Ten Things I Learned During My Year With Three Children Under 3

1.) There are an awful lot of things no one tells you about when you sign up for parenthood. In particular, the Personality Change Boot Camp that parents experience while their delightful little creatures are living under their roof. Personality traits that I’ve always considered central to my identity have been pruned away (more like ripped away), including being in control, planning ahead, being on time, and being educated enough about any topic to have an intelligent conversation. Oh, did I mention being in control? Before children, I assumed they would add all kinds of wonderful things to my life. Love, laughter, joy, fulfillment. They have indeed, but they’ve also stripped away the essence of who I was before, jumbled it all up, and are sorting it out into something new. Like one of those multi-sided puzzles that had a picture of a cat before, and now the blocks have been turned around to show an octopus. It’s a little disconcerting to find out that I’m an octopus when I always thought of myself as a cat. (On the other hand, eight arms are quite handy for all the multitasking required!) And while I’m trying to figure out who I am, my kids are constantly evolving and changing who they are too. Where have the babies gone? And who are these independent-minded, sticky-faced toddlers who push away hugs and kisses, and whose favorite new phrase is “stinky butt?”  Although it’s painful and takes a ton of energy, I know the pruning is necessary, and the mother emerging is stronger, wiser, and more assertive than the cat who lived here before. Who knew that adults could learn something from children?

2.) There absolutely is a Murphy’s Law and Murphy is always listening.

3.) If anyone is going to have a poopy blowout, it will happen while you’re rushing everyone into the car because you’re already late.

4.) Three siblings left unattended WILL try to kill each other, and if they don’t succeed, their mother may. The reason we don’t remember much of our toddler life is because there are so many close calls with manslaughter.

5.) Someone else’s food/toy/book/crayon is always better than our own, even if it’s exactly the same.

6.) An adult body really can survive on a diet of coffee, chocolate, and wine, and only 4 hours of sleep every night. Survive. I said nothing about sanity.

7.) Microwave mac & cheese will quickly slay the beast inside hungry children, tastes just as good as out of the box, and is ambrosia to hungry moms too. (Along with Goldfish crackers dug out of carseat crevices. We don’t touch the ones on the floor though.)

8.) Children are smarter and faster than their parents. Never assume you’ve figured your children out. If you do, the reward chart or discipline technique that has been golden for so many months is guaranteed to fail tomorrow.

9.) Parenthood would be so much easier if someone would install a cow, a banana tree, and a McDonald’s drive-through in every backyard.

10.) Parenthood is the hardest, most life-changing, and most rewarding job in the world. It demands all of you, but it gives you more than yourself in return. It’s beautiful. It’s gut-wrenching. It’ll make you laugh and it will definitely make you cry. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I say this every night at bedtime. 😉

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Barbara Techel
    May 21, 2010 @ 08:17:53

    CONGRATULAITONS on your blog! I have no doubt you will have many followers. Your sense of humor in raising your three kiddos is such a joy to read about.
    My best to you as you embark on your blog… which who knows… could lead to a book someday!

    Barbara Techel
    Award winning author of the Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Dog Book Series
    My passion is bringing a positive face and voice to animals with disabilities
    Frankie is Wisconsin Pet Hall of Fame Companion Dog


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