Friday, September 11, 2015

What I've Learned



     In honor of my oldest daughter turning 11 today, I would like to share what I've learned thus far from being a parent.

     If you are a parent, I am sure I have nothing on you.  If you are new to the job, or just in the "interviewing process", (I mean that to encompass a whole slew of scenarios) please know these tips are meant to be nothing more than helpful.  The experience of being a parent is unique to everyone.  Still after 11 years, there are a few universal truths that my friends and I agree on.
     As a new parent, I am convinced that I had a sign above my head, that read:  NEW PARENT!!!, invisible only to me.  I have come to believe that doctors, any other medical practitioners; lactation "specialists"; Babies R Us sales clerks; and every other baby product representative, can sense a first time parent, a mile away.

     I found out rather quickly there are some things you really need; and a whole bunch more that you don't.  Despite the ad campaigns and your friends' and family's testamonials.  It's okay to go cheap on somethings.  Diaper's for instance; you will change them a lot; especially the first year of the first kid.  Go cheap.  One barrier really is as good as the next, and you'll discover that your little pookie's outfit stays relatively spiffy, regardless.  Relative that is to yours; which is another story.  I would just advise to opt out of wearing white anything, the first few years.  This tip is for dads as well as moms.  Also, unless there's been some major changes to the Diaper Genie; skip it.  Just another money sucker as far as I am concerned.  C-section moms+Diaper Genies DON'T WORK/MESH.  Diapers stink.  No getting around it.  However, after the first week, you will get your diaper changing maneuver down to rote, and as long as you take out the trash daily, there shouldn't be much issue.  I am of mixed emotion about diaper bags.  I love handbags and purses in all their glory.  However, I have to admit, that I am loving no longer carrying a gargantuan bag along everywhere.  So, I would just caution: do you really think you are going to want to carry that $300+ diaper bag after your little prince or princess is 2-4?  There was a great diaper changing pad that I got, that was black and could tuck into a large bag, or could be toted around on its own.  Also makes a great back support in the car.  Still, to this day.  Several sites are helpful.  The Bump <LINK> is one of many.

     Go cheap on the wipes as well.  Whatever scent you choose, know that it's for your benefit, (to perfume the air while you are doing the changing) rather than your child's bottom.  So choose the scent you like.  I have a theory that the baby wipes companies did not sell their projected quota for several years.  May be due to the Green folks; the environmentally conscious; whom I applaud and admire, and try to emulate as often as possible.  The baby wipe company's poor planning result?  The recent upsurge of fresh bum wipes for grown ups <LINK>.  I have read that regardless of claiming to be "flushable", after due time all wipes clog sewer systems.  Furthermore, I strongly suspect, all wipes- baby wipes, Pledge Wipes, Clorax Wipes, OFF! Towelettes, Vagisil Personal Wipes, Preparation H Medicated Wipes, Wet Ones, and pet care wipes, are all made by the same folks.  The fact that I came across, NATURE'S MIRACLE Baby's Breath Scent Gentle Cleanse Puppy Bath Wipes <LINK>, just reinforces my theory.  AGAIN; THIS IS JUST MY THEORY.  Just the same, be careful not to mix them up.  Yeah, you think that notion's just a humorous anecdote?  Wait till you do a number of 3:35 a.m. feedings, changings, or up for whatever reason, with your little darlin', without the benefit of sleep or caffeine, and you'll know it's part of your new realm of possibility. 
     
      For transporting your little bundle. you must choose from a selection of strollers and prams, where the selection is daunting to say the least.   They range in price from less than $100, to over $1000.  You start out with a travel system- a car seat that snaps easily and effortlessly onto a set of wheels.  Especially nice if you are blessed with a child that will only fall asleep in a car while in motion.  Moving your baby without waking is KEY.  Once your child graduates to a forward facing independent car seat, choose a stroller that is light, easy to maneuver through aisles at the department store, and can be folded up with one and a half hands.  Sorry, I never found one that can be folded up with one hand.  No matter what the brand claims.  Drink holders, and storage bins, are nice features to have.  Keep in mind though, NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU SPEND, your little pumpkin's earsplitting, glass breaking, tea kettle screams, will be just as audible from your nice Pendleton Bugaboo Cameleon 3, as the most basic umbrella stroller.  Please note that Bugaboos DO NOT INCLUDE THE WHITE GOWN.  Though for the price, it should.  Seriously, I'd like to know who does the ads for these products.

     Once your little one starts on food, if you want to save, plus have the benefit of knowing what's in your baby's food, it's easy to puree food.  If you'd like a gadget, I suggest the Magic Bullet system.  There is a Baby Bullet system, if you are keen on having a smiley face on your kitchen appliances; otherwise just go for the MagicEvery parent can use a little magic from time to time.

     Now, about the toys.  Regardless of your house keeping talents, or circumstances, (you employee a housekeeper), ONLY BUY WHAT TOYS YOU ARE WILLING TO PICK UP.  If you employ a housekeeper, I would strongly advise to follow suit as well.  Karma has a nasty way of rearing its head.  If you've read my post, "Today's Toys: Kids' Dream; Parents' Nightmare", you know that I however, did not heed this advice.  
     The wonderful Phyllis Diller once said, "Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing, is like shoveling the sidewalk while it's still snowing."  Worry about your kids, not your dust.
     I am naturally wary of people that proclaim to be of certain attributes.  "Trust me, I am one of most honest people you will ever meet."  Not a chance Jack.  So, I don't expect you to take me on my word, when I proclaim to be very laid back; but really, I am.  So, it struck me as odd, when my youngest developed an aversion to tags on clothes.  For a while, it was an aversion to clothes all together.  Alas, I am not that laid back.  It took me awhile, but now, no matter how cute the outfit; if there's a tag, or the tag cannot be removed simply; I don't buy it.  Gift buying relatives have been advised as well.  Kinda annoying, cause I know my kid is far from unique.  Some kids clothes have 2-3 tags doublestitched!  Come on!  Now that she is older, I will not even buy her clothes unless she tries them on first, AND convinces me that she absolutely loves it.  I've even been burned a couple of times that way as well.  Just to be clear, that means no online buying for my youngest.  Her older sister, in that regard, is a lot easier.

     When they get old enough to talk back: What I am about to share does work, but I'll admit that unless I have gotten enough sleep, and other elements in the solar system align, this intention and effort often falls short.  But when possible:  Leave your emotion out.  You'll only bring heat to the fire.  You are bringing up humans, and that is no easy task. You are the adult and hopefully this makes sense.  If you can focus on the task at hand, such as: getting to school on time; and not get pulled into the emotion, or react to the 100 attempts to question your reasoning; you may actually get to school on time.  And you may not.  Which brings me to the next thing I've learned.  Let it go...* five days from now, you won't remember it.  There'll be a new experience that will take precedence.  Similar to a quote from O Brother Where Art Thou?; "It's a fool who looks for logic in the chambers of a child's mind."  Just like drunks, and the insane; there are many times you are simply wasting your time, breath and mind, trying to reason with a child.
      Lastly, don't ever lose you're sense of humor.  Childhood flies by.  What drove you crazy today, will hopefully someday cause you and your offspring to double over, from laughing; together.  And I think that's what it's all about.

*This post was originally posted 9/17/13; more than 2 months before Frozen was released on 11/22/13, and the phrase, "Let it go" became the mantra of the world.  I'm not claiming that it was an original thought of mine, just wanted to point it out in case you were wondering why I did not reference the movie

Other posts this led to...
What's A Mommy To Do?









What Nobody Tells You About Being A Parent