This is what I was doing 8 years ago today:
My first-born funny guy Keegan was born. Also known as “The Day I Realized I Had No Idea What I Was Doing.”
I thought about getting sappy and sentimental for this post. But then I remembered who we’re talking about. Keegan is one of the funniest people I know. So today, on his 8th birthday, I decided to simply write about a few of the lessons I have learned since becoming a Mom. (Because I still think we learn more from our kids than they learn from us.)
Lesson #1: The baby seems huge when he’s in your belly and pressing on your bladder and kicking your insides. He seems tiny when he’s finally there, in your arms, too small for a newborn diaper. And if you think the cute little hat is going to fit perfectly on his cute little head, you’re wrong.
Lesson #2: On your child’s first day of daycare, you will feel a tremendous amount of mixed emotions. You may feel happy to get back to the working world, among adults, talking about things other than poop and spit-up…
Or…you may feel sad about leaving your baby with someone else. After all, you are the one that knows how to do it best, right?
(But, you will learn that if you find the right place, other people are pretty darn good at taking care of your baby, too.)
Lesson #3: The shirt says it all.
Lesson #4: They will learn technology faster than you ever did, and will most likely teach you a thing or two over the years.
Lesson #5: It’s so much more fun when your child is at the age where you pick their Halloween costume for them because they can’t voice their opinions on things like that yet.
Lesson #6: When they ARE old enough to pick their Halloween costumes, it might start to feel a bit…repetitive. But you let them pick anyway, because you have a vague memory of being a kid and didn’t you want to pick out your Halloween costumes yourself, regardless of whether your Mom said, “Really? Are you sure? Again?” (Read: I was a “punk rocker” 3 years in a row.)
Lesson #7: Your child may do naughty things in preschool, like “build a sandcastle in the toilet.” You tell them “we don’t build sandcastles in the toilet”…and you go straight to the grocery store after work and buy their teacher one of those “I’m really sorry you had to scoop sand out of the toilet” bottles of wine.
Lesson #8: If you leave things like pads in a place where they can reach them…they will reach them and use them for pretend play.
Lesson #9: The concept of squeezing toothpaste out of a tube onto a toothbrush seems simple to you, and you may think this simplicity is universal to all human beings. It’s not. Get used to finding it in odd places. Don’t ask “How in the world did you get toothpaste there?” because the answer will always, always be “I don’t know.”
Lesson #10: When you tell your kid “If you mow the lawn, you can play the Wii,” and he says “but I don’t know how to run the lawn mower,” and you say “not my problem”…he may just use his resources (kid scissors) and find a way. In his pajamas. (This is all hypothetical, of course.)
Lesson #11: You will look at your child and think “he is just the cutest, most precious kid in the whole world”…and then he might do something like stick his hands down the back of his pants to scratch his butt, pull them out and say “Smell my hands! They smell like apples!” But he will give you that smile…and you will still think he is the cutest kid in the whole world. With a butt that smells like apples.
Lesson #12: Sometimes, your kid will be so tired that he may fall asleep while in a time-out. And then you realize his exhaustion might explain the behavior that got him into the time-out in the first place.
Lesson #13: Your first-born child’s first day of Kindergarten is a happy, exciting day for him. You, however, might find yourself on an emotional roller coaster and crying the whole way to work. That’s normal. (Right?)
Lesson #14: When they learn how to write on their own, you may find unexpected notes around the house. These notes will always make you smile, even if their reason for writing the note did not.
Lesson #15: Your child may not always behave appropriately while out in public. He may blurt out “Mom! I forgot to put on underwear today!” He may yell “DON’T FORGET YOU SAID YOU NEED TO BUY BEER!” He may pull tampons out of your purse and yell “What are these?” He may find a place to just lay down and relax in the middle of a shopping trip, claiming that his “legs are too tired,” even though these same legs were running the opposite direction from you 3 minutes earlier. My advice? Yeah. I have zero advice in this department. You just get through it and hope to make it home in one piece. And always remember the beer.
Lesson #16: Boys are…boys. You will find yourself saying things you never thought you would. Things that would not be considered socially acceptable anywhere except…well…anywhere. Like “please get your underwear off your head” or “please get your sock off your penis” or “YES, you have to wash your hands even if you only went pee” or “the toilet paper is not a basketball and the toilet lid is not a backboard” or “did you really just wipe your nose on the couch?” or “why is my slipper in the toilet?” or “is that a rock or a turd on my carpet?” or “yes, your brother can play with your balls.” (If you have said any of the above…I think we would get along wonderfully.)
Lesson #17: Your child may get in trouble in school for saying things like “I have to wear these frickin‘ shoes every day!” You apologize to the teacher, you tell your child to not say “frickin,” even if he hears you say it, and you thank your frickin’ stars he didn’t drop the real F-bomb. Your child may also get in trouble in school for writing something that he truly thought was a good answer. (And you might think so, too.) Don’t make a big fuss. I don’t think grades from 1st grade count towards college transcripts.
Lesson #18: You may have another child, and your first-born will surprise you with his love and affection toward his sibling. He may read to him.
And he may try holding his hand.
Or eating his hand.
And even if the younger brother resists, your first-born will keep surprising you by never giving up.
Lesson #19: Children give really good advice.
Lesson #20: Your child will also become your friend.