We all know those judgmental thoughts that you had before having a kid. Everyone has that list of things you said you would never do. I will never have a kid that acts like a possessed banshee at the store. I will never have a kid that looks you right in the eyes as he does exactly what you said not to do. I will never have a kid that runs the other direction when I call for him. I will never eat a half-chewed leftover chicken nugget. I was just as guilty as the next kidless person to give disapproving looks at the parents with a screaming toddler disrupting my dinner. Here is the thing, those without children have no idea. I had no fucking clue.
Let’s start with a simple concept. Eating.
Eating out: Ha. Jokes. My kid is almost two, so there is no peaceful eating out as a family. For example last week, we tried to eat out at a fish fry. My kid stood up in his chair, started to fall, I grabbed his leg, he grabbed the plate of food, fish and kid ended up on the floor. The kitchen offered up a super old high chair after we cleaned up the calamity. Embarrassing.
Eating at home: Feeding a toddler is like an Olympic sport. Food is everywhere. A sticky layer of god-knows-what covers everything. Our dog enjoys a smorgasbord of food purposely tossed on the floor for her feasting. One bite for the kid, two bites tossed to the dog. Even with the complete lack of coordination and grace, there is a flawless arch in his throw as his dinner dances across the room.
In this sport, there are no metals or awards given out at the finish line. Here is what I get at mealtimes instead: a disgusting, dirty, gross, nasty-ass mess. This kid manages to get food everywhere- in his ears, up his nose, and of course, the floor, table, walls, ceiling, living room couch, bedroom door, you know, pretty much everywhere. This week during dinner, my kid rubbed chunks of meatloaf on his shirtless belly, face and in his hair before eating each bite. Why? I have no idea. He only did it with his meatloaf. It was awkward to watch and I was a little worried he might be developing some weird meatloaf fetish.
Eating with company: Saturday, my best friend was over for dinner, and my kid decided to get naked and, for the first time, successfully removed his diaper on his own. To his credit, he got the diaper off and took it right to the garbage can.
New parents quickly learn you have control over very little. I didn’t really know what to expect when our family grew. I was oblivious to the spectacle that life becomes with a little one. I am sometimes embarrassed when we go out and my kid is the banshee in the store, or that my floor is sticky from all the food fed to the dog, and I will start to warn visitors that my kid likes to get naked and maybe rub food on himself. It is a spectacle that I wouldn’t have any other way.