I pretty much had it all together before I became a parent. The career, the social life, the travel and experiences. Everything was going along swimmingly. I knew who I was and what to expect.
And then my world was rocked.
Not once, not twice, but three times over the course of four years. By three little men who demanded my complete attention. My complete everything, really.
And as the memories of hip restaurants and exotic travel slowly dissipated into the background of my new sleep-deprived life, I found myself doing things my pre-kid self could have never imagined.
I suck boogers out of little noses.
Literally. With my mouth. Fortunately there is an apparatus that allows me to do so without actually ingesting said boogers (thank you, Nosefrida) but it is still disgusting. Yet necessary, as I’ve quickly learned that regular old nasal aspirators simply can’t suck out the same volume of snot as my mouth can.
I sniff butts for bowel movements.
Ah yes, I’m a pro at the old one-handed-butt-lift-and-sniff maneuver. It’s simply the only way to know with certainty whether a diaper needs to be changed. And in order to avoid a false alarm, I’ve mastered the art of discerning between the scent of an actual crap or a simple fart.
I watch Caillou.
Don’t judge me. You would too if it was a choice between that and a symphony of blaring musical toys and fights over who gets to turn off the bathroom faucet.
I clean fecal matter off of everything.
I used to think that picking up after the dog was gross. Now I can clean up human poop smeared all over little people and their belongings without a flinch. Bonus points for having had the conversation with an on-call pediatrician about how to handle a child who has possibly swallowed poop (and learning that it apparently happens “all the time”).
I go to sleep by 9pm.
Okay, 8:30pm. Maybe sooner if I’m lucky. Pretty much moments after I get the kids tucked in. Never mind that this would have formerly been the time of our dinner reservations, hours before we began getting ready to go out for the night.Sucking boogers out of small noses is just one thing I never thought I would do - until I had kids Click To Tweet
I lose my shit.
I used to be so cool. If I didn’t agree with something, I could easily let it go. But kids have a way of unraveling your very last nerve. I ask them nicely. They ignore me. I ask them more firmly. They continue. Then before you know it I’ve become a screaming shrew with a bulging forehead vein.
I scope out the neighborhood for cool parks.
And by cool, I mean parks that are fully enclosed with latching gates. With minimal concrete and maximum green space. And adequate shade.
I whip out my boobs anywhere and everywhere.
I offer them up willingly while cooing, “are you hungry?” Enduring tugs and bites on my calloused nipples. Wearing shirts and bras with hidden holes and stretchy panels for easy access. What about modesty, you say? Out the window from the moment I delivered my first child.
I implore people not to lick doorknobs.
Or their shoes. Or the Target cart. Or their brother’s foot. As I obsessively slather them in hand sanitizer in a futile attempt to prevent illness.
I drive a minivan.
I used to work for automotive companies. Which means that I was able to lease a custom ordered brand shiny new vehicle every year. And never once did I opt for a minivan. Not once did I even CONSIDER a minivan. But now it’s my vehicle of choice. The only metal box that can fit my entire brood and all their stuff. And, yes, I’ve become the mom who waxes poetic about the many practical features of her minivan to all her friends.
I go to chain restaurants.
The places I would turn my nose up at in the past have now become our family hangouts. Kids menus? Cheap alcohol? Yes, please! If I drink enough I can almost imagine that my fried fish taco is a seared ahi tuna steak. And that the kids are eating organic free-range chicken breasts instead of heavily battered chicken fingers.
I allow myself to be mauled.
By little people climbing all over me. Grabbing, hanging, and hugging. Every day. Tugging at my clothes and clinging to my leg. Kicking me in the night. Sweaty hands cupping my face. Slobbery kisses. While I sit, sometimes patiently and sometimes not, trying to embrace the violent onslaught of affection that will be gone before I know it.
Because it truly is fleeting. I do recognize this and am trying to soak it all in.
Even as I shout at someone to stop jumping on the bed for the 149th time.