They say it takes a village to raise a child. And whoever said that was not kidding. Parenting is hard. You find yourself questioning yourself constantly. Am I doing the right thing? Am I handling this situation correctly? Am I going to do psychological damage to my kid requiring me to pay a shit load of money for therapy for him when he is sixteen? Mostly, I ask myself these questions when I am at my wits end.
You know those times when the world almost ended because your little bundle of joy lost his dummy and wants back it now. When you try to dress your little poop factory when, according to him, clothes are evil and from the devil and all he wants to be is naked. When he wants to play with a remote and you say no and he cries as if you just killed a puppy. Being a parent has taught me a lot of things. Most importantly, it taught me that nothing can prepare you for parenthood and you just have to fake it until you make it.
At this stage I think the first word my son is going to say is the word “no”. I try not to excessively use the word no but when he is about to do something that will either hurt or kill him I don’t really have a choice. My son also has a six sense about where all the dangerous objects are in this house.
All cupboards and draws with childproof lock on them fascinate him. It’s like he is hell bent on proofing that not all childproof locks are actually “childproof”. He is also fascinated with our cats’ food, the rocks on our indoor water feature, well actually anything that is not nailed down and within reach of him. He has also now learned that he can throw things which is a good developmental skill for him but not so good for everybody else.
My son will frequently stand in his cot and throw everything out of it, including his pillow, blanket and mattress protector. Then when there is nothing left to throw he will try to climb out of it. And one of these days he will get it right and it is a rather far way down to the ground for a 10 month old. I suspect he throws all his stuffed toys, pillow and other items out of the cot in order to provide him with a soft landing. I also suspect that he has been designing his cot escape plan for a while now.
Being a parent has also taught me to lie and to be sneaky. Whenever my son spots something that he wants to play with that he really shouldn’t I will hide it the moment he looks away. If he then starts moaning because it is gone I tell him that it was never there. I am also known to sneak past him and my husband when I need to do stuff because the moment my son sees me he would want me to take him and then nothing gets done. You can only do some many things with one hand.
Going to the bathroom has also become a challenge. I now never stand and pee anymore. I now have to sit down. You see my son follows me around the house like a little shadow and when I go to the bathroom he is there. When I stand and pee he will stand next to the toilet and try and catch my urine with his hand. Nothing grosses kids out at this age and it is quite disgusting. So sitting down circumvents this and makes life more hygienic for everybody. Because playing with pee is not ok.
Cooking dinner and eating has also changed radically since our son came. When I cook dinner now my son clings to my leg. He does this all the time. When I pick him up and put him on the counter the first thing he will gun for is the knives. I have tried putting him in his feeding chair but he has tried to climb out of it on several occasions. I did try strapping him in the chair once. It was a big mistake. He acted like he was strapped to the electric chair and about to be executed. So now I try to cook dinner when he goes to bed. We have also adjusted our eating habits around his sleeping schedule. We did this because we like our meals hot and not cold which is the case if you get your timing wrong.
Then there is the thing I now call the ankle buster otherwise known as a walking ring. Do you know how badly your ankles can get bruised when you are hit with one of those things at full speed? It hurts like a motherfucker and if having purple and blue ankles were a sign of domestic violence many people would have raised eyebrows. My son has also learned that he can block my way with his ankle buster. If he doesn’t want me to leave a room he would go stand in the doorway and refuse to move thinking it is a game. However, when I move him out of the way he would cry because I clearly don’t understand the rules of the game. I mean really, I don’t even know the game never mind the rules.
There is nothing in our house that has not been licked or sucked on and that includes our cats. Just the other day I caught my son sucking on one of our cat’s ears. The poor cat had this defeated look on his face and seemed to be thoroughly traumatized as if this was not the first time this has happened. Honestly, I could not blame him; I would be too if I was ear molested against my will. I don’t know why babies and toddlers do this and it is gross. Imagine an adult going to a store and once you get to the checkout counter you start licking and sucking on the counter while your goods are being rung up; or if you meet someone and then take their phone and then put it in your mouth. Well this is what our son does all the time and with everything. He has no preference and anything will get licked or sucked on, even your cat’s ears.
I think the hardest challenge that lies ahead for us as gay parents is when our son realizes that we are not a conventional family. The day he starts asking questions as to which one of us was pregnant and why he has two daddies. Why his skin color and hair is different from ours and the day I will have to explain to him how a vagina works. Not that I really know myself but I suspect Google will be helpful at that time. These questions will probably make us long for the days when our son was sucking on and licking household objects, throwing things out of his cot, trying to catch our pee and clinging to our legs. I do try and enjoy every moment of my son being at this age, albeit that it is sometimes hard. My son gives the best hug, has a contagious laugh and heart melting smile. This is what makes it all worth it even if I one day will have to research vaginas.
Till next time.
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