Every parent hopes to find a pediatrician they love and trust. Not every parent is this lucky but, if you are, keep every single appointment and bring them cookies at Christmas time. They are important people in your child’s life. They assure you that your kid is fine even though you’re a new mom who’s convinced everything is going wrong. They shoot your child up with medicine so you don’t have to. They freely offer (sometimes too much) advice and wisdom from years of doing their doctor thing.
I am blessed to have a pediatrician I adore. He is kind and listens well and is absolutely fantastic with my children. My love is not blind, though. He’s failed to mention a few things that could have made my life a hell of a lot easier those first few years. These tidbits aren’t necessarily medical issues, so I understand why he omitted their discussion, BUT the man was my husband’s pediatrician for crying out loud. He’s got 30+ years of experience. He knows things. Would it have been so hard to clue me in on some of these facts about children?
1. They don’t know how to be sick. The only difference between my son when he’s healthy and my son when he’s sick is the snail trail of snot he leaves in his wake. There is no quietly lying in bed while drifting in and out of dreamland. There are no quiet cuddles. All I get is twice as many boogers glued to my couch.
2. They are always touching some part of you all the time. Whether it’s a tiny hand pulling my leg, my son sleeping on my head, or my daughter helping me wipe while I pee, the contact is constant. Most nights I don’t want my husband to even look at me because if he looks at me there’s a good chance he’ll have “that look” in his eyes, which means more touching and OMG can’t I just be left alone?
3. They never stop talking. Seriously. Never. My daughter even talks in her sleep. They have to say out loud everything they’re doing, thinking, thinking about doing, why they’re not going to do what you want them to do; it makes my ears tired. Those scientists who spend their lives cross-breeding melons should put their efforts into making detachable ears for parents.
4. They literally grow overnight. One evening I put my son in his perfect-fit pajamas. The next morning it was as though he’d morphed into Bruce Banner in his sleep and Hulk’d right out of his clothes. His toes were curled into the crease of his footies, the wrist cuffs were up to his elbows. I expected him to start talking like Lou Ferrigno and take on a chartreuse hue.
5. They will only eat food off your plate. If it’s on their plate, they throw it on the floor. If it’s on your plate, they steal it with the stealth of a starving frog who just spotted Mothra. Your food just tastes better. (Bonus fact: If it’s on your plate, and your plate’s left unattended, your food will be thrown on the floor along with theirs.)
6. They have no concept of sleeping in. You know how nothing feels better after a long week than sleeping in on the weekends? Kids don’t. At all. Good day, bad day, rainy day, sick day, it doesn’t matter. They are still up before the sun and demand you do the same. And you better bring breakfast.
7. They are angels for everyone but you. It’s bittersweet when someone who’s been watching my kids says, “They were absolutely perfect. We had so much fun.” On the one hand—yay! My kids aren’t assholes! On the other hand, why aren’t they that way for me? I’m the one who pushed them out of my vagina!
8. They expect you to know everything. Where do clouds go? What’s a tampon? Why is my poop brown? I am not Alex Trebek and I do not have cards with all the answers to life’s questions in front of me as I smirk and make bad jokes. I don’t know anything. Go ask your father.
9. They have selective memory. My son can remember for two days that I told him he could help make breakfast on the weekend, but how many times does he have to watch Frozen before he realizes Anna is going to be okay? (Answer: More than 2000.)
10. They will always have their hands down their pants. All moms of sons will be with me on this, so let me tell you what no pediatrician ever will: Give up on getting him to leave his teeny weenie alone and instead focus your efforts on teaching him to obsessively wash his hands. That’s a battle you may win.