There have been times in my short couple years of being a parent that I have found it helpful to view parenting as you would as a video game. This might sound bizarre, but hear me out. You always hear of those disasters that babies/toddler/young children and so forth cause. Yet, when you meet your sleeping angel in the hospital you think this perfect little one won’t be the tantrum throwing, destroying type. Then a few months or years pass and you have that moment that you realize you are on a whole new level than that first introduction to your darling offspring. I remember having that moment of realization after nights and nights of not sleeping and walking the floors with my wailing newborn. The aha moment of “Oh, wait, this is parenthood. This is a whole new level I was not prepared for.”
The second time I had this realization was when LM was a few months old. We were finally getting out of the house more. (I think I just got used to the sleep deprivation.) One particular morning I was going to meet up with some friends. I had gotten up early and had my hair done, make-up on, was actually dressed as was LM and he had been freshly fed. I picked him up to put him in the car seat so we could dash out the door and much to my surprised my dear child projected spit up all down the front of me and him. It was one of those stories you hear from parents and now it was happening to me.
It is in these circumstances that viewing parenthood as a game as useful. When you are playing a video game of your choice, when you first get to a new level, it can be frustrating because it is more difficult. But with patience, persistence and time you adjust to the new changes and it’s a breeze. If this metaphor doesn’t work for you, then try this one. Sometimes I think parenthood should come with a rewards card, like most major stores give out. For example: Major blowout, I should get a punch in my parenthood experience card. Projectile spit up, punch in the parent card. After five punches, you should at least get yourself an ice cream cone. Ten punches should be a morning to sleeping in. With this mentality, it helps one to roll with the punches, if you will.
The newest parenthood level I’ve been facing is the level of the toddler. The screaming “No” in my face has left me stunned. Did my sweet child really just say that? Another example of the toddler stage that has left me frozen in my tracks was the other day when I put LM down for a nap. I could hear him playing in the crib, but I left him for a little while figuring he would lie down and fall asleep. Time passed and I could still hear him playing. I gave up and decided to go get LM. As I walked up the stairs to his room, the most pungent smell caused my nose to wrinkle. I figured I had just left the diaper pail open. As I entered LM’s room he was proudly running back and forth in his crib with his shorts and diaper off. A new skill he was happy to show me that he had learned. However, the contents of his diaper were spread out all over him, his blanket and crib. I’ll leave the gory details there. Like I said, we are now on a whole new level of parenting, aren’t we kiddo.