1.The minute you put your young child to bed she will become desperately thirsty for water. An addendum to this rule is that as soon as you brush your child’s teeth he will desire a warm glass of milk or, perhaps, a banana.
2. If you have two kids under the age of 5, at any given moment one will be crying and the other will be pooping. Given the changing variables of the average family unit, it is also possible that the one who is crying is also the one who is pooping. He may be crying because he pooped, but more than likely the pooping and the crying are unrelated events.
3. Things you once considered to be unacceptable will become common. You will go multiple days without showering/shaving. You will eat off other people’s plates even when they are gross and snotty. You will get less sleep in an entire week than you once did in one day before your kids came along.
4. Your sex life will take a big hit. Your kids will be able to sense when you are even thinking about having sex with your partner. They will sense it and they will try to stop it. Some experts claim that this compulsion stems from their drive to prevent competition from future siblings. While this may be accurate in part, the real truth is that they simply want to deny you pleasure. When their parent sex radars are on the fritz it won’t make much difference though. As they sleep soundly in their beds, you and your spouse will be lying in yours, too tired to touch each other (see rule 3).
5. After the first month of parenthood, you will very likely call your mother and beg for her forgiveness. This compulsion will eventually diminish as your first child settles down a bit and reappear again a few years later when you have multiple kids and they begin competing for top dog status.
6. You will grow to hate all things plastic. Just like that floating island of trash in the Northern region of the Pacific ocean, your entire home will become infested with small pieces of plastic debris. These pieces will range in size from the infinitesimal (Barbie’s high heels) to the large and bulky (Barbie’s Dream House) to the in-between size (the new mitral heart valve you’ll need surgically installed when you find out how many days care fucking costs). These toys, knick-knacks, and other mementos of childhood will litter your floor, your bed, and your innermost soul. As soon as you throw a bunch of this plastic crap away, a new herd will crawl out from under the couch, have a plastic love orgy, and repopulate your living room once again. It can’t be stopped. Eventually, when your kids become teenagers, the plastic pieces will pick up and leave for the house next door where they have twin toddlers.
7. Various childhood viruses, ailments, and other communicable infections will infest your home and bodies like a petri dish. Your child will bring it home to you from school like a homework assignment and quickly pass whatever it is up the chain of command. By the time the original vector is feeling good again, you will once again pass to him the sickness he gave you because who can resist mouth kissing that cute little face. During these times, there will usually be enough coughing, grunting, sneezing, tooting, and pooping for you to seriously consider forming a family avant-garde sound group.
8. Bath time will come to represent your two most common and divisive arguments with your children. a) They will never want to get in that damn tub and b) once you finally get them in there, they won’t ever want to get out.
9. Cherish nothing (physical or emotional). Your kids will destroy it all. Gone. Finito. Adios. Sayonara. In any language, say goodbye, dude.
10. The development of language in young children occurs in four stages: 1) babbling stage, 2) single-word stage, 3) two-word stage, and 4) multi-word stage. The development of language in adults as they are trying to get their kids to do something also occurs in four stages: 1) asking politely stage, 2) slightly raising your voice stage, 3) threatening punishment stage, and finally 4) losing your shit and screaming stage. All these stages will eventually result in someone crying (probably you).
For more essays on parenting visit www.nursepapathebook.com and sign up for the newsletter. Nurse Papa is a prescriptive and heartwarming book written from the perspective of a pediatric oncology nurse who is also a father. The stories within are directed at parents and all those who are looking to ask and answer some of life’s big questions. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will learn about yourself.
Previously published on Medium.com.
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Photo credit: David Metzger