Before my child was born, I thought I had parenting figured out… as does every other child-free person in America. If you discipline your kids, they will listen, and you will turn out model citizens who eat what’s put before them, never shriek in restaurants, and absolutely never, ever, ever wipe snotty noses on strangers.
To the parents who knew me then, I offer my apologies.
I know better now.
I know you can be a major investor in the Kleenex corporation and still have kids with snotty noses. I know you can pack a bag full of Goldfish, coloring books, Matchbox cars, and Cheerios, and still have a bored toddler who shrieks in public. And I know that even the most disciplined kids spin their heads ‘round and turn into something out of a horror movie on occasion, but most likely when someone really judgmental is watching.
I’ve come a long way.
But here’s what I don’t know. Consider these the great mysteries of children, if you will, the sorts of things that only the wisest of parents can comprehend:
1. What goes through a child’s head as they shove not one but two empty waffle boxes into their desk drawer… when the garbage can is right beside them?
2. What about the sight of a cordless phone screams “Ooh, I know, I’ll put this under the bed”?
3. Who are the gnomes who sneak into children’s bedrooms at night and whisper the following into their ears: “Starting tomorrow, you will hate the one food you have loved for the past three years. Whatever you do, do not give your parents a good reason for said hatred. Just scream when they put it in front of you and demand something else”?
4. If there are six pairs of scissors in the house, how many hours will it take two parents turning the house upside down to find just one?
5. Do the words “hang up your backpack” come out in Icelandic or maybe Mandarin when you say them, hence explaining why American children never seem to understand them?
6. How many dinners consisting of hot dogs and/or chicken nuggets until you are officially the worst mother in America?
7. Why is getting up at 7 a.m. the worst form of torture on a Wednesday morning, but they’re already bouncing off the walls at 6 a.m. on a Saturday?
8. What scientific phenomena allows one to be FREEZING TO DEATH and want ice cream at the exact same time?
9. Does purchasing brand new shoes actually make their feet grow?
10. How many times can one child change their mind about their costume in just four weeks before Halloween?
If you have answers to any of these, I’m going to guess… you’re not a parent.
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