When the time comes in your life to settle down and start pumping out offspring, every single person you know, parent or not, will be right there for you. Right there, that is, to tell all the things you need to know about how having kids is going to change/mess up your life.
“Forget about a good night’s sleep,” they’ll say.
“I hope you like Jersey Shore, because that’s about the only action you’re gonna see.”
“Oh, you won’t even miss going out to eat.. Staying home and having pureed peas spit on you will be just as much fun. Probably.”
None of this is particularly revolutionary or insightful. Odds are, as long as we’re not talking about the weekly train-wreck from that “16 and Knocked Up” show or whatever, anyone putting the time, effort, and commitment for pickles with ice cream into growing a child likely realizes the changes that come with young ‘uns.
It’s what they didn’t tell me that would have been useful.
It would have been nice if someone had mentioned that I was going to be purchasing enough crayons every year before school starts to run my own Madame Tussauds wax museum. And that’s just the start of it. It seems like we have to buy the exact same bunch of school supplies every year. Crayons, markers, paste, scissors, etc, the list is nearly never-ending. But what happened to all the stuff we bought last year? I’ve had the same bottle of Elmer’s Glue for a decade. What the hell are they doing at school that my kids need a new one every fall?
It’s like they round up all the kindergartners at the end of the year with whatever’s left of the supplies and treat them to the biggest paste and marker buffet of their lives.
But that’s not even the worst of it. Today, there’s one undisputed item at the very top of my list of Things I Wish They’d Told Me About Having Kids. I’ve underlined it twice and circled it in red ink. It’s the flies.
Everywhere I’ve gone in my house for the past few weeks, a fly has come with me. Sitting down for dinner? Look, there’s a fly. Snuggling into bed to get some much-needed beauty sleep? Hey, what’s the buzzing sound? I can’t even find a little peace in the one place a Dad’s supposed to be able to relax and read the sports page. Every time I walk into a bathroom, there’s a fly there already banging against the mirror like a bird hopped up on fermented winter berries.
Obviously, the fact that I’m routinely eating my breakfast and sharing coffee with Finster the Fly like that mooch uncle from your Mom’s side of the family that comes for a weekend but stays for two months can be easily explained when you’ve got four kids, three of whom are capable of opening doors to the outside world. They’re out of school for the summer and seem to have no problem going in and out every 30 seconds or so. And for some reason, no matter how many times you tell them you are not air conditioning the outside world or ask them if they were born in a barn, they will still insist on standing in an open doorway for a minimum of 4 minutes to discuss dead snakes when a neighbor comes to ask them to play.
Sure, they could just go out and play, but that’d be easy and might keep bugs out of the house.
Instead, I spend my summer evenings and weekends chasing winged insects through my house with a pink fly swatter. Because, yeah, I’m that cool.
So if there was one thing I wish someone had warned me about before we had any kids, I wish it’d been this: “Once you have kids, it’s just a few years until you hit that fly swatter ninja phase. Better start centering your chi.”
That’s some practical parenting advice, right there. And at least that way you could score a cool Fly Swatter Ninja outfit.