The Alphabetical Guide to Parenthood
Becoming a parent is like signing up for an eternal college course. You will always be a little sleep-deprived, your brain will be over-packed with research and data, and you will sweat when your knowledge is put to the test.
When you have your first baby, that first flesh-of-of-your-flesh, they hand it to you in the hospital, and tell you to feed it a lot.
Then they send you home with a lot of pamphlets on how to keep it alive until its old enough to wriggle across the floor and feed itself Oreo crumbs from under the couch.
After the one year mark, the professionals (and your children) will just assume you've become an expert and stop giving you hints and prompts.
That's where this guide comes in handy. Drop all the heavy parenting textbooks and get back to basics. The secrets of what to expect as your child/children grow are hidden in the ABC's of parenting:
A is for Accident
Before you have a child, accidents are like when you hit a more expensive car in a parking lot, or maybe how you got pregnant to start with.
After you have a baby, "accidents" are things like:
- Leaky diapers
- Spilled milk
- Broken knick-knacks
- Crayon art on your walls
- Saying a word you don't want your kid to repeat (they will).
A is also for Alarm Clock.
A gadget you will no longer need once you have kids. (Unless you need to be up early...in which case your kids will not wake up even after you drag them out of bed and force-feed them super-unleaded cereal.)
B is for Baby
That cute, damp little thing with enormous lungs powered by Duracell batteries on RedBull, the unlimited appetite of a tapeworm, and an early talent for social manipulation.
B is also for boo-boo (aka owie). They might be minor injuries, like missing limbs. Or big, serious stuff, like tangled hair.
And B is Buckles.
So. Many. Buckles. Everything in your life will have a buckle.
C is for Creative Problem Solving
No. You aren't trying to brainstorm how to effectively market a brand, create a more healthy team environment in the workplace, or map out the perfect software to eliminate a world problem.
More like...trying to figure out how to unstick someone's head from someplace head's shouldn't be stuck.
You will become the boss of creative solutions, and you will probably feel like you should get a degree for the fact that there is nothing you can't fix with duct tape, a pool noodle and baby aspirin.
C is also for Car
The most expensive device you will own for rocking your baby to sleep.
D is for Dada
The person who lives in fear of sharp Legos and being told by someone under four that he pours cereal the ''wrong way''.
D is also for Diapers
Amazing inventions that can soak up 75 gallons water from a mud puddle, but can't hold 2 tsps of peepee without leaking from both legholes.
E is for Emergency
Something you will greatly fear in the first few months. Later, your children will insist that everything is an emergency. Really serious stuff too, like when their foot comes out from under their blanket or they need the television channel changed.
F is for Food
A variety of substances that taste much better off of your plate, the floor, and the dog's dish than they do off of the expensive Disney-themed plates you thought would make eating "fun".
Food is also a mystery you will never solve. Why does it taste good on Monday, but not Wednesday? Why does it disappear from the house so fast when no one actually eats anything because it's all so "gross"?
G is for Giggles
The most amazing sound in the world. In order to provoke this sound, you will event a routine of idiotic antics that will only work one or two times.
H is for House
A large compartmentalized box designed to keep toys from overflowing into busy streets.
H is also for Hug
A magical embrace that can cure almost any childhood woe, and makes you feel like a million dollars.
I is for "I Don't Know"
"I don't know" will become a common phrase for both children and adults:
"Why is the baby still crying?"
"I don't know."
"Honey, why is there an elephant in the dishwasher?"
"I don't know."
"How did you get peanut butter inside your socks?"
"I don't know."
Later, it will change slightly to become "I don't want to know."
J is for Junk
Stuff that multiplies when aren't looking, and vanishes when you need it.
J is also for Juggle
A trick moms do while holding a baby, talking on the phone and flipping pancakes at the same time.
K is for Kudos
What you silently give other parents in the store when they look so together.
And also what you give yourself at the end of the day when everyone is still in one piece.
M is for
Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy...
A word that can be placed in front of any sentence.
Also a person with amazing superhero skills when it comes to healing owies, fixing toys, fighting bugs, making food out of "nothing to eat", and finding "lost forever" items.
But who sometimes forgets to put toothpaste on her brush.
N is for No
A word that children cannot hear.
N is also for Nuggets
Which are edible currency acceptable for most bribes.
O is for Oops
The second scariest word in the human language. Almost always involves moisture of some variety or very small fragments of something that used to be pretty awesome.
Can also be used as a public apology after a particularly epic fail.
P is for Potty
To children, it is a sink, a magical fountain, a doll swimming pool, the ocean, and a place to get rid of evidence.
P is also for Picnics
All food taste better if you call it a picnic. Bonus: the birds will do the clean up.
Q is for Quiet
A complete and highly suspicious absence of noise that usually signals something unnatural has happened (a spontaneous nap) or something supernatural is happening (small poltergeists have wreaked havoc in another room.)
Like, little ninja poltergeists. Silent. Fast. Efficient.
R is for Roleplay
A game which has no solid rules, but may require you to pretend to be a falsetto frog getting a medical check-up, at a doll tea party, from a doctor dressed like a Disney princess.
It doesn't have to make sense. And no matter what...you will screw up and break one of the unspoken rules. Even if you were having fun, you could be evicted from the game for being an absurd adult.
S is for Sticky
A sort of natural, protective film secreted by young children as a natural barrier against squeamish people.
S is also for Sleep
An old habit you've learned to live without, but still miss sometimes.
T is for Toys
Objects that defy all the laws of gravity, physics, organization and reasonable pricing.
T is also for Time-Out
A place you put yourself sometimes when you need a cool-down. (aka, the bathroom).
U is for Up
A direction that has no opposite direction. As in "How did you get up there? And why can't you get down?"
U is also for Under
Whatever is lost...is probably under something (heavy). Like the sofa, the table, or the fridge.
V is for Vacuum Cleaner
Which is either your best friend or an unholy beast that strikes fear into the hearts of children and pets.
You see a device that gets clogged up by a small piece of folded paper...children see it as the Sucking Monster of Doom that can swallow an entire rocking horse, two children, and a beanbag chair without effort.
V is also for Vanish
What people do when a dirty diaper happens, or when you say something foolish like:
"It's time to pick up this mess."
W is for Water
Water is good. The only bad water is the kind used to wash hair. All other water, especially if it is in pet bowls, toilets, puddles or gutters is awesome stuff.
W is also for WTH
A question you will ask yourself numerous times whenever your child does the improbable, the impossible, or the just plain weird.
X is for X-Ray
A medical test designed to convince parents that children are relatively durable inventions.
Sometimes used for locating some of those missing household items such as small toys, coins, and bits of jewelry. If you ask a child why they swallowed such things, the correct answer will always be:
"I don't know."
Y is for Yucky
80% of parenting involves working with something yucky. Your opinion and your child's opinion of yucky will differ greatly.
For example, kisses in public might be "yucky", but not whatever interesting item is left in a Kleenex after a sneeze.
Z is for Zoo
A place where you pay a fee for the privilege of showing your wild and carefree children to a bunch of well-behaved animals.
And a Bonus
Did you notice that the letter L was missing? That's because it's the perfect letter to finish off the ABC's of parenting.
L is for LOVE.
A word you can never say too much or hear too often.
Even when it's being used as a coercion.
"Mommy, I would sure love you if you let me..."