Thursday, January 26, 2012
You'll Miss These Days...I Doubt It
My boys are everything to me. Literally everything. When they're happy, I'm happy. When they're upset, I'm upset. Generally speaking, I love spending 9-12 hours a day with them...except when I don't. I'm not ashamed to to say it. My kids sometimes irritate me like alcohol on a chaffed crotch. And like a chaffed crotch, you sometimes simply can't get away from it. Sure you can lie down, take a shower, apply some Triple Bond but in the end you can't escape chaffed crotch and you can't escape your kids (this may be the only time that the words "crotch" and "kids" appear in a sentence together without Chris Hansen waiting in the wings). My mom always had a phrase that never hit me as a kid, but as a parent it has truly resonated with me: "I may not always like you, but I will always love you". And whether you have the cajones to admit it out loud or not, you know it's true.
Since becoming a parent 2 1/2 years ago, I have noticed how crazy some parents can get when it comes to talking sh*t about their kids. Like some cultural taboo or something, some parents just won't do it even as Junior is standing there punching them in the thigh with all the fury they can muster - it's just all smiles and sunshine to them. When you share stories of your own kids shortcomings: whining, stupid fears, contrary disposition etc. these parents are always the first to say: "Well, they're just going through a stage. You'll miss these days". The hell I will.
For the first 4 months of my youngest son's life (he's almost 6 months now), I was open with just about anyone who asked that dumb question: "Aren't babies the best? I just love them at that age". No, as a matter of fact babies are not the best. I can't stand them at this age". I told my Mrs Griswold Wanna-Be multiple times how much I disliked my younger son. She was always hurt by it, but it was true. Then she would intermittently ask me: "Do you like him now?" And of course I would say: "No". I told her that I loved him and if he needed my heart to live I would rip it out of my chest for him without a second thought, but that's love. Completely different. I'm talking about liking, as in getting enjoyment from being around him, sharing memorable moments, looking forward to seeing and spending time with him. These were not things I did with my younger son, until about a month and a half ago. I was all too happy to hand him off to my wife as quickly as possible and whenever possible. He was fussy, didn't sleep and all-in-all was a completely inconsolable baby. We think that he may have had some gastrointestinal issues, which he has since appeared to work out, but excuses or no excuses - he was a d-bag. Around 5 months, I bought into him. He smiled when he saw me. He took decent naps. He made adorable sounds. Yet I know that when he's around 2, I'll like him even more.
What it boils down to is that I don't really care for the infant stage. The inability to do anything for themselves is in no way endearing to me. The 18 diaper changes a day, the sleepless nights, the fact that only Mrs Griswold Wanna-Be could satisfy his hunger (no, I don't have boob envy - I was happy to feed him pumped breast milk, but could only do so when it was available), the 100% dependance on you and the 20 minute cat naps. What is there to like about this? Though my 2 1/2 year old whines all the time and is terrified of the most ridiculous things (birds, doctors, taking medicine, and guy friends of ours that are taller than me) I thoroughly enjoy my time with him more than with my 5 month old. He can express himself pretty well, he has a goofball personality, he is reaching the age where he can be reasoned with and he has a similar love for Legos like me. Sure, he makes me want to put my head through a wall sometimes but so does my wife...for that matter so do I.
Then as for these people that come up to us in the store, at my son's preschool or wherever else I may be with one in hand and the other Ergo'd/Baby Bjorn'd and tell me how precious my kids are - especially my younger son and how he's at the best age. These people are idiots and probably liars - but mostly idiots. I'm busy looking forward to when my kids can entertain each other, wrestle around, tell me about their days. My 2 1/2 year old is nearly there in all of these departments and I love it. But I know my 5 month old is still at least 16 months from even touching on these items (as I sound a deep inhale and deep exaggerated exhale). I'm over being thrown up on 5 times a day, I really am. My shoulders wreak of nearly digested formula and there's always dried snot all over my pants and sleeves at the end of each day. I'm a walking petri dish for every cold virus that ever dripped out of a kid's nose. I'm lucky to get to spend the time that I do with my kids as a stay-at-home Dad, but don't tell me I'm living the dream, because if this is what you dream about then you have some issues.
At the end of the day, I know that these proverbial bumps in the road are just stages. My kids will go through hundreds of them on their way to adulthood and while I know I'll enjoy some of these stages, the others I may loathe and I'm all to happy to admit it. These happy, go-lucky, no sh*t talking, enjoy these days type of parents are questionable characters at best. The type of people I would unfriend from my Facebook contacts, yeah that's right, it's like that. See, what I think resonated with me so much about my mom's phrase "I may not always like you, but I'll always love you" is that it was real and it was brutally honest. I like to think that this was the major trait I took from my mom and I'm proud of it, I won't lie to your face to save your feelings and I hope my kids get that from me. If I'm being an asshole, I want them to call me on it. However, if they actually call me that, though secretly I'll be proud of them, they'll be grounded for a week.