This is a post about kids and parents. All you who detest posts about children’s, parenting and the sort run away. (As if you didn’t already!)
It’s occurred to me since I became a mother (I’ve had 2,5 years to come to this conclusion) that people aren’t all the same (yeah I know, I knew it too before I became a mom but wait for it…).
Before I became a parent I knew that parents were off a different “species” so to speak. I knew they were a different breed but I had no idea what was so different. I had no idea what the difference consisted off.
Some say (mostly childless people of course) that becoming a parent makes people boring. This is mostly supported by the fact that people with children rarely get to go out and “have fun”, rarely have time for their friends and stop wanting to go bundgy jumping or climbing mount Everest.
What you know before you become a parent is that you don’t know everything about being a parent and/or kids. I mean who knew about the black poo? Or the green poo? And why did people forget to tell you that while it’s exhilarating to see your kid take the first steps the fact that the kid is walking turns you into a paranoid bouncing machine running around after your kid making sure she doesn’t hit her head when she falls *pang* straight on the head (always for some reason!).
People change – woobie, what a conclusion to make. We all knew that parents were different from the none-caring pre-parenthood. What I didn’t know – and I doubt many pre-parenthooders realize this – is that people with ONE kid are vastly different from people with MORE THAN ONE kid.
I’m still in the first category but looking in I can see a lot of difference. People with two or more kids have bad hair (ok, I know this woman who has many kids and gorgeous hair all the time *nofair* so that may not be entirely true so bad example). People with more than one kid have developed a zen attitude towards parenting. They realize that when they are somewhere making sure baby brother is fed and not screaming his butt off, baby sister is somewhere climbing a tree, falling off swings, climbing bookshelves or doing something that will result in catastrophe, or tears at least. They realize that they can only be in one place at a time and rely on a) others to be there to take care of it b) their voice to stop the kid in their tracks and choose a safer route, or c) fate will be kind. These are the people sitting in playgrounds while we with one kid are still running around after ours making sure they don’t and catching them when they fall.
You see while our kids are being caught their kids are learning from experience and after a while the two-parent mamma knows that she can more or less (not entirely obviously!) rely on their children not to jump from the highest point of the climbing tower or follow the yellow brick road down mount Doon.
I’m making it sound like the two-kid parent can just sit and relax. Of course they can’t. There is always something for them to do. A cry here, a “mommy” there – but they have a zen attitude towards it all. They know when a thump on the head is just going to create a little bump and when to be on their guard. We one-kid moms haven’t had quite the experience to be sure – and to be frank – we have the time to worry.
Isn’t that a statement. We still have the time to worry – even when we really needn’t. And I’m not saying the two-kid parent worries less – I’m just saying that they know when to worry and when not to.
Of course the two-kid parent has an oldest – who is treating new waters all the time. They still have moments of “oh wow – I didn’t know that” or “this is new” but I am guessing that those become fewer as the kid ages and with more kids to feed, change nappies on and run after you don’t revel as much. There isn’t TIME!
As you may or may not have gathered I have the utmost respect for the two-kid parent. I met a mom the other day that sat beside her 4 year old and painted with her. We started talking and the kid vanished into another (the place we were in had lots of grown ups and was child safe) room. After a little conversation suddenly I notice a peculiar face on her – somewhere in another room a child is screaming bloody murder. She excuses herself and walks out of the room.
Moments later she comes back with a 1 year old on her arm. “She had locked herself in the toilet, it was dark in there. She became a little frightened.”
My jaw may have dropped. I hope I just smiled. Would I have been able to sit in another room from my 1 year old while they were prowling the premises? Not likely. That is coolness I haven’t got yet. And her kids are both sound and safe so…
During our recent vacation this one-kid-parent vs two-kids-or-more parent became obvious at the beach. The one-kid parent arrives first at the beach. One parent lies down and reads, relaxes while the other plays with the kid. A while later the elders and the two-kid-or-more parents arrive. The kids start to run around the beach like crazy (older siblings often making sure the younger ones are not doing something they shouldn’t) while the parents blissfully both sit down and have a conversation, or read a book while keeping one eye (each) on the kids.
It’s about time management and survival!
What frightens me is that the two-kid parents might have similar insights into people with three-kids or more!
Now excuse me while I make sure my kid doesn’t fall off the couch.