What To Expect When You Are Expecting v. 2.0 Reality

A friend and I were texting this morning about our children and I realized that there are no textbooks that can prepare you for the onslaught of parenting. Yes, What To Expect When You Are Expecting might tell you about preeclampsia and low birth weight, it might guilt you out of drinking copious amounts of wine and eating hotdogs, but it doesn’t prepare you for the reality of becoming enslaved to your little darling/s.

Here are some things that should be included in WTEWYAE:

1. Stock up on stain remover and buckets. You should have an 18-year supply of carpet cleaning solution and whatever will remove vomit, feces, spit-up, urine, blood and snot from your clothing, furniture, purse, skin and hair on hand at all times.

2. You might give birth to an experiential learner. In that case be prepared for the Brown Glove: “Mama, my hand is a brown glove!” Never allow the experiential learner to shit unattended. You may also experience the Yellow Wall: “Mama, I paint pee!” Never allow the experiential learner to be naked unattended. Also the White Mouth: “Mama, I eat clay!” “Mama, I eat toothpaste” And, more than likely, the Mouthful of Something Unidentifiable: “Mama, I dog food!” “Mama, I cat food!” “Mama, I no know what ish is!” Never leave experiential learner unattended around pasty substances or at PetSmart.

3. You may give birth to a child who is on “The Spectrum.” Since being on the spectrum does mean sliding down a rainbow or riding on unicorns or fairies, prepare yourself for years of wondering if your child is simply a lovable dorky oddball or someone with a diagnosable challenge. Set aside thousands of dollars for therapy with psychologists, neuropsychologists, therapists, speech pathologists, and occupational therapists. Be prepared for the possibility that after years of therapy your child will more than likely remain a lovable dorky oddball who now has a diagnosis.

4. As much as you completely love your child, there will be times that you feel gasp disdain, irritation, mortification, disillusionment, boredom, withdrawal, anxiety, depression, elation, joy, and humiliation as a parent. Your friends may think you have a drinking problem because you really love, think, and talk at length about that one glass of wine you drink every evening.

5. Each month as your write out the loan payment for your graduate education that has rendered you unemployable, you will be subjected to the tones of your child’s “friends” and wish that you could be rendered unconscious at will:

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6. Summers will no longer be a time of frivolity, sunbathing, and carefree, sexy vacations. You will now be considered the vehicle for entertainment, the planner of play dates, the manufacturer of fun. You will beg various relatives to come for visits. You will count down the days until school begins.

7. You will pray for your own death when you sink your bare heel into a tiny Lego piece that has been strategically left in the carpet. This will happen in the middle of the night so you must learn to weep, scream and curse silently so you don’t wake up the children.

8. Your relationship with your partner will be different. Sex appeal and charm may take a backseat to her/his ability to A. Catch puke, B. Distract screaming children, D. Kill spiders, remove rodents, E. Retrieve ice cream, cupcakes, cake late at night F. Make strong coffee. Rather than seduction for seduction’s sake, you may find yourself seducing for more time to sleep, a day without children, time out with friends.

9. You may give birth to a gay child. Prepare your best gay friends to expect texts asking for parenting advice. You may be thrilled (I love gay people!), you may be scared (life is challenging enough!), you may fall in love with this child even harder because she/he is so uniquely, authentically, beautifully human.

10. Nothing about parenthood will be Expected. Many things you think you will not do, including co-sleeping with your child, breastfeeding your child past a certain age, and giving up sexual freedom, you will do. Expect it.

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39 thoughts on “What To Expect When You Are Expecting v. 2.0 Reality

  1. Perfect, Jen! It needs a complete rewrite. Please don’t forget to add the game “What’s that smell?”, the inevitable aim of babies to vomit down cleavage or into smiling relatives open mouths and the fact that after the baby comes, you will be late for everything for the next eleven years. Parenthood is an act of bravery!

  2. “What’s that smell?” & the aim thing are certainly worth adding. The “friends” part is what gets me. I’ve fallen asleep with the theme song to the Wonder Pets assaulting my brain & have found that – terrifying though it is – I don’t HATE the Backyardigans. When I finally reached the point in parenthood where I could have adult conversations that didn’t contain the word “poo” I was overjoyed. Ah…*sigh* simple pleasures.

  3. This is so good, I love it! You nailed so much on this one. I have to say though, I am now scared far more than I was about potty training now. Brown glove? I’m going to need some backup…..#4 – yes, yes and YES! #8 and #10, they need to teach in schools.

  4. Well said! And I am glad I am not the only person who drinks one glass of wine every night to save my sanity. : ) I miss our walks around the call center!

  5. Oh my god the brown glove killed me…!

    I will say with total honesty that this is the first summer since 1997 that I’ve actually been able to get work done, occasionally relax (gasp) and not feel absolute guilt for wanting to club myself when my kids awakened at 6:30 AM asking “What are we doing today!?? I’m bored!!!”

    No, this summer he is 15 and she’s almost 13. They sleep until 10:00, make their own breakfast around lunchtime and then make plans with their friends on their own. I do have to submit to some driving around, but it’s not the same as being the Cruise Director.

    Yep. After 15 years, It’s good stuff.
    (No sexy vacations yet, though. DANG.)

    • Julie, You write the best comments ever. And, you give me eternal hope for the future. I’ve got about 10 more years until sanity, right? Now that you’ve got your summers back somewhat, it is time to work on a sexy vacay!

  6. Absolutely perfect.
    A short story: My hubs was totally fucking useless when the twins were born. Like, seriously non existent; I was pretty much a single parent. I met up with an ooooldd flame that had a child the same age as mine and he was awesome with her – so nurturing. I HAD NEVER BEEN SO EFFING TURNED ON BY A MAN IN MY LIFE. ahem.

  7. You just slay me. The perfect mixture of funny and fabulous!

    I got an experiential learner on my hands, who just accidentally shoved a shoe down the toilet, put gummi bears in the microwave (“mom, I had to throw that plate away, who would have thought that gummi bears and melt INTO the plate”), just today accidentally moved scissors across his pants and opened and closed them while doing that and that was the end of the pants…
    The list is endless, BUT: Number 9! (I don’t know about the gay yet, but definitely uniquely, authentically, beautifully human!)

  8. You are amazing. I hate saying that because everyone says that. But it’s true. Once the bar mitzvah is over this weekend, I will become more original agin. So many of my creative brain cells have been reallocated to things like cutting rectangles. Thousands of rectangles. I’ve often thought What to Expect should be called “The Elaborate Lie.”

  9. And don’t forget all the things you never, ever could have dreamed up that you would say such as “don’t stick your finger in your penis hole.” or “we don’t put cheese slices in our butt.”

  10. Holy moly, this was good. I shall now prepare myself for the probability of my spectrum kid being a lesbian because my life just keeps getting more awesome like that.

  11. “you may fall in love with this child even harder because she/he is so uniquely, authentically, beautifully human” YES!!! True for so many lovable oddballs. I simply love this post!

  12. My daughter climbed into bed with me just about every night until she was about 6 – and I welcomed her with open arms! Everyone told me how terrible it was, she was developing a bad habit, etc. Well, she’s nearly 15 now and quite normal, thank you very much! And she also wants no parts of me anywhere near her bed!!! I think mothers were born with natural intuition – sometimes when my husband asked for an explanation for my actions, I couldn’t give it to him…it was just based on intuition. So screw the books and magazines, just love your kids and do the best you can!
    Lisa
    PS – add cat vomit as another reason for needing carpet cleaner!

  13. Vomit and poop, puke and shit. I sense a theme. My kids are older so my themes are I love you please ignore me can I have some money?

    I wanted to tell you that I started a blog! I am still figuring out what the hell I am doing. It looks like I am posting here under my blogging name. Whaddaya know.

    So, check it out, if you can find it. You are my blogging inspiration.

      • So you probably don’t even know who I am, since my previous comments were under another name. I am David F’s old friend from when we lived in New York. I have commented here several times and emailed with you about blogging. I will try not to post a fourth message. I think I have conveyed all necessary information…

  14. Truly it would make writing the check out for the graduate education easier if “How to seduce for more sleep” was one of the required courses. Might make it worthwhile even. Ellen

  15. ‘The manufacturer of fun’! I never heard it put that way, but that is exactly what we parents are. Fun manufacturers. No one tells you how much of a zombie you’ll be when you have a baby – how you’re on a forever hangover. Well, that was my experience anyway. And how rage-y you can get. I had no idea how angry I could be until my 2 year old bit me, hard.
    Oh, how I loved this post!!

  16. I’m pretty sure you should write that book. This list is perfect. My experiential learner (I’m going to start calling her that now) once painted her bedroom walls with poop. And I certainly didn’t expect that. She also wrote on the kitchen wall with a Reese cup, but that didn’t bother us nearly as much. Once we were sure it wasn’t poop.

  17. Love “paints with pee.” He’s very advante garde. (Did I spell that right?). And “you must weep, scream, curse silently” so you don’t wake up the kids. So true. So funny

  18. Love this! I stumbled upon you on twitter and I am sure glad I did! My son is now 14 months and I know exactly what you are saying- at least to the extent that I have experianced motherhood! Damn book- doesn’t teach you the real stuff!

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