Running With Scissors
By Allison Adams 01-22-12 / Submitted to The Greeneville Sun on 01-22-12
This morning I received a call from a young friend of mine – a new mother – who reported that when she turned her back for a split second, her 8 month-old baby girl rolled off her changing table onto the floor below.
The baby was fine: The mother, however, was traumatized.
“Welcome to Parenthood.” I said to my friend. “I promise that someday you’ll laugh at this, but in the meantime, an event like today’s will help you be prepared for the next one.”
“The next one?” she asked with trepidation.
“The next one”, I replied. “Like when she accidentally bangs her head on a door...”
“… while throwing a temper tantrum.”
“Or when she decorates your living room wall with your lipstick, draws all over her face with a Sharpie, slams her finger in a door, makes mud pies with the kitty litter…”
“ … dials 9-1-1 just to say ‘hello’, swallows a nickel, runs with scissors, won’t eat anything but jello, and picks her nose in church.”
“She’ll tell a lie, refuse to practice piano, start choosing her own friends, pick out her own clothes …”
“She’ll have her heart broken, skip school, give you the stink-eye, learn to drive, get a tattoo, and dye her hair purple.”
“She’ll bring home The Boyfriend.”
“Wait! Have no fear! The Parenthood pendulum swings both ways.”
“Someday she’ll sit on your lap and read to you, draw a picture of you, pick flowers for you, help you bake cookies, play with your hair …”
“She’ll hold your hand, write a poem for you, laugh at your jokes, tell you her secrets, cry on your shoulder. Her little world will revolve around you.”
“She’ll score a goal, ace a test, start solving her own problems, learn to speak a foreign language.”
“She’ll make a speech, go to college, choose a political party, start a movement, question her beliefs, quit shaving her legs, organize a protest, and find her life’s calling.”
“Enough! I can’t take it!”
“Don’t worry! You’re just experiencing an early side effect of Parenthood: its called ‘temporary traumatism’.”
“Sure! Parenthood is a bittersweet pill, my friend. The most common side effects of Parenthood are (this is not a complete list):
“Temporary traumatism, followed by sudden onset euphoria, followed by sudden onset despair, followed by sudden onset serenity, followed by sudden onset hysteria. Repeat.”
“I’ve felt all of that!”
“You’re likely to suffer nagging irritation brought on by frequent frustration due to intense emotional conflict, or over-exposure to something like the business end of the Silent Treatment.
“You may endure periods of disillusionment followed by strong urges to pull your hair out following a long period of unsuccessful, intensive, persuasive reasoning.”
“Its also likely that you’ll undergo temporary disappointment followed by great satisfaction when you’ve forced yourself to step back and let your child suffer the consequences and Life Lessons learned by making her own mistakes.
“Have you ever watched ‘Gilmore Girls’?”
“I love that show! Do you have season five on DVD?”
“Nope. Call your doctor if you find yourself spending an inordinate amount of time basking in the thrill of victory, or dwelling on the agony of defeat.
“Avoid the urge to use any degree of force, bribery, or trickeration, to instill a false sense of self-worth in your cutie pie – even if there’s trophy and a sash at the end of the ‘rainbow’. Have you seen ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’?”
“Oh. My. Gosh.”
“Also, avoid the urge to micro-manage every single move your sweet child makes.”
“Is that ‘Helicopter Parenting’?”
“Oh – you HAVE read the warning label!”
“Yes, I have.”
“Well, then you also know that everyone who takes Parenthood will hopefully experience the gift of unconditional love, eternal devotion, immense joy, loads of laughter, profound pride, times of tears, and eventually – gray hair, or gradual hair-loss.
“Parenthood should be taken seriously, because the effects of Parenthood last a lifetime.”
“I think I sprouted a gray hair right after she fell off the changing table.”
“No doubt, my friend. No doubt.”