Sometimes I amuse myself by conjuring titles for different parenting books I would have written at different phases of my journey. Each age and stage brings out something new and different, some of it funny, some of it boring, some of it anxiety provoking all of it universal at one point or another. Shall we?
Goddess Pregnancy: How the First Woman in the World to Ever be Pregnant Handled the Situation - The first woman in the world to ever be pregnant takes you through the ins and outs of pregnancy. Diet Coke-verboten. Cottage cheese – looks gross, strangely makes you feel better. Learn how YOU get to go home early from work because pregnant ladies can NOT ride crowded buses. Learn phrases to use on your significant other – things like waking up and before you even stand on the ground look at them grouchily and say, ‘Honey, you need to . . .. “ Anything will do. Because honestly, while you are growing an ACTUAL human being, they are just skating through life.
Timers, Rules and Clocks: Receiving Your Child is Unbelievably Scary (Alternate title: If In Doubt, Cry it Out) – Is it possible to keep your baby safe by constant vigilance and timing and tracking every feeding, every diaper, every nap? Probably not, but it’s worth a try! How crying means you are happy, sad, content, amazed, at a loss, frightened, in pain, joyful and bored. Just keep crying, someone will eventually do something that makes you feel ok again.
Watch How I Do It (In Overalls, no Less) – See how once you get the hang of this you have answers for EVERYONE on how to do EVERYTHING. A friend’s baby doesn’t sleep – share your righteous opinion. Watch a neighbor carelessly wander to the bananas leaving the baby in the grocery cart near the peas- learn how to scold them with love. Curious about what toys to let them play with, we got answers! (Appendix A: How to Apologize to all your friends and acquaintances for being such a god awful know it all. Appendix B: Yo! You don’t look as cute as you think you do in those overalls.)
Whoops, I Did It Again: Learn how baby #2 is usually vastly different then Baby #1 and all your superior knowledge about how to get a baby to sleep turned out to be dumb luck because Baby #2 isn’t playing your game! Special section covers information on how your 3 year old is actually not a rational person who can help with chores or take care of the baby for you. In comparison to your newborn they seem like they are 11, they are not.
I Wish this Would Last Forever: You Find Your Groove. You put on non-yoga pants and a proper top. You go out with your girlfriends, you rekindle a little romance. Your kids are basically predictable and love you. You dictate 90% of your kids clothing, food, travel plans, friends, sleep patterns. Bring. It. On.
Groundhog Day: WILL THIS, FOR THE LOVE OF PETE, Never End: Seriously, boredom sets in, the same old, same old. You can’t possibly read “Rotten Ralph” one more time. Chicken nuggets and fish sticks have become stale and gummy. Been to the pool, been to the park, volunteered on that PTA, the magic is gone.
SHIT, What the HELL?! The Middle School & Early Teen Years: Don’t nobody know nothin’. Endurance is the name of the game here. You will be too strict or too permissive. Your kid will be too popular or friendless, they will be stressed with good grades or relaxed with crappy grades. The ground is shifting, you have no control, EVERYONE is unsettled. (Special chapter is devoted to ways to humiliate your child – breath, dance a little, sing in the car, have an opinion, ask their friends questions, wear your clothes, laugh, breath more.)
Mistakes Were Made (Swearing, R Movies and Giving Up, Just a Little Bit): The late teen years you loosen the reins because you have learned that they do a lot of what they want before their ridiculous 8:30 pm curfew. You pay attention, but a little less. You realize you made some mistakes. You were too controlling or you were too permissive. You expected too much, you expected too little. You spied too much, you didn’t pay enough attention. Too restrictive on screens, not restrictive enough. (Special Appendices Include: Good hobbies for middle aged people. A list of age inappropriate TV shows to watch with your kids – being bad never felt so good. Links to YouTube videos that will brighten your day and delight your teen. Tips on how to deliver teen slang – tips don’t work, you can’t do it, but it’s funny to practice.) As long as you can still laugh with your kids, all should be fine.