Parenting is an exercise in giving up. You thought you were in control? Don’t let your relatively easy pregnancy fool you into believing that you were ready for what was coming. The instant that baby comes into the world, you surrender it all. Not just the restful nights when you think you can turn it all off. Nope. Even if the baby is a sleeper, she still keeps you up worrying. Why is she sick? Does she have typhoid? Why isn’t she sick? She should have had at least eleventy billion colds by now. Something’s wrong because she’s well all the time.
Yes, that last thought was one that I have had.
There is a lot of truth to the statement “I was a better parent before I had kids.” Everything you think you won’t do, you do do. And that do do? It rules your life. But I digress. You said you’d never give them snacks with added sugar, but that was before you realize that it’s really hard to find snacks without sugar in them that don’t cost at least 50% more than the regular snacks. You said that you’d make time for your marriage. There would be dates. But where are those dates? It’s hard to get romantic when you think about the extra cost of babysitters.
That giving up is good, though. Take the Great Pandora Debate that’s been going on in our household for the last week or so. I’d make a Pandora’s Box joke but that just seems too easy. So we have Pandora Internet radio. Not the kind you pay for and have the ads removed. When you look down our list of stations when they are sorted by “date added”, you can easily see when C started really getting into music because there’s a break from “Passion Pit” radio to “Ella Jenkins” radio. “Schoolhouse Rock” radio. “Disney” radio. She likes that stuff. Granted, she likes some of our music too, but she likes that kid music better, and that’s OK by me because I only make stations for her that I don’t mind listening to as well. Do yourself a favor and make a Schoolhouse Rock station. You’ll thank me later.
So we listen to the music throughout the day, and sometimes my husband will just switch the music mid-song. Such a habit can be filed among the minutiae of life that one only notices when s/he has settled into a routine with his/her family. Switching the Pandora station without asking is our family’s equivalent of my own father’s annoying penchant for channel surfing during commercial breaks when I was a kid. Both of these habits just annoy me. Let the song play to completion, dangit. It’s going to be hard enough to instill any degree of patience in C since she entered the world at a time when all she needs to do is Google a query when she needs to know something. I can only image how my own ADD would have been exacerbated had I been born 25 years later than I was. The invention of Twitter decimated all the focus I was able to accumulate during the first 29 years of my life.
But I chose my battles. I give up not out of exhaustion but because doing so helps me keep control of perspective. Pro tip: the only thing you need to control in life is your perspective because everything else is gravy. This is for my own good as well as that of my family. The baby is not going to be scarred for life if B cuts off the end of “Do Re Mi.” She will withstand the onslaught of hearing Grimes instead of Raffi. She is completely aware of how much he loves her, and that is something that she will never second guess. Thirty years from now, she may not remember the third verse to “The Wheels On the Bus”, but she will know that her father adores her and has been doing so ever since she was a baby. And that’s what matters.