Posted by Duff

You know how they tell you, when you’re expecting your first child, that if you’re not a natural, you’ll get good at changing diapers or diffusing meltdowns or refereeing slap fights? Well, that’s true. You have no other choice.

What they don’t tell you is how good you’ll get at doing whatever odd thing it is that your specific child requires. Like:

  • Pinning a thrashing, alternately gasping and screeching child against your chest so a pediatrician can use a tuning fork to scrape wax from his tiny ears to then check for ear infections.  One day, you may learn to do this without sweating. After 50+ ear checks, I still haven’t found the right deoderant.
  • Remembering to advise your own Dervish to grasp the cuffs of her shirt BEFORE putting on her jacket, so she can avoid thrashing, screeching and sweating.
  • Understanding that everyone likes their hot dogs, like their coffee, served in a way only they can determine.
  • Determining which child can tolerate quitter socks and which child requires tagless, non-restrictive clothing, EXCEPT for quitter socks. Sigh.
  • Removing all items from a night-lit room that may cause wee-hour misinterpretation in the manner of all things boogey, frog-eyed, or insect.

That said, each of these rarely-awarded skills is worth, in the chronicle of parenting, more than a Mercedes. I encourage all of us to keep track of them–because, when you’re late for work or an appointment or tired or so worn down by their necessity you can’t appreciate them, these are the things that are easy to forget but make your children as precious as their fingerprints.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford to forget a one of them.

Go write them down. Please. I’ll wait here.