|Grandma, Boo, and Bit at the pumpkin patch|
A preface: biologically, I'm not a parent. But we've had Little Bit since she was three months old while her dad was in school and her mom worked, and now Boo has joined her while both their parents work. (For them, it's an economic necessity.) So while I'm Auntie Laura and my mom is Grandma, we've got approximately half shares in raising the girls because they're here a minimum of five days a week, nine hours a day.
1) You are no longer allowed to go to the bathroom alone. It's true. Bit is three and still has to come to talk to whoever is in the bathroom, and now that Boo is crawling, she follows you to the bathroom. As long as she's on the area rug at your feet while you pee, she's happy, but leave her with Grandma, and she gets mad!
2) If you want to sew because, after all, there are other responsible adults right there to help, and you're in the same room, anyway, be prepared for both children, who were happily playing a minute ago, to make a beeline towards you and either insist that you help them right now or the baby will come over to use your pants to pull up on and then want to be picked up. Really, the toddler wants to 'help' and the baby wants to watch, but since their versions of "helping" and "watching" involve touching.... especially that shiny needle on the sewing machine that goes up and down!
3) Whatever you have is better than what I have. It's true. For the most part, Bit is over this. But Boo has just started. And she only has two teeth... both on the bottom. It doesn't matter if you have the same thing, they want yours. Sit down with a drink, and the baby will try and pull herself into your lap so she can get a taste.
4) If you've been chasing the kids all day, and one is about to color (or stick stickers) on the walls while the other is yanking all the tissues out of the box, you're absolutely tempted just to let them do it so that you have ten minutes of peace and quiet...
5) Baby gates are like waving a red flag in front of a bull. They take it as a challenge to overcome. When we put the gate up, if one of us has to go in the blocked off area, the baby will sit in front of the gate a scream for the one they can't see. Because, after all, to an eight-month-old out of sight really is out of mind!
6) Looking at my girls, some people might report child abuse, because Bit tripped while I was in the bathroom and hit her face against the fridge and got a fat lip, and Boo is trying to learn how to walk and keeps falling and banging her head on the wood floors with the inevitable bruises that follow. I keep reminding myself that this too shall pass, and this leads to #6--people will give you dirty looks as if you were abusing your kid for yelling at them in public. Even panic yelling like " 'Insert full name here' you get back here RIGHT NOW. You know better to RUN in the STREET where a car can SQUASH you like a BUG!!!!" And here I thought I was being a good, safety-conscious Auntie!
7) Washing a baby's face is just as bad as water boarding them in their minds. This also follows for putting clean clothes on them.
8) No matter how many times I use a baby wipe to clean off the girls' faces, they still have to lick it to see if it tastes better this time. This holds for food that they don't like, too--they have to have some just to prove that it still doesn't taste good.
9) Paper, is, apparently, the most delicious substance on the planet if you're a baby because it's the one thing that Boo always tries to eat when she gets her hands on some.
10) Diapers are toys, not necessary apparel. And you can't leave dirty ones lying around, for even half a second, because the baby wants to taste them. After all, all her other toys go in her mouth!
I'm sure the next few years will bring more things I never knew, and I'll have to keep adding to the list!