Dad and Buried could not WAIT for his young son to be able to do certain things. Until he did them. Now we have a desperate dad wanting to turn back time.
The beginning of parenthood is boring. Not uneventful – lots of shit happens (literally) – but repetitive and monotonous.
It’s hard too, but mostly because it’s new, not because it’s particularly challenging. (Unless your baby has colic, in which case just drop him into a volcano and start over.) You’re tired all the time, you’re stressed all the time, you’re concerned about things you’d never thought about before, etc., but that stuffs mostly just inconvenient (and being an adult). Of course, when you’re a new parent, you don’t always realize that merely being inconvenienced by your kids is about the best you can hope for.
So your ignorance starts anticipating the more interesting stages of parenthood, when things will be fun! Stupid.
When your kid is a stationary blob of flesh, you can’t wait until he gets over the three-month hump and smiles for the first time and over the ten-to-fourteen month hump (depending on how lazy your child is) and crawls for the first time and over the sixteen year hump so he can finally drive himself to the store for once jesus get off me and get me some chips while you’re out!
I’m on the record as being all for my kid growing up and developing and become whoever he’s gonna be. Lately all that development has been a double-edged sword.
Five Things I Was Desperate For My Son To Do Until He Actually Started Doing Them:
Walk — At first, I just wanted my son to walk so I could tell all my friends how much earlier he started walking than their kids (INYOURFACE!). Then I just wanted to see him figure it out, for his own sake. Eventually I just started getting tired of carrying him everywhere. Until he actually started walking. And falling. And bumping into things. And having access to things he didn’t formerly have access too. And running. Dear God, the running. These days I’d totally be happy if he wanted to go back to crawling for a little while, at least until he turns five and stops being such an asshole. That happens at five, right?
Talk –– For a while, it was: “What’s his first word going to be!? When will he be able to tell me what he wants? I can’t wait for all the funny things he’s going to say!” Flash forward three years, to the flight we took last week… during which Detective Munch talked so incessantly that he might as well have turned into a white noise machine, if white noise irritated the shit out of everyone and kept everyone awake and could be used to torture prisoners. Ain’t nobody sleeping when a toddler’s got his filibuster on.
Use the Toilet — By the time the kid turns one, you’ve changed so many diapers that the process barely phases you. But that doesn’t mean you enjoy it. I could be changing 8000 diapers a day for the rest of my life and all it will take is one poop-on-my-hand mishap and I’m getting a vasectomy. NEVER AGAIN. Plus, they’re expensive! So I was eager for my kid to be potty-trained so we’d finally be done with the diapers. Until he really was done with diapers and going to the bathroom stopped being something convenient and mindless and became something you had to stop the car for thirty times each road trip. Suddenly, whenever you leave the house you have to be aware of every public bathroom in the vicinity, because being able to use a toilet doesn’t mean being able to control your bladder. (Or being able to correctly use a toilet, so make sure you have hand sanitizer at all times.) And let me tell you, dirty diapers are a hell of a lot easier to deal with than dirty Underoos.
Spell — He can’t actually do this yet, but it’s coming. Now, I want him to be smart and to read and keep learning and do well in school and blah blah blah, but I’ve been through enough with the previous three items on this list to know that knowledge is ANNOYING. We have a fair amount of control over our son now – I mean, he’s a threenager, so not a lot of control, but some – but once he can decipher the sophisticated code Mom and Buried and I use (“Isn’t it time for his N-A-P…”) to conceal things from him, the s-h-i-t is gonna hit the fan. We’ll have to resort to Pig Latin or Dothraki or something, and I ain’t got no time for learning new languages. My brain is all full-up with fantasy football information!
Play By Himself — It’s a little sad when your toddler starts to assert his independence and, at times, wants nothing to do with you. But playing by himself is NOT one of those times. This is actually amazing! Until you haven’t heard from him in a while. My kid already knows that those brief moments of freedom from parental supervision are great times to experiment, which means solo playtime occasionally results in solo hurt-himself time. But whatever, he can keep doing this one all he wants. An occasional injury is a small price to pay for a little peace and quiet.
The more my son can (kind of) do, the harder my life gets. I feel like such a fool for marking the time until his next milestone. Now all I want to do is reverse it all! They say TV rots your brain, and that giving kids caffeine stunts their growth, but I’ll let you know if that really works after a few more months. In the meantime, is there anything else I can do to slow down his development? Or else I’ll have to give him more GMOs, to speed up his development.
Because it’s the in-between stage that hurts, when he can technically do things but can’t do them well. Or correctly.
But when he’s 16? Or 18? Or 21? Maybe 30? Hold on, let me ask my parents when they were finally confident that I knew what I was doing well enough that my independence stopped stressing them out —
Never mind, my dad just started laughing at me. Or is he crying?