Before we had kids, we had dreams. When it came to child-rearing, we all believed right down to our cores that we would never do some things and we would always do others. Then that precious, miraculous little baby arrived and introduced us to meconium. And in an instant, that kid literally and figuratively crapped on our plans. Here are some ridiculous things we all do as parents that you may not have expected pre-kids.
1. Resort to bribery. Maybe you’re the mythical parent who has found a work-around and refuses to do this. Good for you. For the rest of us, sometimes resorting to (or beginning with – depending on the day) bribery is the only way we can accomplish the simplest tasks while keeping our sanity. And judge all you want, but I keep a bag of marshmallows in my purse for those particularly difficult times when I just need them to get in the car already.
2. Cheer for poop. Yeah. This one surprised me, too. Potty training is a wily animal and you learn quickly that #1 and #2 are much easier to clean with a flush than with a mop and a HAZMAT suit. So, yeah, you cheer when your tot soars over ride-on cows or side-steps LEGO towers and makes it to the toilet in time.
3. Kiss a sleeping child through the crib slats. That’s right. At the end of the day you creep in, whisper goodnight to your tiny cherub, and lean in for a kiss. Now, maybe you’re like my 6’2″ husband and leaning over the rail isn’t a problem for you. But for the rest of us with height (or boobs) in the way, we oftentimes resort to an elbow smooch through a 2″ gap. If we’re lucky, we might get the top of the head on occasion.
4. Lie. Now, I don’t mean lie lie. I mean telling the occasional tiny, insignificant fib that really doesn’t matter, but makes all the difference when it comes to balancing the child/adult worlds of parenthood. And anyway, is it really a lie to tell your toddler that Teletubbies is broken from being overwatched? Really?
5. Touch someone else’s boogers (with your bare hands). I won’t lie; this is still gross every time. But what can you do? There isn’t always a wipe handy. Of course, there are also times when you have to pluck it off of your own shoulder after peeling a tot from your hip. And let’s be honest; when you snag a nose goblin that’s been staring at you from your child’s nostril all day, you do feel a small sense of victory.
6. Turn babies into beatboxers. Newborns are sweet and angelic. They’re also more susceptible to the humor of their parents – especially when they’re in an unbelievably deep sleep and won’t wake up for anything. What else can you do? Sometimes, launching their career as a baby beatboxer is the only thing that makes sense. (OK, so maybe not all parents do this, but I bet you want to now, don’t you?)
7. Quote Daniel Tiger. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried explaining the how or why of something to my daughter before giving up and breaking out into song. What starts as, “How do you know you don’t like it? You haven’t even tried it…” quickly turns into, “You gotta try new foods ’cause it might taste good”. All I can say is Mr. Rogers knows what’s up. That little feline even helps me keep my cool when I “feel so mad that I just might roar“.
8. Dance like a fool. You learn quickly that there are very few things you wouldn’t do to get an adorable giggle out of your child. While you may not have thought you could pull off the robot a few years ago, it turns out that the worse your moves are, the better the reaction from your kids. (Disclaimer: this does not apply to tweens and teens as they’re pretty sure everything you have ever done and will ever do is completely lame. But I’ll bet they did laugh when they were 2.)
9. Smell butts. We’ve all done it. And we’ll all continue to do it as long as our kids are in diapers. Maybe you have an impressive technique – one hand behind the knee and a quick upside down twirl to catch a whiff. Maybe you’re the kindhearted soul with a knack for discretion – a loving hug here and a sniff there. Or maybe you’re just too exhausted to do anything besides grab your kid and breathe it in. Either way, sometimes, to find out if your kid is the one with the dirty diaper, smelling a butt is the only way to go.
10. Sing about literally everything. You knew having a baby meant you were becoming a parent, but what you didn’t know was that you were also signing on to be a round-the-clock one-person entertainer. Kids love music. They just do. So, yeah, sometimes we make up terrible songs to keep them laughing, engaged, and happy. Sometimes we do it just to distract them (think diaper changes) and sometimes it’s a fun way to encourage them to do something or to help them learn a new routine. Whether your songwriting skills are stellar or awful, your child probably loves your whacky tunes. (My daughter still randomly sings the potty training jingle I made up over a year ago.)
Have you done some (or all) of these? What ridiculous things do you do as a parent that aren’t mentioned above? We’d love to hear in the comments!