Saturday, June 17, 2006

Of babies and drool (mine, not theirs)

It’s often been said that kids don’t come with an instruction manual. I beg to differ.

When our first child was placed in my arms nearly 16 years ago, I also received a detailed journal of his first six weeks of life, thanks to the diligence of his wonderful foster mom. She had been careful to record all of his preferences - back patted or rubbed (rubbed); pacifier or thumb (pacifier); cloth or disposable (disposable); soup or salad (salad, with extra croutons and ranch dressing on the side). She even had him sleeping through the night. In my opinion, she’s so far up the sainthood ladder she should be the next Pope.

So you can imagine my surprise when I gave birth to our daughter a year later, and she didn’t emerge from the womb clutching a spiral notebook titled, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Raising a Self-Proclaimed Princess But Were Afraid to Ask. And she had the nerve to wake me up every 2 hours to eat. The next two kids were even worse. Everything I thought I knew about parenting infants was, of course, utterly outdated for the 1993 and 1995 models.

My mother was no help. Actually, she did offer up one bit of wisdom that turned out to be 100% accurate: “Welcome to motherhood. You’re going to be tired for the rest of your life.”

I am tired. Fortunately, I have mastered the fine art of sleeping nearly anywhere. Unfortunately, I have also mastered the fine art of sleeping with my mouth hanging open like a vast cavern, and usually in the vicinity of my childrens’ friends. My eleven year old son tells me I’m “an embarrassment to nature.” This, coming from the kid who thinks soap is for sissies.

To his complaint, I say, “Tough noogies.” My kids made me tired, so they can deal with the consequences. And they’ve been given strict instructions that if there’s a drool puddle under my face, to let me sleep. No drool - call 911.

Well, it’s time to show my son I have not yet begun to embarrass him. Tomorrow is his hockey practice. My goals are two-fold: 1) get a good 2-hour power nap, and 2) snort loudly in my sleep a few times.

Look for his side of the story in a few days, on his blog.

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