Today’s post is from my friend and fellow parent, Rob Keane…
I have two children, ages 9 and 3, and they’re great. Before my first one was born, I got a lot of advice, most of it very helpful. But the thing is, it wasn’t the advice that I got that was a problem, it was the advice I didn’t get. I’ve been thinking about this, and here are some things that no one tells you about raising kids:
- You’re going to get sick. A lot. Before having kids, I would get sick maybe once a year, nothing too crazy, maybe have a sore throat and a cough for a couple of days. For the first six months after our first child was born, I had a cold, the flu, and the Ebola virus on constant rotation. My advice? Lots of hand sanitizer.
- Kids lack perspective; be prepared. A couple of weeks ago, my oldest (9 years old) went to a birthday party. It was an all-day affair, starting out with inner-tubing at a snow-covered hill (this was at a special park specifically built for this), then heading to Chuck-E-Cheese for video games and pizza. He comes back at the end of the day, and notices that his brother (3 years old) had visited his Great-Grandmother while he was out, where she had given him two dollars. The older child’s reaction? “HE’S SO LUCKY!”
- Changing diapers isn’t a big deal. Sleeping is. Probably the biggest warning I received was about changing dirty diapers. Now, I’m not recommending it or anything, but once you get the mechanics down and know when to breathe through your mouth, it’s not a big deal. However, what is a big deal is the sleep deprivation, especially in the first year. Just make sure you get sleep while you can.
- You’ll realize just how selfish you are (and it will always be more than you previously thought). This can’t be stressed enough. No matter how patient or generous you are (or think you are), it will be tested after having kids. There’s no “just a minute.” Everything that is demanded of you needs to be taken care of right away. And that’s the way it should be. But combine it with sleep deprivation (see the point 3, above) and it can try even anyone’s patience.
- Some kids are incapable of feeling cold. Take my oldest, for instance. This week, where we’ve had temperatures of 10 degrees (and colder), we’ve still had to have a, um, spirited conversation to get him to put on his coat. Mind you, he’s the first person to want to turn up the heat inside when it’s at a bone-chilling 70 degrees.
- If you go with disposable diapers, choose your disposal method carefully. Do you know the Diaper Genie diaper disposal, the one where you have to wrap the refill bags through a kind of plastic ring, and then wrestle it into another, smaller plastic ring? Yeah, don’t buy that. You’d have better luck fitting a watermelon into a toaster oven. The people behind Diaper Genie have since come out with a newer, much easier-to-use model (which we used for our second child), but just in case someone tries to pawn one of the older ones on you, run.
- Don’t ever, ever let them watch “Caillou.” Just trust me on this one. And you’re welcome.
Is there anything I missed? Talk about it in the comments!
Posted in: Keane Observations