Saturday, February 9, 2008

Parenthood is Humbling

There is nothing quite so humbling as becoming a parent.

From the moment you hold that little person in your arms, you realize just how miraculous life is. Simultaneously, you realize how stupid you really are.

Here is this person who is completely reliant on you, and you can’t even figure out which side of the disposable diaper to put under the baby. Do the Velcro tabs go up or down?

That, of course, is just the beginning. From then on, a parent is beleaguered by questions and feelings of inadequacy. Is he eating enough? Sleeping enough? Talking? Walking? Jumping?

Asking medical professionals for help is always a little bit daunting. There is the first trip to the ER for what turns out to be a virus. Then there is the first call to the poison control center for the ingestion of some substance (White-Out, in my son’s case). While the professionals are usually kind, there is always a touch of condescension in their voices, and you are certain that when the phone is hung up or you are out of earshot, the nurse will exclaim to her colleague, “Can you believe people like that are allowed to be parents?”

While parenthood has, indeed, made me feel stupid (which my second-grader reminds me regularly by rolling his eyes at my advice), it has also made me wise. I have learned amazing lessons from my children.

I have learned that kisses can cure nearly any wound. Oxi-clean really does get out nearly any stain. Nothing is cuter than the sight of a toddler in footed pajamas running through the house with a blanket in one hand and a bear dangling by one arm in the other.

I have learned that there are at least 50 types of beetles living in our backyard and that none of them will live in captivity longer than three days. Kool-Aid stains on faces take at least three soapy washes to come off. Pencils don’t flush, but Q-tips do.

I have learned that you can’t pull a pea out of a nostril; it must be pushed. It is impossible for a first-grade boy to keep his shoes tied longer than one hour. Computer programs with auto-save are invaluable when typing columns with a toddler in your lap.

I have learned that no matter what I look like, my children think I’m beautiful. Kids really do grow overnight, and they can, in fact, move up two shoe sizes in the period of three weeks. Children are just as happy in the backyard with a peanut butter sandwich as they would be at Chuck E. Cheese, as long as you are there with them.

I have learned that a human body can function for months with only four hours of sleep each night. Kids will wait until the middle of church before wetting their pants, saying their first cuss word, or asking why the lady in front of you has bad breath.

I have learned that I am capable of memorizing the words to countless children’s songs and books, but I have trouble remembering the day of the week. Cookies taste better when they are lovingly smashed onto the cookie sheet by the hand of a four-year-old. Toddlers cannot eat pancakes without getting syrup in their hair.

These are just a few of the lessons I have learned while parenting, but probably the greatest lesson of all is that my potential lies within them. Our future, as individuals as well as agriculturalists, lies within these little people. That is a very humbling thought, indeed.

1 comment:

BoufMom9 said...

So true! Especially like what you learned about church! If I had a dime for every time one of my kids did something embarassing in church....

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