My children started school this year. A few mornings a week only, but still. It’s something. So naturally, the end of week No. 1 of school brought with it a cold that spread—like the lice the school has been warning us about, except less gross—first to my daughter, then to my son, to my husband, and, of course, to me.
It’s 4 p.m. on a Monday. Both my kids are in last night’s pajama tops and underwear. I’m still in pajamas and a robe. Kleenex litters every surface of my house, and dishes are piling up. I have a laundry list of things that need to be done (and a mountain of laundry on my sofa), but between my cold and the constant wiping of little runny noses, my energy is zapped.
It’s all incredibly glamorous, this life of being a parent. And it’s a lot of work. All this illness (and my lack of sleep) has me compiling a list of things I never anticipated I’d have to do when I decided to have children.
Here are my top 10. As usual, many involve bodily fluids because, as it turns out, parenting babies and toddlers is like 50% bodily fluids.
1) Pick boogers out of other people’s noses. There’s a sense of accomplishment that comes once you dislodge something dried to the size of a raisin.
2) Suck snot out of a nose with a tube. Even my husband can’t quite stomach this one. It’s immensely gross, but also immensely gratifying.
3) Sleep on sheets that have been a little peed on. Because sometimes you’re just too tired to do the sheets right that second. Especially if the pee landed on your husband’s side of the bed.
4) Lift a baby’s diaper up to my nose. So I don’t have to bend down, of course, to determine its contents.
5) Stick a linty pacifier dug from the bottom of my purse in my mouth. Sometimes sanitizing wipes won’t do the trick.
6) Bribe waist-high people to be good in stores. I always assumed I was above bribery… until I had to take two children grocery shopping.
7) Reason with a toddler. It’s a losing battle, but I continue to wage useless wars … just in case.
8) Use the TV to babysit the kids. Because sometimes I need a break. Sometimes I need to work. Sometimes they just. won’t. leave. me. alone.
9) Catch vomit in my bra. Yeah, that’s all I have to say.
10) Lose more sleep than I could possibly imagine. Three-and-a-half years and two children have made me lose more years of sleep than I ever knew was possible.