So, I forgot what letter we’re on.
Twice. And what’s even better, I razzed fellow blog dad Eric of All in Dad’s Work about a guest post he promised me for this Wednesday. In the midst of the A to Z Challenge. For both of us.
Only, Eric has already guest posted for me.
In what can be attributed in equal parts to Canadian kindness and just being a standup guy, Eric wrapped up a post in his drafts folder to deliver the guest blog he didn’t have to deliver. Good man, Eric.
(Her word was Judgment, which is one of those words I can barely spell, let alone write about, and somehow link to a letter that begins with K, all while lamenting the Challenge blogs I’m not getting to and wondering why my left eyelid won’t stop twitching.
Check out his guest post, then go see what he’s doing with the A to Z Challenge business.
Change of the Challenge
Parenting is tough. We all know that. It’s always tough, except when it’s not. It’s a 24/7 role. 365 days a year for the rest of your life. Once you’re a parent you’re always a parent. But it’s not as challenging as we like to think it is.
Is a zebra white with black stripes or is it black with white stripes? If you shaved it you would find that its skin is black.
Is parenting difficult with easy phases or easy with difficult phases? If you shaved it you would be pleased to see that it is indeed easy with difficult phases.
What I’ve come to understand over my seemingly short, yet equally long, years of being a dad is that the challenge of parenting changes.
The challenge of parenting isn’t in the easy moments of calm and clarity. The challenge lies when things get loud and messy and we’re just doing the best we can.
What I’ve come to understand over my seemingly short, yet equally long, years of being a dad is that the challenge of parenting changes. It evolves.
In the beginning the challenge just lays there, occasionally crying, occasionally laughing, and frequently needing food. It grows to a crawling phase yet its needs remain the same. Soon it is upright and running on two legs. Then it grows and grows and goes to school.
Then it grows some more and you’re suddenly dealing with a hormone raging, moody teenager where there was once an infant.
The challenge changes with the stages
In the beginning, we parents are mere zombies after waking three times through the night to feed a hungry belly. It’s difficult functioning on such little sleep. Our brains are cloudy and our judgement is poor.
We put shampoo on our toothbrush and wash our hair with toothpaste. But parenting is easy because the child stays where we put them. They’re cute and cuddly and friends and family swoon over them.
The fun begins when they start crawling.
You’ll just be frustrated trying to plug in the vacuum until the child pulls out the outlet protector for you.
Did you baby proof your house? Plug the outlets. Lock the cupboards. Baby gate the stairs. Put the breakable up high. Not that any of that matters. You’ll just be frustrated trying to plug in the vacuum until the child pulls out the outlet protector for you.
We find ourselves trying to keep them safe while they find any source of danger possible.
The challenge of parenting continues to evolve as they grow. They start sleeping all night long. It’s a beautiful moment to wake in the morning to realize that you just got more sleep in one night than you used to get in a week.
New challenges to overcome
Suddenly faced with a walking, talking toddler, we attempt to start potty training, instill some respect and manners and pray we don’t have a picky eater. They run to be chased. They jump to be caught. They talk to be heard.
When they start school there will be entirely new challenges to overcome.
Develop a morning routine. Making sure they’re trying their hardest. Making sure they’re not falling behind. Making sure they understand. It won’t be good enough to just ask questions. You’ll need to ask the right questions.
They learn so fast.
Then you’ll have to figure out what’s for supper. Despite the obstacles, they play games. They joke. They learn so fast.
I hear when they grow to be teens you can’t keep food in the house.
I’m guessing this will be true at our house. They’re already insatiable. At this age, they’re adult-like. Of course, they think are full-fledged adults. As parents, we know they won’t realize they’re not adults at this stage until they’re 25.
From rompers and diapers to cars with empty fuel tanks
Although there are challenges at each phase, those challenges evolve though each stage of growing up. Sometimes they seem to change overnight. Where once they were in a romper and a full diaper they’re now in a car with an empty fuel tank.
To appreciate the stage is to appreciate the child. Even if you are a sleepless zombie.