If we’re honest we’ve all been those people, right? Those people who have no children and yet know everything there is to know about parenting? In our younger, more clueless days, we think we understand this parenting gig. We think we understand how hard it can be, how exhausting it is, and how a pretty sticker chart and positive cuddles and words will right every wrong. We think we have it figured out.
And then we have them.
These glorious miracles. Bundles of joy. Powder fresh gurgling, googling, smiling wonders of cuteness and life.
These hellacious, never sleeping, always talking, stubborn, mind-of-their-own, feisty, strong-willed little versions of ourselves.
And there are so many things we do as parents that we never, in a million years, imagined.
For example, I never thought I’d . . .
Use my hand to block an erupting pee fountain from getting on the clean clothing sitting at the end of the changing table.
Tell a human being not to lick me. Multiple times. With each and every kid.
Encourage my baby NOT to start walking. (in my defense, this was the third one, so I knew what walking meant, and I never actually pushed him down to prevent him from walking, though the thought may or may not have crossed my mind)
Pee with an audience. Daily.
Ignore the shouts for “Mom. Mom. Mom. Mama. Mama. Mommy. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom.”
Stick my kids in front of a screen to get just one episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse worth of a break. And then allow 3-4 more.
Fall asleep in the middle of reading a story. Outloud. On more than one occasion.
Teach my child the sniff test as I encourage her to just pull something out of the dirty bin.
The list, of course, could go on. And really, I’m assuming that most parents can identify with these. But, then, we throw some differently wired kids into the mix and the list gets even weirder.
For example, I never thought I’d . . .
Encourage my oldest to push with all his might as he and I sandwiched another child and tried to squeeze the living bejeebers out of her in an effort to give the sensory input she was asking for.
Literally take the bathroom door off its hinges in order to get to my melting down daughter to keep her safe.
Have a lock on the outside of my child’s door so I can sequester her and keep her safe and the rest of us safe during really bad, aggressive meltdowns.
Be corrected on the pronunciation of a dinosaur name by a preschooler.
Explain and theorize about life and death and life after death with a 3 year old.
Stay up late crafting red tissue paper filled human dummies so my surgery-obsessed daughter and all her friends could perform mock surgery at her 8th birthday party.
Have to institute talking time outs.
Install a home OT room in my basement.
Teach chemistry to a 5 year old.
Not care as a wagon load of Christmas tree getters passed by staring as I had my daughter in a physical hold down in the mud and snow.
Have a 2 year old demonstrate such logic and negotiation skills that I felt he earned that piece of chocolate cake I was trying to avoid giving him.
Rejoice so extremely and fill with pride when a 9 year old walks down the stairs alternating feet instead of one step at a time.
Feel so ill equipped and empty and still manage to find a way to put one foot in front of another.
Understand what it means to love someone who’s incapable of giving any warm fuzzies back.
Find my own empowered voice and embrace my inner mama bear.
Connect on such a deep level with people I barely know simply because our children are wired similarly.
This parenting journey is not for the weak of heart. And it isn’t at all what I imagined it would be. Many days, I wish it could look different. And then other days, I look at all the things I’ve done that I thought I’d never do, and I can’t wait to discover what’s next.
How about you? What’s something you’ve done as a parent of a differently wired kiddo that you never thought you’d do? Share with us people who get it in the comments below.