Parenting: the joke is on us
You guys, this parenting thing is no joke.
I say this as I’m celebrating my first month spent working to keep two kids happy, healthy and out of harm’s way. And by out of harm’s way, I mean so many things. Like encouraging the toddler to be helpful, but not the “pulling-her-infant-baby-sister-out-of-her-swing-to-change-her-diaper” kind of helpful.
Or the “shoving-the-pacifier-back-in-her-tiny-mouth-with-the-strength-and-grace-of-a-hippo” sort of helpful.
But it’s hard, because 2-year-olds have issues with limits and infants would prefer to be left alone to eat, sleep and poop, thankyouverymuch.
At least that’s the prerogative for this infant anyway, thank the Lord in Heaven. Because the Lord in Heaven knew that if he gave me the wide-awake, must-be-moving-at-all-times new baby that was our firstborn, I would be building my mother-in-law a cabin in our backyard and offering to pay her to never leave.
But that’s not the case. Our little Rosie has been a laid-back dream, a baby who looks like me but takes after her father. It’s our 2-year-old (the one who looks like her father, but takes after me) who’s been keeping us on our toes by deciding that sleep is no longer an activity she needs in her life and making sure we all know it by staying up and scream-crying about it until 2 a.m.
How naïve of me to think we had bedtime down pat just in time for another round of late-night feedings.
Good thing I haven’t really slept in two years anyway.
But we sort of expected retaliation, especially when my overly ambitious husband decided to use the short week he had off to be home with us to work on potty training the toddler.
He said he was tired of having philosophical discussions with her about the meaning of life while changing her diaper, so he took to task. Which has actually been going pretty well since we got through the first few days of wiping pee puddles off the floor — with the exception of that incident last week where I was nursing the baby and Edie declared an emergency: incoming poop (I’m always nursing the baby when Edie declares emergencies), so I rushed her to the bathroom, whipped off her pants and sent that emergency turd out “splat” on the floor so quickly I didn’t notice it until I squished it nice and flat with my foot.
“At least you had socks on” was my husband’s attempt at finding the bright side, while I stood in the hallway and laughed the hysterical and desperate laugh only a mother of a toddler and an infant can pull off.
It’s the same laugh I used during Rosie’s newborn photo shoot where the photographer posed her all curled up and diaper-less in her dad’s going-to-town cowboy hat, only to leave it full of pee.
“At least you didn’t put it back on your head!” I said, but he didn’t laugh with me on that one. He just stared blankly into the warm puddle.
So maybe parenting is a joke after all, one you need to be the right amount of exhausted to understand…
Jessie Veeder is a musician and writer living with her husband and daughter on a ranch near Watford City, N.D. She blogs at https://veederranch.com. Readers can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.