1.23.2014

Terrible Things about Parenting That I Love

You know how there are some universally-feared elements of raising children? Some of them bear out for me. Car trips with young children are Not My Favorite. But I'm surprised by how much I appreciate some of the other classic "terrible" things about parenting young children.

1. Grocery shopping with children
I enjoy grocery shopping anyway; it appeals to my aspirational personality. When I am in a grocery store I can be a Person Who Buys Kale and not a Person Who Buys Junk Food, even though I somehow always manage to consume plenty of junk food, too. I think I might like the idea of cooking more than actually firing up the stove, and what is grocery shopping but the idea of cooking? But I actually like bringing the girls along most of all. They are (usually) exceedingly well-behaved in grocery stores, and helpful, too. We talk about all the different things we're buying, and if we're at Trader Joe's we have a ball looking for the monkey. Yesterday he was perched above the oil, and Juliette is very conscientious about reporting his location to the cashiers. In order to remember where he is, she can often be found mumbling to herself, "by the hummus, by the hummus, by the hummus." As it turns out, Juliette cannot say the word "oil" to save her life. Especially when she's trying to say it over and over again. You try - "oil, oil, oil..." We were laughing so hard when we went to pay for our purchases. It is, quite simply, way more fun to buy kale, hummus, and olive oil with Juliette and Genevieve in tow.

2. Bedtime
This hasn't always been the case; when I was still holding onto the pipe dream that my children would drift off to sleep without parental assistance, I struggled to be patient. But now I cherish our simple bedtime routine - books, prayers, songs, and eventually... wait for it... not quite yet... sleep. Genevieve currently requests that I sing "Part of Your World" every single night, just as Juliette requested that I tell the "Three Little Pigs" every single night when she was that age. I love the snuggles, and the whispered conversations, and that there's rarely any struggle anymore - from them, or from me. 

3. Co-sleeping
Once upon a time, I wrote that Juliette could co-sleep until Kindergarten or Kingdom Come. Um, we may need to revise that statement. Maybe First grade or Forever, whichever comes last? They both still show up sometime during the night, and even though sometimes it is less than lovely to have a small foot in the small of your back at 4:00am, I'm mostly okay with the situation. (Having invested in a king-sized bed helps immensely.) I know they feel most secure when they are right there with us, and if I'm going to be completely honest, I feel most secure, too. I know immediately if they are sick, and their quiet breathing is the best antidote to my late-night anxieties. And letting them show up in the middle of the night gives us more time with them, and they won't be little children forever.

4. The Stomach Flu
To be clear, I do not love the stomach flu itself. I hate the stomach flu, and what it does to my poor little girls. They both had it bad in December. That thing I said about knowing immediately if they are sick in the night? I share a pillow with Genevieve. I knew she was throwing up before she did. No, I do not love the stomach flu. But this deep maternal instinct kicks in for me when my children are sick. I love them even more than I did before they started yakking, and my empathy is so fierce it's almost as if I'm ill, too. (Of course, there could be other factors contributing to that sensation.)


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