4 Ways My Son Changed Me for the Better This Year

disneylandWhen you have a child, people tell you that becoming a parent will change you. I'd always thought they meant I'd become more tired and cranky. (Mission accomplished!) But what took me by surprise is how many things I used to hate -- or at least dislike -- that I came to love. Like kids' music and robots and pirates.

Forget about shaping your child. Your child shapes you. Goodbye, grown-up vacations in foreign cities, touring museums and lingering in cafes. Now we're chasing manta rays and sharks in Florida -- a place I had absolutely ZERO interest in before I became a parent. I'm adding that to the list of things I used to dislike but learned to love in 2011.

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Disneyland. I never wanted to go to Disneyland. Ever. It just looked like a gross, cheesy waste of money. But then our son got it into his head that he wanted to go and we finally gave in. And when we got there, we totally surrendered: Wore the hats, rode every ride, loved every minute, can't wait to go again. Who knew?

Gaming. It started in preschool with the innocent little "Sesame Street" online games. Little by little, my son was drawn into the world of gaming. I couldn't relate at first -- it's all pretty boring to me (except "Cut the Rope"). And we set limits on the screen time, sort of. But then we finally broke down and got our son a Wii for Christmas. Now I know what all the fuss is about! And I bet I can kick your butt at archery -- on Wuhu island, that is.

Legos. Growing up I always thought of Legos as the toys you play with if you're unlucky enough not to be born a girl -- because girls have Barbie dolls, glorious, long-haired Barbie dolls. Then I had a boy. And he loves Legos, of course. I hate stepping on those little pieces in the middle of the night, but I love building with them. Endless possibilities! Stupid Barbies -- what was I thinking?!?

They Might Be Giants. Oh sure, I thought their "Istanbul Not Constantinople" hit was kind of cute years ago, but mostly I thought the band was kind of dorky, and I could do without the nasally vocals. But then we discovered their kids' music, especially their album Here Comes Science, and I was blown away. So clever, so smarty-pants! We both love it.

So here's to another year of forced change through my kid. Seeing the world through his eyes has been the best thing about 2011. I've dared him to get me to like roller coasters this year!

Have your kids made you change your mind about anything?

 

Image via Adriana Velez

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