Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Mom in training

One of the many things I have learned being the father of two young girls is that they seem to be pre-wired for mommy duty. That is, when they're not pretending to be princesses. I've made a few observations this week alone that I thought I would take a few minutes of your time to share. Maybe it's because the mommy-to-be theme is stuck in my head after writing "There must be something in the water" a couple weeks ago. Or, maybe it's just because my girls were being a little "extra cute" this week. One of the things they have not yet learned is the difference between the dream and the reality....or the similarities.

Diaper changing is fun
One of my girls' favorite activities seems to be changing the diapers on their dolls. To them, it's a fun activity to pretend that they are moms taking care of their children. The dream of one day caring for your own child is a wonderful dream to have. After a few weeks with your very own newborn, you know how to change a diaper in your sleep, with one hand and apparently without even waking up completely....because you've already changed a few hundred by then. That's actually one thing they are close to reality on - since they change their dolls' diapers every twenty minutes.

For those of you yet to experience diaper duty, there really is a lot of fun involved. At least, you better hope you learn to laugh about it. The shear velocity of a baby's poop during a "blowout" is amazing....out the diaper and up their back. If you're really lucky, you'll get to experience the real excitement of a rapid bowel cleansing during a diaper change. If you can't appreciate the distance from which a newborn is capable of painting a wall with poo, you just don't understand basic baby physics. If you can't laugh it off while scrubbing said wall at three o'clock in the morning, you're gonna break real quick.

I should point out that this post is talking about mommy training. Not that there's anything wrong with a dad changing diapers - they are definitely just as responsible. I just felt I should point out that I can sleep through anything (and often did), so the "middle of the night, diaper changing in your sleep" was completed by my wife 99.9% of the time. I believe she said it was a lot less work to clean poo off the wall at 3am than it was to actually wake me up to go change a diaper.

Cleaning is fun
There's just something magically appealing to my girls about a mop, broom and dustpan. I have to say I have taken full advantage of that lately. They have been quite the little helpers with yard work lately. It's kind of fun as a dad to make a mess edging or raking and have your little girls clean it up for you. The outside cleaning is a new passion of theirs that I hope they still remember next Spring when the snow melts.

For as long as I can remember, they have both loved helping in the house. Sarah can't wash a glass in the sink without one of the girls sliding a chair over to the sink to help. Sweeping the floor, dusting and washing the dishes seems like a lot of fun now, but as you know, the reality is a little different. Once you're a mommy (or daddy), you try and figure out just how many of those basic cleaning joys you can skip without drawing too much attention to it.

I do need to talk to Siri about her cleaning techniques though. She was helping out the other day by washing the glass patio doors. As my wife and I stood there and watched, she leaned in close to the glass door... and licked it. She then used that fresh layer of saliva and a toy mop to "wash" the glass. At first you may think this is just a gross kid thing, but no. it's a real life mom trait. I think after the thousandth time you've licked you finger to wash some smudge off your kid's face there is some risk of actually licking a glass door to clean it. I'm not a 100% sure on this so I will keep our youngest under observation.

Reality is still the dream
In an effort not to scare any soon-to-be parents out there, I intentionally touched on just two examples with diapers and cleaning. There are countless examples of how your dream of being a parent doesn't line up with the reality, but that doesn't mean it's not a dream. The photos above (for example) are from this evening as we were taking a post supper family walk. Although the reality is that you will probably end up pulling them in a wagon while carrying their toys, the experience still exceeds what you would have dreamed. Watching Siri pull her teddy bear and doll in a wagon (while wearing a Minnie Mouse dress no less) while Ziva zipped around on her scooter wearing a Princess Elsa cape is priceless.

Sarah and I even joked about trying to remember their "max level cuteness" later this evening when we knew they would be tired and crabby while fighting the idea of going to bed. (I've had to think of our family walk more than once just while writing this post.) My point is that seeing me with a crying daughter while the other one is screaming at the top of her lungs in anger about some atrocity may not look like a dream....but it is. I wouldn't give up a minute of any of it - for anything. Life is real. Living in the hectic reality of parenthood is still a dream. Until next time....