Becoming a parent is life changing – that is without doubt. But beyond the lack of sleep, numerous nappy changes and constant feeding, there are things that parents find themselves doing that, before children, they would probably never have imagined being part of their day.
We waited five years for our oldest son’s arrival into this world. Now, given the preparation time I had, you would think that I would be more than ready for anything parenting threw at me. How naive! Along the parenting journey, there have been quite a few things that have become second nature that I don’t recall being explained in any of the baby books.
So, here’s my rundown of 11 things that I never imagined doing before I became a parent.
1. Smelling butts
Anyone without a kid may well pull a face when a parent picks up a baby or toddler and jams their nostrils against the butt of that cute little outfit, but us parents know that it’s the quickest way to discover where the heck that stench is coming from. Thumbs up if your nostrils are left fresh as a daisy because then that odour is someone else’s problem. However, if the smell is your responsibility, choosing baby clothing that allows easy access for quick-as-a-flash nappy changes means that you can deal with the odour before your coffee goes cold … again.
2. Smelling … everything!
Don’t you for one second believe that once you have passed the nappy stage that your investigative powers are no longer required when it comes to hunting out foul odours. Did you never think that walking past the bathroom you cleaned an hour ago would make your eyes water? And any mum who says they haven’t done the armpit smell test to determine if their child really has had a shower is lying. And then there’s teenagers … most of the time it’s just a case of shutting the bedroom door and writing off that one room of the house as a lost cause.
3. Carrying a tiny human being
I know what you’re thinking – this is supposed to be about AFTER you become a parent, not the blessed nine months of pregnancy. Oh, but if only the “carrying” stopped when you popped them out, or even when they became self-mobile. Despite your most insistent pleas of “please walk nicely”, you will, over and over again, be lugging your tiny human around, with biceps screaming for a break, because you just really need to get where you are going safely and in this century.
4. Being a packhorse
You would not believe the amount of stuff I could fit into a nappy bag. Totally through necessity of being prepared, of course – the necessity of being prepared for a zombie apocalypse that will take over the world during the fifteen minutes I spend pushing the pushchair to the shops and back, that is. And then when they are no longer babies, we miss the convenience of the pushchair for loading up with shopping bags!
5. Using the term ‘poonami’
Poonami is the term for a diaper explosion that travels all the way up your baby’s back – lovely! Your first poonami will change you as a person. I once had to put my child, fully clothed, into the bath because I just could not deal with “all of that!” The regularity of diaper leakage and other messes means that your baby will be changing wardrobe more times than an Oscar host so be sure to put clothing top of your newborn gift wishlist.
6. Allowing your child to go out wearing “whatever”
Because “pick your battles” is a motto to parent by!
7. Watching Toy Story 38 times
Now, don’t get me wrong – I love Toy Story. I would happily watch it three or four times during my lifetime. But when your child has their favourite movie on repeat, you know the script off by heart and the only song that is ever stuck in your head is “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”, it’s time to step away from the DVD player. In this scenario, you can substitute Toy Story for The Little Mermaid, Frozen, The LEGO Movie, Moana …
8. Retrieving your child from the ballpit
Soft play areas, trampoline parks, and ballpits are built for kids. Kids who get stuck. Kids who need rescuing by their parent. Kids who will shriek louder than an air-raid siren until you squeeze your ass-cheeks through the rollers and lose your socks scaling a cargo net to retrieve them, only to return safely to the cafe area and find someone has eaten your raspberry and white chocolate muffin. I’m just saying.
9. Hiding in the pantry eating snacks
Next time you’re trying to eat a chocolate bar in three mouthfuls with the cupboard door wedged between you and any curious little eyes, just remember all of those times you reminded your child to share their toys … hypocrite! Anyway, sitting in the car for an extra ten minutes after you get home from running an “errand” while leaving your partner with the kids is so much more relaxing for consuming those secret snacks. Ssh, don’t tell!
10. Paying a fortune for teeth
The going rate for the tooth fairy is apparently equivalent to the gold spot price. I eventually reverted to just leaving my Eftpos card under their pillow. And then there’s the teeth that DON’T fall out – the ones that don’t grow straight and have to be lassoed back into position. When your orthodontist refers to your kid’s teeth as “interesting”, run for the hills.
11. Falling completely and utterly in love with your child
Cos seriously – no one is really able to prepare you for that.
Written by Julie Scanlon
Julie is Editor for Kidspot NZ and our MVP. Her hobbies include laughing uncontrollably at her own jokes, annoying her family by asking questions about movie plots, and never taking anything too seriously. She speaks a little Spanish and a lot of Yorkshire.
Favourite motto to live by: “It ain’t nothing but a thing”