Ten minutes of free time feels like a lifetime of opportunities. Oh, where should I start? Peeing in peace with the door closed, having a smoke, checking my email? So many options!
You learn to communicate efficiently. For instance, at home, “sssss” and a quick eye roll means “get the bed ready I think he is passing out”. Arched eyebrows means “he pooped”. And we can have a full argument in a whisper. Talk about a valuable life skill to have!
My arms have never been so toned, probably from pushing the stroller (and yes, I have calluses on my hands too!) and holding Mark. Who needs to go to the gym when you have a toddler? And bathing him is equivalent to a full yoga session, except the stretches are less gentle (and you get more wet).
You can make fun of your kid. Feng and I love to imitate “Mark who bumps his head against the floor trying to lick it”, “Mark walking and crash landing” or the mini-tantrums he throws when he can’t reach something.
The kitchen floor has never been cleaner. Before, mopping was an after-through, a chore I would undertake if I felt domestic. Now it’s a necessity if I don’t want to step on mashed bananas or carry crumbs everywhere.
Tired of taking pictures of the same old landmarks? With a kid, you never run out of creative moments. It’s like having your own free photo model with you all the time. Mark learned to smile on cue when he was just a few weeks old (should I feel bad about that? Meh!).
You get to ride the carrousel again and you don’t look like a weirdo (even if you have to pretend you are doing it just for your kid). You also get to explore McDonalds’ playground (bonus for not getting stuck in the slide!). And you can do Halloween!
Occasionally, you can jump the queue, especially at the airport. And instead of being pissed off, strangers smile as you and your kid as you walk to the front of the line with the stroller.
Any mundane activity that should take a few minute of your time takes at least three times that. Ever tried to fold the laundry with a kid? Don’t. But on the plus side, time goes by faster and there is never a dull moment.
You can blame any screw up on having “mommy brain”. Forgot to pay your credit card? Blame it on your kid! Warning: this works well for the first few weeks/months, not so much after.
You make most old folks smile. It makes my day every time we walk by the retirement home close to the house, when Mark waves at random people and older folks take the time to have a chat.
Kids are a great conversation starter. Like, when they grab some random dude’s shoes at the playground or when they reach for someone else’s grocery basket at the supermarket. Okay, that’s kind of embarrassing too sometime.
You gain a new appreciation for anyone who works with kids. Seriously, kind selfless souls choose to spend their days educating a bunch of toddlers? They should get paid billions of dollars. At least. And it should be subsidized, of course, because I can’t afford daycare.
You gain a better relationship with your in-laws. Well, not necessarily better but… different. Instead of doling out advice about your work, your health and your life, they focus on their one and only grand-child. Sure, they may screw up your education but meanwhile you get some peace and some much-needed alone time. So what if they dress Mark like a baby girl and feed him too much? It’s a small price to pay, right?
You gain a new appreciation for your own parents. I have no idea how mine dealt with the three of us in a tiny apartment with little money and full-time jobs. And raised us right.
Is there anything cuter than baby clothes? No, I don’t think so. Unfortunately, they aren’t priced by how little fabric is used for these tiny outfits. But hey, you can look, right?