I’ve figured out that the hardest part of parenting isn’t the part I suspected. I was SURE that it was having a 24-hour responsibility. You’ve got to feed them, bathe them, clothe them, play with them (yes, they insist), just BE THERE. You can’t just hop up and go whenever you’d like without any forethought or “coverage”‘. And they sure can’t just take care of themselves.
Then there’s they crying. The lack of sleep. The poopy diapers. These are the things that people tend to fear about having children – and these things last for years. Don’t even mention driving and dating and college and the years of therapy they’ll need to recover from all the wrong decisions you make along the way.
In my opinion, the hardest part isn’t giving them the things they need. It’s NOT giving them the things they want. Think about it. Sleep training is ALL about NOT giving them what they want: YOU. Comfort, safety, proximity. Feeding them a balanced diet is really all about NOT letting them eat nothing but the bread and cheese they love (don’t we all?). There are books upon books about how trick them into eating other things. And all this is for “their own good”.
What do they want more than anything (once they are alert enough to see beyond 8 inches in front of their faces)? To experience the world. Stick fingers in electrical outlets. Shove everything in their mouths (except the broccoli you WANT them to eat). Run out into the street. Enjoy the yummy things like mac & cheese and hotdogs and random nuggety things. Roll around in the grass (read: anthills) with the neighbor’s rabid-looking woof-woof.
So what’s the hardest part about our job? We’re the NO people. Our child is barely a year old, and I’m already shocked about how often we get to tell her what NOT to do. We’ve even tried to avoid the “NO” word. We use “stop” or “don’t”. But somehow, she knows exactly what we mean: NO.
Remember in an earlier post we pointed out that we’d made a tactical error, and that darn Talking Tom app taught our daughter the N word while we were thinking how funny it was? To appreciate it (and the video that follows), check out the actual Talking Tom No-No-No. Funny, right? Anyway, back to the point: the hardest part of parenting in my assessment is having to say NO when you really want to say YES. You look at that cutie pie kid with the tiny kid voice and bright eyes and just want to give them the world – let them in on all the good things in life – let ’em live a little.
We’ll see how all that turns out. For now, at least she’s cute when she’s saying NO – and sometimes, I suppose it really is OK just to let her live a little. NOTE: the following video (and 4 other videos taken before/after) were shot in a hotel room with someone else’s toilet paper ;)