The other day I was watching one of those commercials for some medication, where a bee or a butterfly or a ladybug tells me how to get more sleep or be less depressed -- and after the obligatory listing of what said drug may cause, I realized I already have most of those side effects, simply from being a parent.
Which is why I’m suggesting kids come with a warning label ... you know, so there are no surprises? Maybe we could redesign those generic hospital blankies into big soft yellow swaddlers with a list on the back in bold black writing and send new parents home with one.
I think it should say something like this:
Warning, Children May Cause ...
Memory Loss: You will be able to sing every word to the theme song of The Facts of Life, but you may find yourself shampooing a second time because you can’t remember whether you already did it before you conditioned.
Panic Attacks: Never had them before? Try leaving your child on the first day of school or running late to your child’s first recital ... how about losing him/her for a whole five minutes at Barnes & Noble (I called a Code Adam on that one) ... I’m not even including visits to the ER.
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Restlessness: Expect to be aware of every sound in your home, keenly aware. You will know the blip of the monitor, a faint cough, the beep of the fridge, the pacing of the dog that needs to go out, the buzz of the timer on the dryer, the bing of the smoke detector running low on battery, the wooosh of a toilet being flushed rooms away, the scratchy gulp of a child with impending strep, the crackle of a crib being climbed ... And those sounds will be amplified as if you have some sort of sonar -- then try to fall into a deep sleep. (PS: Your mate will not hear any of them.)
Hallucinations: As a fun addition to your sonar hearing, you will hear and see things that aren’t there. Do not expect to shower, dry your hair, vacuum, just chill, or sleep without being convinced someone is crying, calling your name, or has fallen or is out of bed. You will check more than someone with OCD checks the oven. Oh, and you’ll check that too.
Twitching: For the first eight months after my son was born, my eye twitched so much -- 17 creepy men in grocery stores turned me down. Puh-lease, don’t flatter yourselves men, if I were hitting on you, I wouldn’t wink while covered in spit-up!
Sleeplessness: You will be somewhat alert from the time your children need feedings every hour or two, until they have a curfew ... maybe longer.
Weight Gain: This is simple math: Add in eating everyone’s leftovers and then subtract the time you have left for consistent workouts. Multiply that times pie and eat it.
Irritability: When you’re on three hours of sleep and you’ve spent your day cleaning pee, doing the thousandth load of laundry, finally getting out to run an errand (but realizing you forgot your wallet), waiting in the car until your child wakes from an impromptu nap, and trying to remember how to do algebra -- how could you not explode when your husband says “Hi”? Add in working from home and a Caillou marathon for good measure.
Confusion: There will be times when you cannot remember your age, where you left your glasses (they’re on your head), where you left your cellphone (you're talking on it), what's going on in a conversation that YOU initiated, or your husband's name (until you've called him every name you know, including the dog’s). That is normal.
Bruising: Be prepared to get kicked in the nose or teeth, take a wiffle bat to the groin, have a finger jammed in your ear, or a ball flung at your skull -- just cuz.
Dizziness: So, you’ve recently realized that since having kids, you can no longer go on spinny things, ride facing the wrong way in a vehicle, or turn in a circle without feeling queasy? Bwahahaha -- your kids will want you to swing them in circles (faster), spin with them until they fall, and accompany them on Tilt-a-Whirl and Mad Hatter’s Tea Party type rides until they’re too embarrassed to be seen with you in public ... good luck.
Sexual Dysfunction: Expect some changes to your sex patterns -- where, when, how often, how long, and what types of things you'll choose in lieu of sex (like sleep or a shower, or a game of Words With Friends).
Brain Fog: Expect to have a clouded hazy vision of your children growing up. As much as you try to savor each year, each age, your memories of those times will feel as if they’ve been smeared with Vaseline. (Let's hope the brain fog covers the guilt you'll feel after not keeping a perfect baby book.)
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Shortness of Breath: Chase me Mommy, catch me Mommy, throw me Mommy, carry my bike home Mommy, flip me Mommy, give me a piggy back ride Mommy, spin me around Mommy, build me a fort Mommy, juggle me in one hand with the cat and the dog in the other Mommy ...
Numbness and Cramping: There will be times when your child falls asleep on you or near you, and though you can no longer feel your extremities, you will not move a single cell. For cramping: Escaping the room of a lightly sleeping child by inching out over the course of an hour ... then see a chiropractor.
Heartache: There will many times when your little one enters a new phase of independence and self-reliance -- this is a good thing -- but it will make you feel surprisingly sad. As much as you love seeing your child grow up, it is inexplicably crushing when you realize that a phase has ended.
Well, I'll start printing the blanket ...
PS: I'm thinking we could put this on condom boxes too. I mean, if you're not trying for a baby, this is a lot scarier than a warning about STDs, don't you think?
Image via JennyFromTheBlog/TheSuburbanJungle