When you’re pregnant, you have this vision of how life will be. Your life won’t stop because of kids. You’ll still do everything you once did. The children will fit into your already-established world. You’ll never put them in front of a screen. They’ll learn how to socialize, and be respectful, and have meaningful and polite conversations with adults.
I knew all these things to be true because I was a teacher and I knew it all. “These other moms just don’t understand the development of children,” I used to say to my husband, “our children will be different.”
But now they are here. Both of them. They are here, and they are loud, and they are messy, and they very much have their own agenda in which our “already-established world” has yet to find a place.
The Daily Slog
Getting my children from daycare pickup to inside our home (which, by the way, is less than five miles away) is by far the most stressful part of my day.
I arrive at daycare and walk in the baby’s class. She’s eating, so I leave her and venture down to pick up the two-year-old.
“She hasn’t had an accident all day!” her teacher proclaims, “but… ” my face immediately goes from smiling to tired, “she just pooped in her panties.” I mentally curse myself for not getting the baby first because now I am obligated to clean up the mess. Right? Because I am her mother, and I’m here, and she’s running to me, and it’s my job because yes, it was my idea to have these children. #momguilt.
The two-year-old is finally clean, and we walk into the baby’s room. Since leaving her classroom eight minutes ago, she has finished her bottle and has just had a blowout. I change her diaper and her clothes because I am her mother, and I’m here, and it’s my job, but now I can’t remember whose idea it was to have these children. I make a mental note to blame my husband when if we ever get home.
I buckle her in the bucket seat, she screams because she hates it. I lift the 400 lb. contraption along with two backpacks, two dirty clothes bags, my keys, a stuffed animal, and a blanket. We are finally ready to go home! And then I realize… my two-year-old is missing.
I scream her name and no response. I begin walking the halls with all my baggage in tow. The baby is still crying. I finally find the two-year-old at the water fountain, which seems like a mile from the exit. The teacher in me understands this is a teachable moment, and I take the time to get down on her level and talk about the importance of staying with mommy. To which she responds, “I need to go potty.”
This parenting stuff is a breeze.
After she tries to go potty, because it turns out she didn’t really need to go, the baby is still crying, and we are all finally on the way home. We pull in the driveway. I lug all the stuff in the door and start the feeding, bath time, bedtime routine.
As by now you can imagine, this is a process that is no less tiring than daycare pickup. I typically pawn bath time off on my husband because I need a break, and by the time that is finished, he needs a break too. So, when parents tell me they’re tired, I really do get it.
My vision to be a mom with perfect, respectful, compliant children is now less of a vision and more of a seemingly impossible dream. We’ll call it a unicorn.
But as much as I’m eating my pre-children words, and laughing at the naivety of a younger me, and falling asleep during all the shows that used to exist in our established world, I’m making certain that I don’t neglect one promise.
I will read a book to my child every night.
It’s never too early to start reading to your child. Even if your child is not yet talking, he or she is still learning. Research shows that being read to is the single best predictor of academic achievement. Reading books aloud exposes your child to vocabulary and has a significant impact on developing early reading and writing skills.
Learn How to Read to a Fidgety Toddler
You do not have to have a background in education to make reading to your child meaningful.
I would like to invite you to Meade’s Reads sponsored by The SNAIL on the Wall on Thursday, September 27th in the front circle of the Drake campus of Randolph School.
I will bring my favorite bedtime read-aloud books for toddlers and give you quick and easy lessons you can pull from these. I encourage you to bring your favorites as well. All books mentioned will be available for purchase, but there is no obligation to buy. So, come to this free community event, grab a cup of coffee, and let’s commiserate as we sleepily prepare to power through and read.