This morning, my oldest child headed out to her last-first day of high school. It’s hard to believe she will graduate this year, and even though I still have two more children with plenty of growing left, it makes me feel as though the biggest chunk of my life is quickly drawing to a close.
How does one adjust to not being needed at all when one is used to being needed all the time?
Brr, that gave me a chill. I’m not going to think about that right now. Forget it.
Anyway, I was looking through some old journals and it occurred to me how much children change your language. Through the course of time as a parent I have said many things that would just never come up between adults.
I revisited some frustrated phrases this morning, which I found locked up in the annals of our family history. As a public service, I thought I would share a few, so that new parents may prepare themselves.
1. “Get your feet out of the spaghetti.”
No self-respecting reasonable adult, ready for dinner, does this. But toddlers do, especially the ones who sit in high chairs and who like to play with, wear, and eventually fall asleep in, their food. If you have a particularly mischievous kid, they will only do it when your back is turned, or when entertaining guests. This sentence also applies to applesauce, chili, fried potatoes, or anything else that could potentially be sucked off a toe.
2. “Do not lie down on the floor at the mall and lick the carpet in the video game store. That’s gross.”
At the time, an older sibling reported that our preschooler got such a bright idea from watching Spongebob Squarepants…remind me to sue myself for permitting such a terrible television babysitter. I patted my husband on the back, who was about to vomit at the sight of our little boy getting such a kick out of smearing his tongue over the dirty carpet, and I whispered the word, “antibodies.”
“Antibodies” is also akin to the comforting phrase, “Five second rule,” which I often whispered to myself when the kids dropped food on the floor/concrete sidewalk/muddy path, picked it up and shoved it in their mouths before I could stop them.
3. “Stop trying to blow up each other’s brains!”
This is a current form of battle in our home among the young’uns, possibly a reference to a popular television sitcom, in which the main character puts his fingers to his temples and stares at an annoying person with the intention of blowing up his or her brain telepathically. So far, it hasn’t worked for the main character, and it hasn’t worked for my kids…thank goodness. Unfortunately, the fact that it doesn’t work means they sometimes come to real blows, and that can get pretty messy.
4. “No, you cannot give the bugs crawling through your hair to somebody else.”
Such irony in my child’s tearful words… she was angry and impatient that the presence of lice was costing her participation in several social activities, but I laughed and assured her that giving them to somebody else was what we needed to avoid. What followed was a week of treating, washing, combing, combing, combing (a little inward cursing) and haircuts for everybody.
Okay, let’s get off this one, I’m starting to get itchy.
5. “What are you talking about? Of course there’s a tooth fairy…sometimes she just forgets how to get to this neighbourhood.”
Yes, folks, the tooth fairy almost always forgot to exchange teeth for money at our house. I came up with all kinds of excuses, even answering a distraught child when they came in my room early the next morning with an, “oh, my goodness, are you sure? Go to the bathroom and I’ll check for you,” but this clever ruse didn’t convince them for long. Eventually, they just started leaving notes on their bedroom doors which read, “Dear tooth fairy/mom and dad: please do not put my tooth money under my pillow. Leave it sticky-tacked to the door.”
So whatever strange and unusual phrases you end up spouting through the course of your parenting life, just remember, this too shall pass. You will be crying into your graduation order of ceremonies in no time, after which you can eat your spaghetti with a fork.