I’d like to call for an end to the phrase “You’ll miss this when they’re older” and all of its derivatives. As parents we’ve all heard this unsolicited nugget of wisdom. We’ve all politely nodded our heads outwardly to the person despite fervently disagreeing with them on the inside. I generally only hear this phrase in three situations.
1- When my daughter is being a disaster and I’m at the absolute end of my rope.
2- When my son is being a disaster and I’m at the absolute end of my rope.
3- When they’ve conspired to team up against me to systemically crush my spirit so incredibly thoroughly that I’m left as an empty shell of my former self and all I can do is curl up in the corner and weep.
Those are the times that some “helpful” person comes by and knowingly offers that I’m going to cherish times like this once they’re gone.
I’d like to call a definitive “Bullshit!” on that. There are many many many….. oh so very many things that I know with absolute certainty that I will not miss when they are older. Here is a short list of the things that I would gladly never think about for the entire remainder of my existence, if I had the power to end them now:
1- Buckling My Kids Into Their Car Seats. –
For the first year, it’s just a tedious task. Years two to three it became drudgery when we added another small human to the mix. Since the four-year mark it has become the bane of my existence. I know…. I know…. I shouldn’t think so badly about something that keeps them so safe, but it’s a fact that I will not miss it once I am finished doing it. When I need to run into the store for milk, I want to only do that. For now though, it’s an 8- 12 step process. Unclip tops and bottoms for both of them, march them in and then march them right back out. Just to buckle top and bottom again. I just want to sit down and drive and not wrestle tiny arms and legs into the straps every single time.
We are actually mostly out of this stage and it’s one I’m glad to put behind me. Remember that scene in Temple Of Doom where Short Round is walking on the bugs and says it’s like “walking on fortune cookies”? Well for a number of years it seemed like that was every step I ever took in my home. There is no way to keep up with it, and they are everywhere….. lurking……ready for your bare feet to crunch them. These days, the Cheerios have been replaced with delightfully small and fiendishly sharp toys that threaten to wreck my bare feet at any given moment.
3- Cleaning Rear Ends That Don’t Belong To Me.-
It’s going to be a special day when I have but one butt to care for. My kids are masters of the inconvenient poop. So they make this already undesirable task even more loathsome. It’s as if they have an inner GPS that can accurately tell them when they are at the very furthest point from a clean bathroom that they can possibly be. That inner GPS then releases an unholy mixture of prunes and Ex-Lax into their systems. This, I will not miss.
4- Cleaning Puke Out Of Everything-
Well, not exactly everything. Our easy-to-clean hardwood floors have remained miraculously puke free over the course of many an illness. Despite covering only 1/300th of the floor space in our home, our carpets and couches have received the lion’s share of all used and partially digested food. For some reason they are incapable of making it to the bathroom to throw up and lack the common sense to turn their head to where it would be easy to clean. My son once stood at the toilet to puke and at the last second stepped back to cover the bathmat. Why??? Why would he do such a thing??
My son tips the scales somewhere around the 35lb mark. I think science needs to study him because just this morning he ate 4X his weight in bananas and strawberries. According to my kids, meals only end because the next one is beginning. My wife and I are somehow expected to keep the smorgasbord going. Obviously we don’t, and we can’t understand where they got the idea that the food never ends. “How dare you only have one to two healthy snacks between all of our well balanced and timely meals! You heathens!!!!!!”
So yeah. I’m obviously going to miss some things. My kids are awesome and most of what they do is absolutely marvelous. For instance, I’m going to miss it when my son pees himself from laughing so hard or when my daughter comes out of bed for “one last hug” for the 17th time. The good and memorable far outshines any of the tedious, uncomfortable or downright disgusting things that happen in the day to day. But if I’m in the midst of dealing with a 40 minute tantrum in the middle of Trader Joe’s, and you cozy up to reassure me that I’m going to miss it once it’s gone, I’m going to smile and nod at you, while inwardly hoping that you develop an outrageously uncomfortable rash in your nether regions. But don’t worry; I’m sure you’ll miss it once it’s gone.