Here's my take on the first few years of being a parent. It's constantly being added to and changed.
Parenting changes on a daily basis...this is why books that 'teach' you to be a parent are all lies
Parenthood is a wonderful thing. It gives you opportunities to be whatever you want. In your child’s eyes, you are a hero; you are the most important person on the planet.
In turn, you get to mould your child however you see fit. You give them the best education, you’ll go without to make sure that they are happy, you feed and clothe them. You cuddle them when they are sad, laugh with them when they are happy. You help them find their way into new friendships and teach them values in that will help them throughout their lives.
Then they become teenagers and you realise that your child going through puberty is punishment for you having sex.
Spotting new parents
When somebody has just become a parent, they generally won’t waste any time in telling you. The pictures come out straight away and they’ll tell you how many times baby has filled its nappy today. Not only this, they will also go on to tell you the size, shape and colour of the aforementioned pooh. It’s not safe to change the subject until the parent comes out with a comment like ‘It’s amazing so much could come out of such a small thing!’ The correct response to this is to smile and nod and if no convenient avenue of escape (such as a volcanic eruption or, failing this, a nasty accident) presents itself, try saying ‘Are you looking forward to going back to work?’. This works with both fathers and mothers as they can now go on to talk about bad hours, unsympathetic bosses and poor pay. The conversation should now be easy to steer.
Another way of spotting a new parent is to look at their shoulders. You will generally find a white spot on one or both shoulders. This is a badge of honour for new parents as they can laugh as they tell you that their little bundle of joy was sick and they didn’t notice. DO NOT BE FOOLED BY THIS! How could they not bloody notice? I know from experience that a baby never just throws up a few little drops onto your shoulder. They aim for your ear. The little white spot is always the little bit you couldn’t reach to wipe off after cleaning regurgitated milk out of your hair, ear, off your face and off the sofa.
Be warned however, the white spot on a person’s shoulder is not always indicative of parenthood. It may just be that their partner is a very poor shot in the bedroom/kitchen/living room etc.
It is very easy to spot a new mum out without the baby for the first time if you know what to look for.
The first clue is her handbag. She will seem uncomfortable carrying something that will only carry her lipstick, purse, and mobile phone. You must remember that the new mum is now used to carrying two weeks’ worth of nappies, three packs of baby wipes, several bottles, enough formula to satisfy a maternity ward, spare clothes, a fold up changing mat, liquid paracetamol and most of the household furniture in her bag.
The creature known as the ‘new mum’ is also used to hanging things onto the handles of her pram. Don’t be surprised if she walks with her elbows at right angles in front of her and her bag dangling from her wrist. It’s a comfort thing.
Another good clue is to look at the hair and make-up. A woman with a lot of make-up, hair straightened to a point and looking very uncomfortable in high heels is generally a woman who has a day off from looking after her darling little screamer. Let’s face it, she’s spent the last nine months with feeling too sick or too sweaty to bother with hair and make-up and has been walking in flat shoes to stop her ankles swelling up to the size of footballs. Give her some credit!
Your final clue is the mobile phone. This will be produced approximately every three minutes so that new mum can check for text messages or missed phone calls. As we all know, the second you leave your new baby with someone else, they contract rare viruses, burn down the house and get kidnapped by terrorists. It’s important that new mum can check her mobile because in the event of these things happening, somebody will text her before calling an ambulance, the fire brigade or the UN.
Every fifteen to twenty minutes, new mum will call home to see why she hasn’t had any messages and to check that everything is ok. If the baby makes the slightest noise during these calls, new mum will immediately go home. The gap between phone calls will vary depending on who is looking after the baby.
New dad spotting is more of an acquired art. New dads are not allowed out alone when on paternity leave. It is the law of the woman. They must stay at home, cook, clean, sterilise bottles and spend as much time in between with the baby as possible. The reason behind this is that new mum will sound off with a cry of ‘When you’re back at work, you’ll never have much time with the baby!’ as soon as new dad suggests leaving the house.
New dads on their first night out after the birth are generally easy to spot. They’ll be the ones drinking shandy for a start! Their friends will constantly slap them on the back, propose toasts and warn them of the horrors to come. They will also comment on what they believe to be size of his partner’s lady bits after the birth. These comments generally include references to the Grand Canyon, Blackwell Tunnel and wizards sleeves (the latter is made regardless of the fact that, with the amount of candles used, a wise wizard would have nothing to do with flappy sleeves.).
A new dad will generally insist on pushing the pram on any occasion that they are not at work. If you ever see a man and a woman fighting with a pram between them in your local supermarket car park, think twice before jumping in to assist. The chances are that they are arguing over pram pushing rights; even in this day and age, it is unlikely that one of them is trying to kidnap the child.
On some occasions, you may sight the rare social animal that is new mum and new dad on their first night out. The signals are all there and easily identifiable if you are looking for them.
They will order a bottle of wine and start giggling before the first glass is empty. Those who don’t fit this bill probably have more than one child and had the alcohol on IV immediately after the birth (this goes for the dads too).
They will spend most of the night either discussing how lucky they are, how beautiful the baby is and how much the bond between them has grown or they’ll listen into everyone else’s conversations as they have already used up all their conversational powers during the 3am feeds.
By about 10pm, they will leave the bar/restaurant and get a taxi home. At some point one or both of them will have dozed off.
An interesting point to note is that they will have planned an evening of fantastic sex. However, in reality, they will go to bed and be asleep before either of them can mention foreplay. Knowing this won’t help you spot a new parent (unless you have some very good binoculars) but it’s always nice to know these things and it leads me nicely onto my next point.
Talking about sex with a new parent. This happens more often than you think. The new mum doesn’t want to hear about your sex life though. What she really wants is to tell you that she’s never having sex again (kinda like drinking), she never wants another child, she’s put pillows down the middle of the bed in case new dad rolls over quickly with a hard on and that new dad won’t leave her alone. Your job is to smile, nod and give sympathy. It is permitted to think things along the lines of ‘Yeah right he won’t leave you alone. You’re lactating, it’s such a turn off’, ‘I went to school with you, there’s no way you’ll never have sex again’ or ‘This time next year you’ll be pregnant again’. Under no circumstance should these things be said allowed. New mum is currently experiencing hormone induced mood swings that may end up with you trying to remove certain objects from uncomfortable areas of your anatomy.
On the other hand, new dad is a different breed. If it made clear that sex is not an option then he is not above asking for a blow job. He will then complain to his friends in the pub or at work that new mum tried to tie a knot in his dick. The cry of a sexually frustrated new dad is easily distinguished.
Comments made to friends include ‘We were up anyway’ ‘She’s always too tired’ ‘She won’t do it with the baby in the room’. Try to be understanding towards new dad; Women have period pain and months of having their bladder kicked to prepare them for a new baby, men just get to rub their partner’s cramps out in the middle of the night and race to hospital when the waters break.
Spotting the parents of toddlers
This is a very easy thing to do. Although the bags under the eyes have gone, there are no sick patches on the shoulders and the changing bag the size of Apollo 13 is gone, there are still many clues.
When visiting the house of a family with toddlers, always keep your shoes on. Toddlers love to leave small, sharp objects where adults can stand on them. Not only this but if you leave your shoes unattended then they will be used to store small toys, bits of fruit and half a beaker of juice.
When out and about, the parent of a toddler is identifiable by several clues. They will have a large streak of snot down one leg. This is the child’s way of weaning its parents off the shoulder sick. They feel that they should replace one bodily fluid with another. However, a toddler will revert to throwing up on a parent should they feel that the occasion demands it.
Toddler mum will now comfortably carry a handbag with her. However, it will be larger than average so it can accommodate a multitude of toys and a packet of baby wipes. The baby wipes are necessary as Toddler dad generally thinks that throwing the child about or spinning them round in circles after a large meal is perfectly acceptable.
When talking to the parents of a toddler, you will notice that at times they seem to speak a completely different language to the rest of us. This is not true. They are still speaking English but are now comfortable using the words ‘Ninky-Nonk’ and ‘Boo-boo’ in every day conversation. Don’t judge them for this. Gone are the days when the local news and week night soaps are good television, from now on it’s In The Night Garden and Ben 10 all the way.
Another big lifestyle change for Toddler Parent is their choice of reading material. Your well read friend will no longer be your first stop for literary debate. In fact, the only thing they are now able to get to the end of is ‘See Spot Run’ and ‘The Hungry Caterpillar’. However, if you ever need to discuss the merits of a fabric book over a cardboard one, toddler parent is more than willing to share their opinion.
The primary school years
During the primary school years, the average person has a much better chance of holding a coherent conversation with a parent. This is chiefly because parents now have some semblance of a life. They have six hours a day where they can do their own thing which means that they are now aware of the world outside once more.
However, there will be times when the parent will revert to type. This is generally shown through the medium of complaining. Parents are now able to complain about the price of school uniforms, running the children to dance classes, football practice, doctors appointments and helping them learn lines for the annual school play.
Don’t be fooled by the parent who comes round for a coffee and a chat, they are just waiting for a chance to jump in and regale you with tales of homework, grades and how adorable their kid looked dressed up as a giant lobster in the school nativity play.
When walking past a house that contains one or more primary school children, do not be alarmed by any loud or unusual noises coming from within.
Screaming coming from the house of a primary school child is not usually a sign that there is something wrong. There are several other reasons for screaming. These can range from a gentle and quiet game played with friends, a discussion with parents over a suitable bedtime or even a debate with siblings about the meaning of the phrase ‘Possession is nine tenths of the law’.
Seven deadly sins, seven days in a week....have a fabulous week.
And the Lord said to John "Come forth and receive eternal life" but John came fifth and won a toaster
Carabas said I'm adorable and he's the boss so you all have to listen!