-month hump and smiles for the first time and over the ten-to-fourteen month hump (depending on how lazy your child is) and crawls for the first time and over the sixteen-year hump so he can finally drive himself to the store for once!
I’m on the record as being all for my kid growing up and developing and become whoever he’s gonna be. But lately all that development has been a double-edged sword. It’s development hell!
Five Things I Was Desperate For My Son To Do Until He Actually Started Doing Them
- Walk – At first, I just wanted my son to walk so I could tell all my friends how much earlier he started walking than their kids. Then I just wanted to see him figure it out for his own sake. Eventually I just started getting tired of carrying him everywhere. Until he actually started walking. And falling. And bumping into things. And having access to things he didn’t formerly have access too. And running. Dear God, the running. These days I’d totally be happy if he went back to crawling for a little while, at least until he turns five and stops being such an asshole. That happens at five, right?
- Talk – For a while, it was: “What’s his first word going to be!? When will he be able to tell me what he wants? I can’t wait for all the funny things he’s going to say!” Flash forward three years to the flight we took last week… during which Detective Munch talked so incessantly that he might as well have turned into a white noise machine, if white noise kept everyone awake and irritated the shit out of everyone. Ain’t nobody sleeping when a toddler’s got his filibuster on.
- Use the Toilet – By the time the kid turns one, you’ve changed so many diapers that the process barely phases you. But that doesn’t mean you enjoy it. I could be changing 8000 diapers a day for the rest of my life and all it will take is one poop-on-my-hand mishap and I’m getting a vasectomy. NEVER AGAIN. Plus, they’re expensive! So I was eager for my kid to be potty-trained so we’d finally be done with the diapers. Until he really was done with diapers and going to the bathroom stopped being something convenient and mindless and became something you had to stop the car for thirty times every road trip. Suddenly, whenever you leave the house you have to be aware of every public bathroom in the vicinity, because being able to use a toilet doesn’t mean being able to control your bladder. (Or being able to correctly use a toilet, so make sure you have hand sanitizer at all times.) And let me tell you, dirty diapers are a hell of a lot easier to deal with than dirty Underoos.
- Spell – He can’t actually do this yet, but it’s coming. Now, I want him to be smart and to read and keep learning and do well in school and blah blah blah, but I’ve been through enough with the previous three items on this list to know that knowledge is ANNOYING. We have a fair amount of control over our son now – I mean, he’s a threenager, so not a lot of control, but some – but once he can decipher the sophisticated code Mom and Buried and I use (“Isn’t it time for his N-A-P…”) to conceal things from him, the s-h-i-t is gonna hit the fan. We’ll have to resort to Pig Latin or Dothraki or something, and I ain’t got no time for learning new languages. My brain is all full-up with useless fantasy football information!
- Play By Himself It’s a little sad when your toddler starts to assert his independence and wants nothing to do with you. Unless he’s playing by himself. Then it’s amazing… until you haven’t heard from him in a while. My kid already knows that those brief moments of freedom from parental supervision are great times to experiment, which means solo playtime occasionally results in solo hurt-himself time. But whatever, he can keep doing this one all he wants. An occasional injury is a small price to pay for a little peace and quiet.
I feel like such a fool for marking the time until his next milestone. The more my son can (kind of) do, the harder my life gets. Now all I want to do is reverse it all, or at least slow it down! They say TV rots your brain, and that giving kids caffeine stunts their growth, but so far none of that has worked. I’ll let you know for sure in a few months.
Maybe I should give him more GMOs, to speed up his development instead. Because it’s the in-between stage that hurts, when he can technically do things but can’t do them well. Or correctly. Things should be better when he’s older.
Maybe 16? Or 18? Or 21? Maybe 30? Hold on, let me ask my parents when they were finally confident that I knew what I was doing well enough that my independence stopped stressing them out…
Never mind, my dad just started laughing at me. Or is he crying?