Warning labels are great. They help us know what to expect from the potential dangers in our lives. Warning labels come with food, and they come with boxes, and they come on the sign right before you put your life in danger to ride a roller coaster. Just think what life would be like without warning labels.
If kids came with warning labels, however, the “side effects” portion would look a little a little something like this:
Of course kids will cause weight gain to a mother who is carrying a child. It’s par for the course. But did you know a kid will also cause weight gain in his father, who is traveling alongside his partner in the pregnancy? And after the pregnancy? They’ll still be gaining weight.
This is mostly because of the mysterious phenomenon known as Eating Your Feelings. More days than I’d like to admit, the husband and I get to the end of our time with kids, and the only thing we feel like doing is ordering in. We want to enjoy the rest of our evening and pretend the kids are actually in their beds, even though they’re usually not. We want to take that whole box of chocolate and consume it in less than 20 minutes, because it’s stressful raising kids, and you know what? Chocolate DOES make us feel better, no matter what the health experts say. Have they ever tried raising this kid? Okay, then.
Kids cause all sorts of bladder problems, but especially irregularity. I am intimately familiar with it the nights I choose to go jump on the trampoline for one boy’s snuggle time, because it’s what he asked to do. I do pretty well for the first half-hour, and then the rivers start flowing. I better be wearing a protective liner if I don’t want my kids to notice I just unintentionally wet my pants. It comes with the territory of having six kids. (Yep, that’s right — I’ve had six of ’em.) Doesn’t matter how many kegels you did before you had your baby. Bladder leakage will happen. Whether you’re jumping on a trampoline or sneezing, you’re going to have to do something about that flow.
Kids will drive you crazy. This is mostly because they wake up completely different people every single day. Just when you think you have them all figured out, that they like this or that, they will show you that you are, in fact, completely clueless when it comes to raising them. And I hear it’s even worse when they’re teenagers, so that’s definitely something to look forward to.
It doesn’t matter how many kids you have. You are never fully equipped for this job. Your kids will teach you how to be a parent, and if you’re not good at learning, then you’re going to be on your way to insane in a little less than a year. We’ll all go insane sooner or later (kids or not), but for you, it’s just sooner.
When your kid is fighting with you because they want the Batman cup instead of the Spider-Man cup you just handed them, and there’s no Batman cup in the pantry, you’ll go a little insane. When your kid only wants to wear sweat pants to school and there are no more left in his laundry pile, so he’ll whine for an hour about how you should do laundry right this minute, and this kid is supposed to be the easy kid, you’ll slip a little farther toward insanity. When your kid calls you the best parent ever and then rages, two minutes later, about how you’re the WORST parent in the whole world and he wants to have a new family, you’ll sidle up to your good friend insanity and stay a while.
Sometimes, when you’ve had kids for quite a long time, you’ll even feel like maybe you’ve undergone a bit of trauma. You’ll see a 3-year-old, especially, and start shaking, and you can’t quite explain way, until you get back home and remember that your 3-year-old twins were pretty much tyrants for a whole year of their lives, and, yeah, it was quite traumatic, and you would be okay if you never had to see another 3-year-old in your entire life.
Kids aren’t great at letting you sleep. We had a year of no sleep when the twins were 3 because they liked to roam the house, and there was no telling what we’d wake up to in the morning. Sometimes we woke up to an entire closet emptied, which is pretty manageable if you have the time to rearrange the closet every day. Sometimes we woke up to toothpaste paintings on the walls. Sometimes we woke up to the entire contents of a vitamin bottle (a child-proofed one, of course) consumed.
We went through an entire year of no sleep because of them, and then we finally got smart and put a lock backwards on their door so we didn’t have to worry about their night-wanderings anymore.
This is usually caused by all the terrible smells boys in particular can produce. But it’s also caused by how good boys are at flushing their feces, which is to say they never do it. Sometimes I’m even lucky enough to get a present from them in my bathroom, which is the off-limits one for boys — it even has a sign. READ THE SIGN. I guess I’ll have to take more drastic measures.
You’ll want to vomit over some of the things kids say, and you’ll want to vomit about the way they chew on the bottoms of their shoes because they think “it tastes good,” and you’ll want to vomit when their SBDs (Silent But Deadlies — a noxious gas released from the sphincters of little boys) singe your nose hairs. You’ll want to vomit when they stick their tongue all the way up to their nose to “wipe the snot” off their upper lip.
Kids will cause paralysis when they’re trying to slide down the stairs face first, and you think this will probably be the end of that one. They’ll cause it when they’re trying to slide down that playground fire pole so they can run from their daddy playing tag, even though it’s four feet up. They cause it when they think they can cross a street on their own, and there’s a car coming with a driver in it who clearly can’t see them. Which is exactly why we invested in leashes for the know-it-all twins.
They’ll cause night terrors when you wake up in the middle of the night and there’s the face of a child staring at you, looking like he wants to eat your very soul. They’ll cause night terrors when you hear their footsteps at 3 in the morning, and you know it’s the twins, wandering. They’ll cause night terrors when you wake up just thinking about how many of them there are and what you’ll do for breakfast tomorrow, since they’ve already eaten everything in the house.
This isn’t usually a side effect of kids, but it is a side effect of the lack of sleep and the night terrors. Sometimes you wake in the middle of the night, and you think there’s a creepy kid standing at the side of your bed, but there isn’t. Sometimes you see a kid coming at you, and you prepare yourself, stiffening a little, because you know the impact is going to be like a bowling ball hitting an overweight pin, but it never happens, because you saw something that wasn’t there. Sometimes you see an extra twin, when one is really hiding so he can use those scissors his brothers left out to cut up the most expensive library book you have in your house.
Warning labels would be nice, wouldn’t they? Then again, no one would voluntarily have kids if they came with all the warning labels a parent would need. So maybe it’s actually better to be surprised.
And even though these side effects can be a bit annoying, the light the kids blaze into a life is worth every one.
Except for the night terrors. I’d gladly do without those, please.More On