Here are a few things I said before I had SB (small boy) – the good, bad, and the astonishingly clueless:
Smug pre-SB Fantasy: I’d NEVER let my kids watch TV.
Reality: TV? God Bless PBS Kids! Now I can do laundry/feed the dog/cats/fish/clean the house/go to the bathroom/do some more laundry/take a shower/eat/eat some more/hey, more laundry!/get the mail/brush my hair/teeth/cook dinner/laundry…/water the plants/write my blog. I didn’t just eat my words, I feasted at the Sunday buffet on this one.
Fantasy: Look how dirty that little boy/girl is! I’d never let my kids out of the house looking like that.
Reality: Dirt? Whatever. If I don’t need a chisel to get stuff off of his face, then we’re good to go – and if it were ok to take SB out back and hose him off during the day between baths, I’d do it in a second. Short of duct taping the rips in his pants, I’ve really lowered my standards on this one.
Fantasy: How can people just let their kids scream like that at the store/shopping center/beach/park/airport/winery(just kidding)?
Reality: Screaming? I’m convinced that when kids are born, parents develop a “tune out” gland that enables them to not hear the racket small people are capable of (although the gland does have a finely tuned sensor for authentic crying/screaming). This nifty gland also causes deafness to the word “mama” being repeated 500 times, and fake crying – the kind caused by the dog eating SB’s goldfish, the tragic loss of Mr. Potato Head’s eyes, or Buzz and Woody getting stuck under the couch for the zillionth time.
Fantasy: Jeez, do people go brain dead after they have kids? Look at that poor mom, she looks frazzled!
Reality: Since SB came on the scene, I consider it a major victory if my teeth are brushed and I’ve managed to get pants on that don’t have boogers or clumps of pasta stuck to them. I find myself wearing work out pants quite often, regardless of the fact that I rarely exercise these days – I’m great at chasing a two year old down the street (I consider it a wind sprint) and that’s about as good as it gets. And I don’t remember ever going to work without milk on my shoulder or something stuck to my back – goldfish, happy face stickers, etc. Mascara on BOTH eyes? Victory is mine!
Fantasy: I don’t understand why parents are so exhausted, babies sleep all the time – what’s the deal?
Reality: Sleep? What’s that? The amazing thing about having SB is that my insomnia is a thing of the past, and it appears narcolepsy has taken its place.
Now when I see a frazzled mom with a screaming kid at the store/airport/winery/etc., I just smile sympathetically at her – while checking to see if she needs to borrow my chisel.