Before baby, the things parents do seemed unthinkable. I used to wonder how someone could possibly tolerate wiping the bum of another human being for years. Surely, they must hate that!
Very little sleep, spending all your money on the sprog, being fat and pregnant - all things I expected to find difficult, or just plain hate. But the reality is so far from my imagination. Here's the contenders for things that most surprised me about parenthood - the things I thought I would hate but actually didn't mind too much:
1) Welcome to Poo-tasia! - Are you someone who is fascinated by poo? Could you discuss poo size, smell, shape, colour and consistency on a daily basis? If not, don't worry. It probably means you're just not a parent yet. When you are, the information gleaned from poo reading is invaluable. And far from being the pile of steaming stink bomb you'd expect, somehow it becomes as normal and mundane as clipping your own toe nails. I swear I don't even smell them sometimes. I remember the poos not in terms of which ones were grossest, but which ones were the funniest. Thom and I have whiled away many evenings discussing the contents of Ethan's nappy. Good times. On a related note: No one told us how much babies fart. Not little, innocent puffs, but huge, ripping man farts. These also are not as much of a concern as I would have imagined if someone had told me that a stranger is about to move in and fart on me several times a day.
2) Money,who needs it anyways - Little junior is like a money sponge. I'm sure he's soaked it up somehow, but I'll be dammed if I can figure out how such a little guy absorbed so much of our cash. Babies are expensive, and that scares off lots of people. Fair enough, I think, because luxuries in life with a baby in tow look more like a night in with a new DVD and less like a long haul holiday. But, surprisingly, we don’t mind nearly as much as I thought we would. Somehow, when we’ve blown our beer money on marbles, crayons and lollipops, we don’t miss it.
3) Boogers, Snot and other mucus related splats – Ever had an irresistible urge to sick your finger up someone’s nose to clear a crusty green blob so they could breathe better? Despite choking back the puke as I write, these urges sprang up within me like instincts of a cheetah to chase an antelope. And without thinking, or grossing myself out, boom! I’m picking someone else's nose. When their poor little noses are blocked, they can’t sleep, they can’t eat and they are miserable. Somehow digging in there seems like the natural thing to do, rather than the disgusting thing it actually is. We even had a plastic contraption of tubes that was for sucking the ‘blockage’ out. It had a filter to catch the green bastards. Sometimes they were so big that they would land against the filter with a big ‘thud’. I feel I’ve lost my mind to even have done this, but there it is.
4) Saying goodbye to your old life - Janis Joplin once sang, 'Time keeps moving on. Friends, they turn away.' Sounds sad, but it's another one that didn't fuss me as much as I thought it would. So now a good night is defined as one with a lack of puking, rather than someone overdoing it so much that they vomit. And hangovers feel like so much hassle that the wine tastes less appealing. And so what. Your old friends don't call anymore and rather than feel upset, you start to see them for the immature douche-bags they are. And it's all ok. Life goes like that - we evolve and adjust and accept. I don't miss the high heel blisters, little friendship dramas or over priced neon coloured shooters. That just seems all a little bit insane compared to the crayon and play dough parties we enjoy now.
I surprise myself. Life is full of surprises, and I guess that's what makes it wonderful.