well, henry j. monkey survived us for a whole year! (and vice versa). it’s been bar none the best year of my life. i imagine robb and henry feel the same way. it’s been hectic and crazy and certainly stressful around the edges, but the depth of the joy we’ve experienced has been profound. i thank God daily that he landed such a healthy and beautiful henry among us and thank henry for bearing with us. 🙂
we’ve learned some lessons along the way. we have advice for both the moms and dads (the alleged adults) and the kids. here goes:
-“adults”: this is sort of a recent (and very annoying) revelation. ahem. neither parent should take on any major new projects. anything that will keep you away from the family for large quantities of time should be discouraged. big work changes, training for marathons and other intense races, major travel, etc. it will leave the home spouse planning the away spouse’s death. and the away spouse will miss the family too much. and might end up buried in the backyard. and if 1/3 of the members of the small family end up buried in the backyard by the end of the first year, i guess i would consider that a fail.
-childrens: when in doubt, sit down. if you’re worried you might fall on your head if you just take that one more step, don’t do it. sit down. i’d tell you to avoid sharp things and stairs and such, but where would be the fun in that? your parents will enjoy the excitement of playing AHHHHDON’TTOUCHTHAT with you.
-“adults”: when you drop the baby (it will happen), only fess up to it if there’s an injury that needs medical attention (and then for sure do). if baby’s fine but there’s a bruise, blame your spouse or the dog. and hope like hell that when baby learns to talk, he won’t remember all the woeful parenting you gave him and choose to share it. bribery probably helps here.
-childrens: you’ll be sick enough your first year just breathing the air on this planet. please don’t put your mouth on any sick kids at daycare/church nursery/the playground, etc. and when you’re considering eating that disgusting thing off the floor that clearly fell off the dog or a shoe, maybe don’t.
-“adults”: you’ve never in your life felt both as stressed out and as joy-filled as you do now. it’s a roller coaster but it’s AMAZING. do your best to enjoy it. all the old people keep saying how fast it all goes, so treasure each of those tiny hugs and even the little temper tantrums if you can, cuz they’ll dry up eventually. and soon he will be a giant moose and it will be hard to believe that he was ever small enough to get stuck under the chairs in the living room. regularly.
-childrens:your parents are trying. they really are. but sometimes they just can’t figure out what you want or get to you as soon as you’d like. occasionally mommy needs to shower or go to the bathroom. BY HERSELF. she doesn’t really want you peeking into the shower or standing in front of her looking up expectantly with your tiny hands on her knees while she uses the toilet. doesn’t mean she doesn’t love you. in fact, probably proves otherwise.
-“adults”: speaking of toileting….if you see your childrens straining like they’re taking a deuce, give them a few minutes to finish up before you attempt to change their diaper. DEAR GOD, GIVE THEM A FEW MINUTES. and if it’s all just too, too gross- throw the clothes away. nothing is worth getting poo in either of your hair. trust.
-childrens: none of the following things will in fact kill you: the car seat, getting your diaper changed, having expensive and fragile things removed from your filthy/destructive paws, getting dressed, the stroller, the bath, vegetables.
-“adults”: none of the following things will in fact kill you: lack of sleep, going a day without a shower, going a month without sex, feeding your kid- (whether breast feeding, bottle, solids- they will sometimes refuse for no good reason and it will be THE MOST STRESSFUL THING EVER, but they’ll get through it. pooping? gaining weight? peeing? ok. things are fine), diapering a squirming, screaming banshee.
-childrens and “adults”- love on each other. at the end of the day, no matter if it was a great day or a rough day, you were plopped on this planet together for a reason and you’ll be in each others’ lives for a long, long time. learn to laugh together/at each other and practice your hugs. often.