By Grace Wisser of Wonderful Life of Mom
Much has been written about the fact that parenthood puts you on the front lines of human excretion and bodily fluids. Sometimes this means being the lucky recipient of your child’s projectile vomiting. Other times it revolves around the constant maintenance children need to keep every orifice, from their ears to their nether regions, scrubbed clean to ward off potential infection. It’s a daunting task, but one that we sign up for when we become parents.
As baby grows, the parents’ incessant needing to clip toenails, wipe bums, and shampoo their heads of hair slowly tapers off. Independence and self-assurance take hold. If you keep a blind eye to quality-control and with the occasional nudging, your little ones will begin to spearhead their own hygiene practices.
It’s hard to believe that as a parent, I will miss those moments of brushing my kids’ teeth – for the second time — or swiping around the toilet seat after my son’s misfired in it. I have a sneaking suspicion I will. Even though there are plenty of other guilty pleasures to be nostalgic about, here are the ones that are the dearest to my heart.
Bathroom besties. Not since junior high have I had the pleasure of companionship in the bathroom. Call it the post-potty-training syndrome. Once a toddler is no longer wearing diapers, parents can rejoice, but alas, bathroom independence does not go from A to Z overnight. Being ever-present in their toilet matters, you are at your child’s beck and call. Might as well bring the chamber pot back in fashion. If you venture in public with the post-potty-trainer, better hope those bathroom stalls are large enough for the two of you.
Short term memory alibi. Parenthood means lots of juggling. Sidetracked thinking and distraction replaces previous methodologies of problem solving. The thought of grabbing a glass of water is no longer a simple task. It gets buried under the mountain of other activities that is snack snatching, toxic waste disposing, sibling refereeing, toy mending, and meltdown counseling. As children age, short term memory is restored to adequate capability. The “I forgot” excuse no longer holds the credibility it once had, much to your disadvantage.
The human cup hand. When kids are little, they are trying out lots of new food. Many times their first reaction is to spit out what they dislike – into your hand. Since you have no time to reach for a proper napkin, your knee-jerk reaction is to plant your palm underneath their mouths. Like a little bird, your toddler regurgitates every bit of rejected edible delight into your bare fingers. Sometimes, it is just an honor to be recognized. Doing this enough creates an entitlement dynamic until you learn to say “no,” directing your offspring to the nearest garbage can.
Spontaneous storytelling. Haven’t you heard of the Porta potty Boogeyman? Or the Toyful Dodger? One lurks in germ-infested, grimy, claustrophobic portable bathrooms that you were warned against using before leaving the house without emptying your tank. The other parcels out your kids’ toys at their free-will if picking up after themselves is accompanied with whining. Nothing is better than a parent’s active imagination to keep up with kids’ cognitive development.
Boogie de-stresser. I am harboring a shameful secret. When my kid sports a crusty, greenish booger that seems permanently affixed on the outer rim of their nasal passage, I get excited. The prospect of plucking their dried mucus blockage gives me the same sense of accomplishment as running half a marathon. The bigger it is, the higher my euphoria post removal. My children have a different opinion about this altogether. I learn to withdraw my tactics after a certain age when I can no longer pounce on them with a surprise attack without battling retaliation.
Swallowing whole feet. Call it a special talent. Before callouses, before bunions, before cracked heels and dead cells accumulate, I love me some baby feet. I am still enamored of my 3-year-old’s fine set of virgin toes. Bringing myself to suckle the toes of my 7-year-old is another matter. My preschooler’s feet are still deliciously tasty, teeny, and appealing. Not the case with my older son whose sheer size of foot I no longer regard as delectable. Days are numbered with this guilty pleasure of mine, so I better enjoy it while I can.
Guilty pleasures are sometimes embarrassing, a little shameful, and oh-so-delightful. It is their unique ability to entice your subconscious and leave you longing for more that’s so tantalizing. My sons are growing up quite wonderfully, yet I cannot help that my memories of them will also be filled with the bittersweet fondness that comes with the passage of time. Till then, I’ll continue onward with my toe-suckling, forgetfulness, fibbing, bathroom-adventures lifestyle.
About the Author
A newbie to the blogging culture, Grace Wisser’s work has recently appeared on Scary Mommy, BluntMoms, and Club Mid. Her blog discusses the reason why parenthood is life’s ultimate yin and yang. She’s on twitter @GraceWisser.