Mom, You Didn’t Tell Me

Dear Mom

You didn’t tell me a few things about being a parent that I’ve had to learn as I’ve grown as a parent.

I could still use a little assistance on how to make first-initial shaped pancakes. Actually, while we’re at it, I could use a lot of help learning how to make that first pancake on the griddle edible. I usually throw it away. Did you know kids don’t have patience for a sacrificial pancake?

While we’re on the topic of staple kid food, I could have used a tutorial on making rice, too. Seems I can’t prepare two infinitely simple foods.

You never shared that I would be perfectly comfortable walking around at work with sludge on my shoulder. Or that vomit wouldn’t bother me – including fresh vomit contained in my fully-functioning purse while standing in line at the pharmacy waiting with 23 other people who also witnessed my moment of panic.

I didn’t know I would be able to easily and legally burn through medical flex dollars on Barbie and SpongeBob BandAids. I also didn’t know a BandAid fixes anything. I learned that BandAids are frequently used for non-existent injuries to please a screaming, crying, overreacting toddler.

Did you know an adult at an office gets a lot of comments on Barbie BandAids on her finger?

You always fed me bananas on peanut butter sandwiches. Kids don’t like banana-peanut butter sandwiches. Did you make that up?

I don’t believe you ever fully extrapolated exactly what a “stool sample” entailed.

How do I answer the question of where babies come from? At what age do they ask what actually happens in the hospital? What did I believe when you told me?

When my four-year-old child informs me, “Mommy, life isn’t always fair,” do I laugh at the maturity of that statement coming from someone wearing a plastic tiara, a four-foot wide tutu, and puddle jumping boots or do I cry because she’s right?

At what age do I step in and control the wardrobe selections? And then what age do I have to stop again?

Come to think of it, I didn’t get the memo on how the smell of a freshly-bathed and lotioned infant could render me completely useless until I had sufficient cuddle time.

And Mom, there are a few things I figured out after I became a parent that have helped me figure out what it really meant that you had eyes on the back of your head. I honestly didn’t figure this out until my oldest child started getting into mischief.

Reflections are everywhere. I now know I can check things out in the reflection of the pan on the stove and see which offspring is climbing on the counter for another pickle.

I figured out how to sneak a peek without a child noticing, turn back around, then discipline with my back turned. This, Mom, is how you did it. This, Mom, is how I got in trouble stuffing food in Brother’s mouth when I thought you were around the corner. (I hate meatloaf!)

I have learned to recognize the specific sound my older child makes when he’s sighing and can tailor my question to whether he’s frustrated and needs help or I think he can work through it. And I can tell which child is walking into the room based on her footsteps.

I can now anticipate a fight, someone getting hurt, and when something as simple as an unsharpened pencil can do damage to kitchen walls, the seemingly-safe clock way up on the wall and a potted plant. I can sense without hearing the water sloshing out of tub. I know a silent child in a room without toys is dangerous and should be addressed immediately.

When I was young I could not understand how you could do all this. Now I know and I consider this valuable information going forward. And I get how a chocolate fix is needed no matter what time of day.

Should I tell my kids these revelations? Nah. I think I’ll let them figure it out, too. I’ll continue this evil tradition.

P.S. Mom? I love you.

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