I really counted on my sister A LOT when I had my babies. Her babies were a couple years older then my babies, and she is far more mellow, chill, realistic and reasonable then I am. I called her once daily -- at minimum.
Also, she's hilarious, irreverent and has real mid-western common sense. I called her about some drama or another, I honestly can't remember the topic, and she listened. I'm sure it was a repeat drama. Like I had called her 47 times already with different variations on a theme. Anyway, she listened, she paused, she said, "Well, the only shocking part of that story is that you are shocked." WHAT? OMG, it stopped me dead in my tracks, jolted my brain out of it's crazy vortex of worry and perfection and brought me right back down to planet earth. Once the shock passed we laughed and laughed.
After I get to know people in parenting classes I'll use that quote on them. I need to be sure people get my sense of humor before I unleash that awesome piece of advice on them, it has to be used with love, not judgement
How does this relate to you? I'm so glad you asked! Here are common things we all are shocked by and frankly, as my sister says, "The only shocking part of that story is that you are shocked!" Let's break this sucker down by age. (Please read through to the end, even if you have little ones).
0-2 1/2: You are tired. They cry a lot. You don't know what to do. You cry a lot. It's equal parts excruciatingly boring and excruciatingly joyful. Diapers are expensive. Your back hurts. They go to the Dr's a lot. Plastic crap starts multiplying in your house while you are sleeping. They can't help you DO one gosh durn thang! They can't tell you what's wrong (the cause of their crying). The bouncy seat, sling, new formula, cutting out cabbage from your diet, lavender oil, spa music will not necessarily stop the crying. They cry a lot (worth repeating, it's shocking, I know, I understand).
2 1/2 - 5: They have temper tantrums, even when you speak nicely to them, even when you are reasonable, even when you explain things to them, even when you have given them a choice. They still cry a lot. They pick up a bad word or two and use it generously. They don't sleep through the night. They won't eat anything green (or white, or meat, or yellow, or soft, or hard, or things that touch each other, or things that are warm or cold). They are unreliable employees - one day they set the table with all the joy and enthusiasm of a cheerleader, the next day they spit on your forks.
6 - 9: Fart jokes are hysterical. They can do chores but they don't wanna. They might still cry a lot. Some still have some awesome tantrums. They are not self-motivated about a lot of things. They may not have a passion yet, even though that neighbor kid down the block does. They are not appreciative that you signed them up for swimming (or tennis, or sleep away camp, or gymnastics, or rec soccer, or drama class, or that reading tutor). They just wanna do, what they wanna do, when they wanna do it.
10 - 12: They lie (they want you to love and admire them AND they want to do what they want to do AND they want their friends to love and admire them). They love their screens passionately. They don't wanna hear no research on screen addiction that you found on your screen. They grow at different rates from the ideal (that's both up growing and out growing and mind growing and maturity growing). Some have questionable grooming habits. Some have too rigorous grooming habits. Friends opinions are more important then ours.
12 - 13: Temper tantrums can creep up again. Remember the bad words in earlier years? They use those bad words, but super effectively AND with the correct matching hand motions AND they aren't trying to be funny. They kinda, sorta don't wanna be seen with you. (NO car dancing, or dancing of any sort for YOU in this age group -- it LITERALLY hurts them). Worries about stuff they won't tell you.
14 - 18: The might fib some more. They try drinking and drugs. They are sexually aware and might be active. They sleep the day away. They are professional relaxers. Avoidance is a great way to deal with stress -- for them (social, academic, college, sports, you name it -- growing up is hard to do). Alternately, they are professional students and achievers and map out their day and set unrealistic expectations for themselves and just over all over achieve. Rare is the parent of teens that brags, "Yeah, my kids got this -- totally balanced, together, good grades, nice amount of friends, AND chill."
19 - 94: Lying, crying, tantrums, not sleeping through the night, fighting with siblings, professional relaxation, over achievement, screen addiction, fart jokes, unreliable chore doing, picky eating, being tired all might continue, is to be expected. Do NOT be shocked.