I was talking with a friend the other night about the chaos of the newborn, infant, and toddler years. (I’m sure the other stages are chaotic, too, but I have a 3-year-old, so these are the only ones I’ve personally experienced so far.) We were both sharing our traumatic experiences, including moving with a seven-day old baby and a house fire with a three-week-old. I’ve had friends who have been diagnosed with terrifying illnesses soon after giving birth, babies that needed emergency surgery, and my cousin’s husband (he’s in the Navy), who had to board a submarine just days after she gave birth to their first child. As the old saying goes “When it rains, it pours.” Apparently no parent is exempt from this when an infant arrives! And it seems like our children have caught on to the pattern of necessary madness. It’s like we must go through some type of “Motherhood Initiation” or something. There must be an extraterrestrial agreement between children and the heavenly realms. A set of rules, or commandments, if you will, that must be carefully followed to ensure maximum parental CRAZY.
After documenting some of my “favorites,” I bring you:
THE 10 COMMANDMENTS OF CHILDHOOD
1) Thou shalt REFUSE to take a bottle at the MOST inopportune time. For me, this was the very day and hour that we were moving into a temp house after our house fire. If there were ever a time that I needed my friend to slip Greyson a bottle while I helped move all our things, this was it. (Sadly, this refusal was the first of many, and he stopped taking bottles all together on that very day.) If you are a parent, this has totally happened to you and you remember the exact moment.
2) Thou shalt skip a nap when Mommy has a million things to accomplish and who is depending on naptime. This is happening to me at this exact moment. I find that this is the most frequent commandment, and it MAKES ME CRAZY. I really try to focus on Greyson and play hard when he’s awake, so I NEED naptime to tackle the to-do list and recharge. When there’s absolutely no break, it totally throws me off. No nap makes for a grumpy baby and a LONG afternoon.
3) Thou shalt collude with postal services to deliver all packages during naptime. Doorbell must be rung causing dog to bark, and naptime shall be abandoned. (Repeat Commandment #1.) I’m sorry, but this situation makes me cuss. I thought installing the “Ring” device would help (even though there’s a clear sign NOT TO RING THE DOORBELL), but my dog still sees them coming, and by then it’s GAME OVER.
4) Thou shalt have a blow out on the way out the door. Not much explanation needed here. But typically, this is the MOTHER OF ALL BLOW OUTS. Wardrobe changes, a bath, and pressure-washing the car seat is quite possibly necessary for these types of blowouts.
5) Thou shalt abandon all normal bedtime behavior on a scheduled Girls’ Night Out. My child has always been a good sleeper; when he’s down, he’s DOWN. He rarely fusses or wakes up, so I usually have the privilege of some quality time to myself & my hubby after bedtime. EXCEPT for the nights I have an outing planned with my girlfriends. The 10 Commandments take effect and my little bundle turns into a raging lunatic that will ONLY let Mama put him down. Or he hears the garage door open and immediately wakes up, sensing that I am about to enjoy a goldfish-free dinner. It’s absurd. In my experience, you should go ahead and plan a backup and a backup-to-the backup date.
*This commandment also applies to any evening you are desperate to crawl into bed early yourself. On this rare occasion, your child is as awake as a nocturnal bat.
6) Thou shalt become severely ill on weekends only, requiring expensive trips to Children’s Hospital. Treatment shall be more than or equal to high deductible. WHY does the plague always descend during the middle of the night on weekends? Your child would say “to get maximum sleep-deprived and panic-attack effect, DUH.” This happened to us in January (yes, a brand new insurance year) due to the stomach virus and actually earned us TWO trips to Children’s.
7) Thou shalt ruin all nice clothes. Let’s be real, I sport my “mom uniform” as much as anyone else, which is usually my “yoga” pants (which have never seen one yoga move) and a flowy tunic. BUT-when I do get all gussied up, you’d better believe there is going to be some type of projectile, whether it be spit up, juice, or bodily fluid. Don’t even get me started on “nice” kid clothes. It’s like my son can smell a monogrammed shirt a mile away, and he makes it his personal goal to ruin it.
8) All inexplicable activity shall happen when Daddy is out of town/unavailable. Y’ALL. You know it’s true and you’re nodding your head right now. I have one friend whose family feline was the victim of a bobcat and ended up in the driveway. Of course she didn’t want her kids to see it, but her hubby was out of town. So she had to SHOVEL HER CAT off the driveway. Another friend had all her windows blown out during a tornado while her hubby was gone. Seriously, WHY.
9) Car seat straps shall become tangled beyond repair at the worst time. I think that untangling car seat straps must be a job in hell. HOW IN THE WORLD does so much material get twisted in the smallest of buckles? It’s mind blowing. When these straps are stuck, THEY’RE STUCK. You aren’t going anywhere until you work it out. And it’s always when you really need to get somewhere on time. We were headed to catch a plane the last time this happened to us, and it took 20 minutes and a pair of pliers to free the straps. Fortunately, we didn’t miss our flight, but I’m pretty sure Greyson though he had won that round.
10) Thou shalt run a mysterious fever on the first day of Mother’s Day Out. This fever shall not be accompanied by any other identifiable symptoms, but just over the threshold of it NOT being okay to send your child to school. Insert BIGGEST EYE ROLL EVER here.
So there you go! CAN I GET AN AMEN? Chances are you have experienced everything on this list multiple times! We’d love to hear other “commandments” you think our children adhere to!