Advice for New Parents

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Copyright: BriAnne Huwe Photography

If you're a new parent and don't have a sense of humor, may I suggest that you get one? And quick. If you're a seasoned parent who still hasn't figured out how to laugh, I'm pretty sure my article is not going to help you, nevertheless, you may continue to read and I'll take it as my challenge to force your hand.

Okay parents, your ability to laugh at all that's about to happen to you is the only thing that's going to save your sanity. Choose to see the humor in the chaos that is suddenly your life. And even if it isn't the least bit funny (which frequently happens), you should probably just laugh at it anyway. I mean, what's your alternative? Crying? Yeah, sure, I can see why walking around with a headache and puffy eyes would be appealing, but I prefer to deal with this in a way that's going to tone my abs and give me way cuter wrinkles than yours.

Fortunately for me, I find the jokes printed on Laffy Taffy wrappers to be funny, so I don't have to try very hard at this. It must be genetic because I can pick my Dad's laugh out of any crowd. It's music to my ears. I'd be able to hear my Mom's too except that when she laughs really hard no sound comes out. This is also genetic. I come from a long line of happy and I was also blessed with a husband who enjoys all things lighthearted, so I totally scored.

Honestly, my husband and I may not be mature enough to be parents because you'll frequently find us snickering like middle-schoolers. Everything's funny . . . even when it's not. And even when it's not funny at first, it eventually will be. Take my word for it.

You're going to frequently find yourself in situations where you know what you should do, but you laugh instead. I at least possess a certain amount of parental decency and try to muffle it when I know my laughter is inappropriate. I leave the room or pretend I'm bending down to pick something up or worst case scenario, I go strangely silent.

The other night my husband and I went with the strangely silent option and then laughed with each other when my four-year old wasn't looking.

In this house, nicknames get used a lot. It's Kyle's (that's my husband, in case I've never mentioned that he actually has a first name) fault completely. I always thought we were choosing names that couldn't be shortened, but he manages to shorten and "cutesify" everything. Hunter became Hunty, Tanner became Tan Tan or Tan the Man, Haylee became Hales or Boo Boo, and Avery became Aves. Haylee has taken her nickname from her Daddy and is using it on her little sister, so now Avery is Boo Boo too. Here's where the little dilemma comes in.

We're sitting at the dinner table and Haylee is baby talking up a storm to Avery while she's in her high chair. I will never be able to explain how overboard she goes with this baby talk thing. Just envision the most annoying baby talker you've ever tried to ignore and multiply it by 36 and you'll have a general idea.

So as I was saying, there we are, having a peaceful dinner (that alone should have made you laugh because there's no such thing as a peaceful dinner when you have young children . . . I'm only announcing this so you can practice that sense of humor in case the subtlety slipped by you). Haylee's "talking" away to Avery and says, "Alright Boobs, are you ready to get down?" Kyle asked her to repeat herself thinking (or maybe hoping) that he'd heard wrong, which she of course did because as far as she knew she wasn't saying anything wrong at all. Kyle mouths to me, "Did she just call her 'Boobs?'" I smiled, but could do nothing but stare at my plate. Haylee walked off and we snickered with delight.

Yes, we know what we should have done . . . we're not complete idiots after all. A simple explanation/education of why we don't call our sister 'Boobs' at the dinner table or anywhere else should have occurred. And in our defense, the conversation has since been had. Not that it helped.

She's still calling her Boobs. I wish I was kidding, but I'm not. Now when she does it and I give her "the look," she hysterically laughs and says, "Oh yeah, oops, we don't call our sisters names for girls' chests!" Right. We certainly don't. So stop it.

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Copyright: BriAnne Huwe

But if you can't laugh when your home rings with what sounds like a dirty joke, you're not going to make it. Believe me, when your son wakes from his nap and sticks his hand in his dirty diaper, just to smear it all over the walls and crib, it's funny. Your baby tears open the Christmas presents under the tree (see all the tape on the green one). Funny. Your son crosses his eyes in all of your family photos (because you're a photographer and he knows you won't see it since you're using the timer). Funny. Your five-year old tells you you're still fat six-months after you've had a baby. The same five-year old deliberately sprays insect repellent up his nose for no apparent reason. Your daughter throws herself down in front of a shopping cart so that you can not only hear, but see how mad she is that you won't buy her the eleventh thing she's asked for. Funny, funny, and funny.

Take my advice and start enjoying that chaos. It's not going away. None of your carefully laid plans will ever be successful. Someone's always going to have to go to the bathroom. And if they don't have to pee, they're going to throw up all over your car. Your kids are always going to make messes and spill things and flood your bathroom with even the shortest bath. They're going to miss the toilet. They're going to smash Play-doh into your carpet. They're going to color on walls and maybe even break a window when they throw their Lightning McQueen across the room at their brother. They're going to hate what you fixed for dinner. And honestly, at some point they're going to hate you. At least they're going to think that they do.

But you know what? Your five-year old is going to call his baby sister, Sweetie, instead of a part of his anatomy. You're going to get a great family photo some time. Your kids will be potty trained and will learn to hold it for longer than 10 minutes. Baths will be calm and toys will voluntarily be put away. You'll see works of art actually on paper and they're going to  love what you cooked for dinner. You're going to get kisses and hugs and thank yous. Sometimes they're going to fix what they broke. They're going to tell you that you're the best mom ever simply because you let them drive the tractors all through their Birthday cake. And they're going to love you.

So do yourself (and your kids) a favor and learn to see happiness and humor in ALL of it. Enjoy the ride. It's going to be wild. You're going to cringe, you're going to be mad (or irate), and you're going to want to cry. But put on a smile. If you can't laugh about it right then, make sure you laugh about it later. Learn to enjoy the awful parts, tolerate the disgusting parts, and laugh at the uncomfortable parts. You'll lose a lot less hair . . . and sleep . . . if you stop trying to control it and go with it instead. Just enjoy the life you chose.

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