Parenting is basically a massive learning journey. From the moment your first child takes its first breath, you realise that there is a ton of shit that you know nothing about. And you need to find it out, now!
But it’s amazing how quickly you start to figure it out. You learn how to feed your baby, how to bath them, and what those weird spots on their faces really are. You read books, you Google, you ask your friends. Slowly, slowly, you start to feel more confident.
And if you’re an idiot, like me, you start to think you might even be getting the hang of this.
Don’t get me wrong though. I have learned some amazing things while parenting my kids. Not all of them were exactly what I expected, though.
I see my babies kind of like the radioactive spiders in Spiderman. Whilst gestating, they mutated my genes somewhat. And over time, I have acquired some skills.
1. 0-awake in 2 seconds
I remember what used to happen when I woke up in the night before I had children. I would slowly open my eyes. Seeing that it was dark, I would check the time. I’d yawn once or twice, and then turn over and go back to sleep. And that was it.
That is now just a distant memory (that I yearn for). Here’s what happens now:
Whilst sleeping, my brain alerts me to a noise. My eyes spring open like a fox’s in headlights. And before I am even aware that I am awake, I am running through the house to deal with whoever is up. There is no limbo period, halfway between conscious and unconscious for me. I hear it, and I’m there.
2. Cry recognition
This comes in very handy in conjunction with number 1. When you’re galloping around in the middle of the night, you don’t wanting to be stopping and straining your ears, waiting for the next cry to work out which room you should be heading to.
All I have to hear is a one-second burst of, ‘Aaa,’ and I’m there.
And I’m pretty proud of that.
Little Girl is unimpressed with this talent, though. So she has developed a defensive tactic that blows it out of the water. She has managed, dear readers, to make her laugh and her cry sound entirely the same. I’m almost impressed. It certainly gets me running to her aid approximately double the amount of times I need to. Damn clever kid.
3. Temperature sensor
One of the benefits I have received through my baby-induced mutation is a magic hand. It’s hard to get this across in text, so just imagine that I’m waving my hand mystically in front of your face right now. Oooh, magic. And this magic hand is pretty flipping fantastic at estimating the temperature of a sick child.
I don’t think we owned a thermometer until about 9 months ago. Up until then, the temperature measurements in this house were Fine, Bit Warm, Hot and Yowzer! And it stood me in good stead for many years. In fact, the only thing the thermometer has ever managed is to make me panic. ‘Oh my God, 40.1!’ It’s not cool. (Ha, see what I did there?)
So now the thermometer sits in the Drawer of Hellish Disorganisation, gathering dust, while I employ the magic hand.
It may not be able to measure in tiny increments, but a hand on a small forehead is the best in my opinion. It allows me to quickly decide which choice to make: stripping off (the child, naturally), opening a window, or bringing out the big guns. Liquid Paracetamol.
Just don’t get something out of the freezer before you try it.
4. The Kiss It Better Mouth
This one isn’t special. You’ve all got one, right?
Nothing fixes a small child’s minor injury better than a kiss from someone they love. She runs to you, sobbing and snivelling and dripping bodily fluids, proffering the wounded area. It’s usually something insignificant like a graze or a scratch. If you’re super unlucky, the injury is invisible. Then you end up planting a thousand kisses, searching for the spot, while an increasingly enraged child screams, ‘NOT THERE! THERE!’
I am super unlucky.
But then you find it, and you can see the tension flowing out of your child’s face. She sniffs, wipes her nose on the sleeve of her freaking t shirt, and runs off to play again.
Now that’s pretty awesome.
I’ve saved the best one until last. I am a shit hot multi-tasker. I am never doing less than 3 things at any one time. I might be doing 2 of them at a sub par level, but they are happening, OK?
When we’re walking to school, I am listening to two conversations simultaneously. One is probably about flying pigs or something crazy like that, while the other is almost definitely about the apple she dropped in a puddle three goddamn weeks ago.
When I’m making dinner, I’m also supervising homework, listening out for toddler-baby shenanigans and putting away the clean dishes.
While I’m writing this blogpost, I am also thinking about doughnuts.
Is there a way to get stuff done without doing multiple things at once? If you know the trick, throw me a bone in the comments. And another thing. If I’m doing so much all at the same time, how come I never seem to get anything done?
I can now conclude, after copious amounts of research, that I am amazing. And so are you.
What can you do?