Thursday, January 17, 2008

Owners Manual

My old Ford Escort did this funny thing where once every six months to a year, it just wouldn't start. Turn the key, and there was nothing. The first time, I tried to jump it...nothing. I don't remember what made me look in the owner's manual. Common sense tells me, even now, that the problem is way beyond anything in the appendix. But sure enough, there was an entry about this funny little problem with some emergency shut off switch that can get tripped accidentally. I turns off the flow of fuel to the engine, so that the car doesn't blow up in a accident. So, somewhere in the trunk, I flipped this switch that, until then, I didn't even know existed, and voila!- problem solved.

Funny, quirky, inconvenient, counterintuitive, but totally managable and even downright logical once you know what to look for.

Kinda like parenting sometimes.

So here are some things I would include in a baby/toddler owners manual.

- Put babies and kids down to sleep before they are tired.
- Pee when you have time, because when you really have to go, you probably won't have time.
- Drink when you're not thirsty....same reason.
- Lights will always be red when you have a crying baby in the back seat.
- Babies hands can get really stinky from being all balled up 24/7. Clean them with a wipe when you change their diaper.
- Pack a back up diaper bag and just leave it in the trunk of your car, for those times when you thought you had two more diapers in the bag. (thanks liberty!)
- The first 10 days of nursing is totally inconvenient, very confining, and even painful. After that, it's the most convenient, allows tons of freedom, and it hurts NOT to nurse.
- Even though we spend most of our life trying to keep our weight down, there's some sort of pride associated with babies/toddlers gaining weight. If you don't believe me, just ask a mom what "percentile" their child is in.
- Toddlers like to put things in holes. (Noses, trash cans, outlets, drains, cups, you name it.)
- If you put a baby in overalls, the straps usually scrunch up around their ears or in their mouth.
- Babies can grunt and move like a wild animal when they are about two inches away from their next meal.
- I think binkie and pacifier manufacturers secretly created a self destruct feature. Nothing else explains why the approximately 50 binkies we have purchased in the last two years have evaporated into thin air.
- To a parent, that first smile, when a baby is falling asleep and has a little gas, is just as beautiful as if it were a "real smile".

And then a few weeks later, the "real smile" is even better.

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