These are trite and silly, but stick out in my mind as simple surprises about parenting I never, ever expected. My mind was blown at my lack of preparation – no matter how prepare I felt.
(I never felt prepared.)
But despite my instincts, these simple surprises about parenting never failed to astonish me.
1. “Granny Hour”
But at about six weeks, when my kid became inconsolably irritated and annoying, my sleep-deprived mind didn’t realize THAT is when they need the 5 S’s. I just wallowed in their irritation without THEN employing the 5 S’s. Consequently, I was suffering more than they.
A friend told me it was “Granny Hour”.
In olden days when we lived in tribal villages (read: without YouTube), Granny realized that Daddy needed a drink around 5pm and she’d come over and bounce Junior so that Daddy could get fresh air (into his glass of wine). Nobody told me that the 5 S’s were for what would become Granny/Witching/Hell hour…and that it would go on for the first three months of infancy.
I don’t know what I expected, but it wasn’t a daily 4:30-6:30 hellish period of whining and suffering (MY own.)
2. That 3-6 months would be relatively easy.
Hate to break it to you, new parents, but after your kid eases their incessant irritation, starts sleeping through the night, and even Granny hour becomes less severe, you’ll have a couple months of bliss (months 3-6).
But don’t worry – it gets infinitely harder.
Enjoy those months of happy baby who doesn’t actually do anything but coo and poop and charm you. Go out to eat, NOW and OFTEN while your kid still fits in the car seat bucket. Your world is about to get rocked.
With the era of sitting up and cruising around furniture comes the beginning of the end of your independence. That kid needs stimulation: now and always. Thus begins the era of you needing to hide your phone in your best daddy diaper bag as you double-task playtime. You have to start the mind-numbing process of baby babble and shaking rattles for what feels like hours (but is only 7 minutes). But that’s seriously when everything changes.
It’s all good. You’ll love it, blah, blah, blah. But you have it so easy in those first six months.
I wasn’t expecting that.
3. Raisins in poop
My kids eat lots of mixtures of yogurt, apple sauce and raisins for breakfast. It took me a few diaper changes to realize they hadn’t swallowed whole kidney beans for lunch the previous day. Those are raisins. They’re swallowing them whole and, apparently, they bloat during their journey down the digestive track. Now, I knew corn doesn’t fully digest (Corn? When did I eat corn?), but apparently if baby teeth don’t chew through raisins, they don’t digest, either. Food for thought.
I wasn’t expecting that.
4. “I don’t love you”
Once after a nap, my then 3-yo declared “Daddy, I don’t love you”. It was out of nowhere. I wasn’t yelling, they weren’t in time out, there was no stress; they just walked out of their room, looked at me, and said it.
I kept my cool and responded, “Well, that’s OK. I’ll love you always forever and no matter what.”
They looked at me.
Then they asked, “Can I have some juice, please?”
I figured since I passed that little test, we both deserved some juice.
(But I wasn’t expecting “I don’t love you” for another 6 years.)
5. Babies and toddlers can be assholes
They don’t want to be assholes. It’s not their intention. But mine terrorize me with their dissatisfaction toward everything. They can be happily playing for a record-breaking twenty minutes. Everyone’s happily babbling along. Then the seal of happy cuteness is broken.
They trip over an errant Thomas train (though they trip 72 times/day).
Or a blanket is stuck under a chair (Really? You have to have THIS blanket right NOW)
Or that book that they’ve never ever paid any attention to is held by the terrorist sibling so a tug-of-war/screaming/crying fight ensues. Over “Pajama Time”.
Really? You never even LIKE this book!
And then they’re dissatisfied for what feels like the next seventeen hours. Yes.
Toddlers are terrorist assholes.
So apparently “Granny Hour” isn’t left behind in infancy. The cycle begins anew.
I just wasn’t expecting that.