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I’ve been raising one kid who is now 14.  Her situation, from day one, is unlike any other.  Our situation can’t be compared to raising Cora or compared to someone else in her classroom.  It is our own and different, I’ve accepted that.  I can tell you, starting all over from the beginning with this little one, I still don’t know shit. But I feel like I can look back and tell you a few things I’ve learned.

Sometimes my mama gut is dead on but 75% of the time it isn’t.  I don’t think mine works right.  I swear maybe the baby has an ear infection and I drag her to the doctors for them to tell me she is fine.  I’ve heard the Mom stories were their mama gut just saved their child’s life…meanwhile mine is over there licking the window and I have zero clue why.

I can’t buy baby crap online.  I’m certainly a walk in the store and stare at the packaging type of person.  I mean, I can manage buying diapers on Amazon and her pajamas, that I know we love, but that is about it.  Plus, then I start reading reviews and clicking on more options and then I’m more confused than ever.

Speaking of being confused, I have learned researching can make you crawl in a hole.  I was good about not Googling much when I was pregnant and just going with the flow.  I’ve tried to do that since she has been born but there are just some things you have to go to the internet for.  When should they start eating jar food/solid food, when do most drop to one nap a day, how to get rid of night bottles, how to get your child to fucking sleep through the night already, etc.  And you know what, it doesn’t matter what the internet says.  None of it.  Don’t even go to Barnes & Noble for the book.  Your kid will do that shit when they are ready.  Sure, the internet can give you ideas that you can try but your kid will sleep when they damn well please and eat real food when they want to, not when you are jumping around like a damn monkey making airplane noises.

Be prepared for anything.  There is a reason Mom’s have endless shit in their purses.  It is because they have been there.  Inevitably you will walk into a nice restaurant, on time for your reservation, with your 6 month old in an adorable dress, who will then choose that moment to have a monster, blow out, shit, in the car seat.  At least it isn’t in your arms.  You calmly resign to the bathroom and start where you can, with loads of wipes, while your family is being seated and your Husband orders you large alcoholic drinks. But it is okay because you packed the bag with a back-up cute dress, plastic bag for the poop dress, loads of wipes and an extra swaddle blanket to lay in the now disgusting car seat.  You walk to your seat with swagger because you just managed that shit (literally) and just pray that there isn’t a second blow-out…because you aren’t prepared for that.

I have learned people are going to judge you and you have to not care.  When your baby is climbing out of the shopping cart at Target, while you are checking out, and that bitch lady behind you is wondering why you can’t watch your child better, you ignore it. Because she doesn’t get that seatbelt doesn’t mean crap on that shopping cart and you have stopped short of actually purchasing duct tape to get her ass to stay put while you try to dig through clearance.

I have learned that when you ask others for parenting advice or their way of doing something with their child, listen.  Ask questions if need be. Then take that info and use it if you need to or don’t.  Realize that every family has different needs, lifestyles and goals.  What worked for their family may not work for yours.  Just because they love that car seat, you may not.

I have also come to realize I’m incredibly uncomfortable with my pediatrician saying Cora is developmentally ahead.  She has said this from the time she was born and I looked around at the other babies, lying there, shitting themselves, wondering how the hell my kid is different.  I see it now but don’t fully get it when every kid develops differently.  What difference does it make?  If she is so ahead of the game why did it take her 14 months to figure out that most people like to sleep through the night?  I mentioned to her pediatrician that Cora has gone after the dogs butthole to well, plug it with her own damn finger.  How smart can she be?  Smart enough to plug it on the first try, was her answer to me.  Gross. I’ll put that on her preschool application then.

Sippy cups.  I have never struggled buying something for my child more than a sippy cup.  Should be simple.  I heard horror stories of bottles but we didn’t have that problem.  Liked the first one we gave her.  But there I stand in front of sippy cups of varying degrees.  There are about 1800 stages for each type of cups and then there are sub types and age types and then I’m left looking for a life vest.  We have a cupboard full of ones she has tried and discarded.  Only one type she will use for milk, one sippy for water and one kind with a straw.  The rest are collecting dust and my lost patience.  And if we have another kid, that kid will surely want the exact opposite.

I give up on finding a mommy group.  I don’t want to be in one.  I have friends. Some with kids, some with none.  Making new friends as adults is tough enough.  It is made tougher when you are worried about your kid licking their kid or vice versa. Then you have to ask if their kid has had their rabies shot and then you fall in a rabbit hole of political talk.  Hell, I don’t even like some of my friends’ kids so lets just cut our losses and move on.

What are some of the best things you have learned as a parent?