Today I’ve been thinking about how much my life has changed since my son was born. I have learned so much, felt a depth of love and self-doubt and sadness and elation that was hitherto unknown, sometimes all in the same day! I left behind one identity and put on another, indeed you could say when Thomas was born my old life ended and a new one began. This is a topic that deserves a more detailed and thoughtful post another time but I thought it might be fun to list today some of the things I learned in the first ten years of my son’s life.
- Year One: Babies can produce poo in such volume that it can reach from their little bottoms right up to their neck if they wriggle hard enough. If you have to go out, you can be sure that’s when they will produce the most deadly poop. Always have a change of outfit on hand.
- Year Two: A crawling infant or tottering toddler will instinctively make a beeline for the most precious and/or fragile item when you visit someone else’s house. You will react with a speed and catlike reflex you did not know you possessed in your desperate race to reach that item first.
- Year Three: If there is any way to embarrass you in public, your child will find it. Be that a noise, smell, bodily function, loudly pronounced question about someone’s weight or appearance, a tantrum or an accident, they will find a way to make each trip out an exercise in social awkwardness and anxious anticipation. If you are so embarrassed you have to leave the shop/cafe/library/public place of your choice, they get double points. Be prepared to leave your dignity at the door and embrace a life of carefree abandon because not caring is the only way to go if you wish to retain your sanity.
- Year Four: Bubbles are magic. Anything can be improved with bubbles: baths, parties, picnics, visits to relatives. Waiting and not being the centre of attention is boring, bubbles are not boring. If you have to go somewhere and you can get away with blowing bubbles, take a bubble wand in a plastic, sealed bag. You won’t regret it. However, bubbles that are overused become too foamy and stop producing good bubbles; you have to use them sparingly if you don’t want to cause a tantrum. Bubble wands are a double edged sword.
- Year Five: Schools are a breeding ground for germs. Your child will come home with a cold and you will catch the cold. Your partner, if you have one, will catch the cold. The grandparents will catch it. Your other children will catch it. Everyone you know will catch it. Your child is patient zero and will regularly prove the maxim that sharing is caring. Whatever delightful bug your child catches, you can expect to feel its effects taking hold about four days later. Don’t think you can escape, you won’t. You never do. Enjoy!
- Year Six: Every single children’s toy seems to need exactly one more battery than you have in the house or you will have the wrong size. When replaced, the batteries will last about a day. Thanks to improved safety standards, modern battery plates are screwed down. You will spend your life trying to find a suitably sized screwdriver, unscrewing and losing the tiny screws, replacing batteries and buying new ones.
- Year Seven: Schools have way more “participation” events than I remember from my school days. There is a lot of dressing up, costume creating, material producing and fund contributing. And there are a lot of permission forms to complete. There are a lot of charity days and non-school uniform days and you will never have the thing you need for the costume you want. Time to get creative!
- Year Eight: Children do not like getting rid of toys. If you wish to create space for more toys, you will have to smuggle the old toys out while your child is at school. If your child finds the toys in the charity bag before you can get them out of the house, God help you. Every time a toy can’t be found thereafter, you will be accused of giving it to charity. Every time. You toy thief!
- Year Nine: Halloween is fun, Halloween treats are awesome. Halloween treats are supposed to be shovelled into one’s mouth and completely eaten up before bedtime. It’s logical; the day after is not Halloween, therefore Halloween sweets must be eaten before Halloween ends. You can’t argue with a child’s logic when it actually makes sense.
- Year Ten: Puberty is a matter of pride. Growing hairs is a matter of pride. Your son may possibly invite you to take a look at his hairy legs every bedtime for a month as they start to come through. Just possibly.
Public domain photo by Karanja at Pixabay.com