Parenthood: expectations and reality

This year it’s 4 years ago our twins were born which means I am a parent for 4 years already and somehow I feel like making up a balance sheet of my expectations. See, before you become a parent you have all these ideas about what will be hard and what may not be so hard. So let’s make up a balance…

Things that were as hard as expected:

  • breastfeeding. You just delivered a baby and you want your body back. But no, now they need your breasts. Not easy, often painful, it can take forever (especially with premature babies) and you feel like a cow. And yes, you feel some sort of satisfaction that you can do this for your child, but again… it’s not easy.
  • dealing with tantrums. I always pitied people that had to deal with children throwing a tantrum and I still do. It just happens and it’s shit. And sometimes it takes hours to get them to snap out of it.
  • planning everything. Spontaneous outings are not in the cards anymore. At least not together. Babysits needs to be booked in advance. Sometimes you just want to go and I miss that. I have been told it comes back though, so there is hope. ( Just about 10 years to go and counting down)

Things that were harder than expected:

  • giving birth. O yes that was so much worse than I could ever have imagined. I am not bad at dealing with pain, but this much pain is utterly ridiculous. I continue to be amazed that the human race is still around.
  • interrupted sleep. Don’t get me wrong. The first year was fine. I expected it, I understood it and I dealt with it. Twin parents don’t get to sleep right? But in year 2 and 3 I started to feel and see the consequences. Always tired, often grumpy, no energy for anything. My skin turned grey, less elastic (read: more wrinkles and pimples) and I seemed to look older than I am. Four years later my body is still trying to make up for lost sleep.

Things that went better than expected:

  • Potty training. I was really worried about wet floors and beds, piles of laundry, endless trying and everything. But honestly, when you have had years of nappy changing, cleaning bottoms and exploded poopy nappies, this is such a welcome change.
  • Actual parenting. Set aside the tantrums; kids are fun. It’s a joy to show and teach them new stuff, it’s fantastic to see them develop and to be a witness of how fast they grow and learn. Little humans are simply amazing and they make me happy every day.

Things I did not think about beforehand at all but are worth mentioning:

  • School is back. Every day (from 2,5 years old in Belgium) you have to take your children to school. I was done, I did my 20 years of education. I never wanted to see a school in my life again. But it’s just like I’ve started school again. Every day for at least 10 years until they can go by themselves. Be on time, rush rush, don’t be late. And now I need to set the example! And I am not even at the (helping-with-)homework-phase,  but oooo I am dreading it.
  • You can’t stop weird things from happening. For instance: When a child (your child) decides he wants to lick a pole on the tram he does that. You could not even phantom anyone doing that, but they will. And you will be taken by surprise. And will be completely disgusted. They also may pick up random garbage in the street to show you or to take home (and throw a tantrum when you say no).

 

What were your expectations of parenthood? And how do you look at them now? 🙂 🙂

Going to the toilet…

Once children are fully potty-trained going to the toilet is not an issue anymore, right? At first you regularly remind them and soon they tell you when they need to go themselves and as they grow older they will eventually stop doing this and just go. Yeah, that’s what I thought. The reality with 3-year olds is a bit different. Let me tell you what happens when a 3-year old child needs to go to the toilet.

3-year old is playing and suddenly he screams very loudly: ‘AAAAAAA Pipiiiiiiiii!!!’
He stops what he is doing and runs to mama. (Usually this is the opposite direction of the toilet.)
Mom calls: ‘Go the toilet, go, go, go!’
3-year old: ‘Okay!’ Runs away and gets distracted by a toy.
Mom: ‘That is not the toilet, go do your pipi!’
3-year old lets go of toy, goes in the direction of the toilet. Stops. Comes back to Mommy.’ Mom, I will put my pants down all the way so no accidents.’
Mom: ‘Great, now hurry.’
3-year old runs off again.
BUMP.
‘Outch.’
Silence.
3-year old runs back to Mommy again. ‘Mom, I hurt my …. (fill in). Please give a kiss.
Mommy gives a kiss. ‘Now go, before it’s too late.’
3-year old runs to the toilet again.
And is either on time. Or not.

Monday morning

You know it’s Monday morning when…

  • You want to rinse out the potty in the bath and accidentally turn on the shower and get soaked
  • You realise only after making the boys’ sandwiches that their lunchboxes have been in their backpacks since Friday
  • You’re running late, are finally ready to go and then one of the boys needs to do a ‘kaka’

Family dinners… usually cold

Since the boys turned one we have always tried to have dinner together. I like the idea that a family has at least one moment each day to sit together, share a meal and tell their stories. In theory this sounds great, the practise with small children means that the parents usually eat a cold dinner. In the beginning we would just feed the boys first and then dish up our own food, while they were babbling and messing around with their yoghurt.
But once they were around 20 months they ate quite well by themselves and we actually could all eat together. This is when the boys discovered additions like mayonnaise and gravy (more sauce mommy please) and salt and pepper (I want to shake it mommy!).
Let’s pretend there were never tantrums (I don’t like it mommy, want to play mommy, meh mommy, meh) and say these were lovely times of blissful warm family dinners.
The age of two/ two-and-a-half brought different times again. Mainly due to potty training and the fact that they sit on trip-trap chairs now and can get on and off by themselves.
Before dinner there is always the battle of washing hands. But now we have added going to the loo to that, so it takes forever to get them to be ready for dinner.
One of our boys is already potty-trained and has discovered he gets to walk away from the table whenever he says he needs to do a pipi. As happy as I am to have him nappy-free, the undesirable side-effect is that my dinner once more is going cold due to countless visits to the bathroom. Our other son is about to discover this as well, we have already had some fights about who gets to sit on which toilet or potty so there are many more cold meals to follow. Maybe I should start making salads more often…

© Carien Touwen 2017