Everyone knows children change you. But in my case, I’m ruined. Ruined, I tell you!
Wanna know eight ways in which I am totally wrecked now that I have kids?
8. I can’t do just one thing at a time.
It’s simply not possible any more to just read or cook or go to the bathroom. I have to run over mental to-do lists and gauge how long I have before one of the children loses it while I try to read, and I must dodge in front of the baby to snatch whatever crumbs he finds while I try to cook food for the family plus several special requests for the older child. And the one time this week I went to the bathroom without holding someone, yelling at someone, listening carefully for someone, or preparing to go stop someone, I was done and washed in 30 seconds flat. I used to use the office restroom as my locked-door-where-nobody-can-see-me-close-my-eyes-and-breathe-for-ten-seconds haven. Now I hold my breath and rush through so often that force of habit made me miss this week’s only solo effort.
7. I can’t ignore bugs.
I’m not a bug person. I paid my brother to collect bugs for me when Biology class mandated a bug murder-and-display project. But now that I have children I can’t let a bug go by without stooping down to check it out, point out its details, and wonder about its diet. Sometimes Peanut asks about a bug, but more often I’m distracting one or both boys from all manner of childish b.s. and need to point them to something unusual. So critters who used to make me shudder are now members of my emergency “please-let-me-make-it-through-today-and-I’ll-give-money-to-local-entomologists” toolkit.
6. I have amazing biceps.
Two children with long-term separation anxiety issues equals 5 years of lifting heavy weights. They don’t fit with the rest of my body at all, so I’m freakishly distorted now (aside from the typical post-pregnancy distortions none of which have I escaped).
5. I can’t see a garbage truck without looking around excitedly for a child.
It doesn’t even matter if I’m away from my own children. When I see or hear a garbage truck I get all frenzied hoping I can make someone appreciate this amazing (huh?), unusual (what?), scintillating (who are you?) sight.
4. Slightly more embarrassing is my new, post-child reaction to fire engines.
I grin and wave and talk excitedly about the differences between a pumper, tiller rig, rear-mount aerial ladder, and snorkel truck. Last week I went for a walk without the boys and realized only when I saw the reactions from the firefighters that I was waving and smiling while completely alone.
3. Clients seem a lot more reasonable.
After negotiating cataclysms in which sandwiches were cut rather than left whole, adults removed shoes from a comfortably shod child, protein is poison and little bodies claim to need only sugar to survive, and waitstaff are tipped heavily for the mounds of food on the floor beneath high chairs, clients who want a quicker turnaround or want additional iterations seem downright fair even when they don’t say, “please.”
2. I can’t vacuum without warning the household, even if I’m alone.
Every child goes through vacuum issues. Mine adore the vacuum and fight over who gets to be held aloft to steer with me. If I ever turn on the vacuum without making sure its dance card is properly allocated, I don’t hear the end of it for days. So I warn the cat about the noise and ask who wants to help. Even if it’s 11:00pm and nobody around me cares.
Everything is different now, but the biggest change, the most significant reason I am ruined now that I’ve had children:
1. I cannot pass by even one festive decoration without stopping and grinning. I didn’t even know I had it in my heart that is two sizes too small, but I’m fascinated and entranced by twinkly lights. Glitter makes me giggle. Streamers lighten my day. And its all their fault. As infants they made me look up. As toddlers they made me explain why. And as adults, they’re gonna pay.
Because I’m wrecked. They’ve ruined me.