Every thirty seconds in America, a teenager calls their parents uncool. This shocking statistic is fabricated, yet eye opening. Parents interact with their children to bond with them and to make them feel happy & loved, doing whatever it takes to make that happen. Even as a relatively new mother, I have lost all sense of shame if it means making my little one smile. I imagine it’s not a trait you’d consciously try to break, even after your child reaches those not-so-smiley teenager years.
Where’d she go?!?
In my current world, the game “peek-a-boo” is a fantastic way for me to earn some baby giggles. There are variations of this game that make it more interesting, if you can imagine that, such as hiding behind different items (hands, a blanket, the neck of my shirt, etc.). I’ve gone as far as ducking below the stroller out in public so that I can’t be seen, then – surprise! – I’ll pop up out of nowhere. You had better believe I will milk this game for all I can, playing until I get told to stop. But don’t worry – if you can read this and you’re not my offspring, then you’re safe from me torturing you with a riveting round of peek-a-boo. Probably.
I can also make my kid happy during mealtime, above and beyond shoveling food into baby’s mouth as fast as humanly possible. During each meal, we both have a spoon so that the one I’m using doesn’t get stolen by a tiny person with an unexpectedly strong grip. My clever little one likes to imitate me by offering me an empty spoon. I gleefully accept, acting out a scene where I’m eating imaginary food served to me by an infant. It’s absolutely ridiculous; therefore, it gets me at least a smile even on the crankiest of days.
I have no natural musical talent. This is a fact, reiterated by feedback I’ve received over the years. Many friends have gently encouraged me to take singing lessons, which I can’t blame them for. I’ve listened to myself sing over a recording. I sound like a cat in heat falling off of a bicycle, then getting run over by that same bike. It’s bad. Where I had previously been somewhat conscious of my lack of talent, I am encouraged by my baby to belt out any and all tunes because it somehow brings joy. That adorable reaction is definitely going to have a shelf life.
Let it Pour
A rational non-parent would try to protect themselves from the weather on a rainy day. Me? Not so much. I’m too busy worrying about keeping the baby dry. I’ve done all sorts of maneuvers to make this happen, from holding the umbrella over the stroller to placing a diaper (unused, for the record!) over my child’s head to act as an impromptu hat. My kid is always taken care of, even if that means I end up looking like a wet dog.
Sharing is Caring
My mom used to tell me when I was growing up to not wipe my hands on my trousers. I learned that my clothes are not napkins from a young age, although I’ve recently unlearned that. There are usually wet wipes and/or burp cloths galore around for use, fortunately, but sometimes, you don’t have the luxury of using them. Many times, I’ll find my little one inadvertently spreading some boogies, spit up, you name it on my shirt. And somehow, I’m not too bothered by this.
We have a fun game in our house. It involves putting the baby in a laundry basket, then pushing the laundry basket fastfastfast. You’d have thought we were at Disney based on the reactions we get. It’s not so great on the old back, and it reminds me that it has been awhile since I’ve done a proper cardio workout, and yet I keep on keepin’ on.
It’s on you
Time goes as fast as it ever does. It has been twelve years since I graduated from university. My mind struggles to process this cruel truth, and yet it remains. In another twelve years, I’ll be a parent of a teenager. My college buds and I still use “your mom” jokes in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way because we think we’re funny (and your mom thinks so, too!). In a similar respect, I can picture myself initiating childish games, jamming tunelessly to songs on the radio, and taking care of my kid in unconventional ways because I earned positive feedback from doing just that earlier on. So beware of the precedent you’re starting, mini-me – this future of awkwardness is on you. Although the laundry basket game might remain a winner if we can find a larger sized one…