By the time I got pregnant with our first child, I considered myself something of an expert on motherly lectures, having been on the receiving end of countless iterations of such classics as “If Everyone Else Jumped Off a Cliff, Would You Do It, Too?” and “This Hurts Me More Than It Hurts You.” I could recite “Well, I’m Not Everybody Else’s Mother” in three languages, and I was already rehearsing “Money Doesn’t Grow On Trees, You Know” in anticipation of the onslaught of kid-centric advertising sandwiched in between Saturday morning cartoons.
In short, I thought I was prepared.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Perhaps our kids are just unique. Or maybe my memory of childhood is not that clear. Whatever the cause, I have found myself cast adrift, forced to spin parenting soliloquys from thin air for situations I never dreamed of as I prepared to bring a new little life into the world. It was clear as soon as my tiny darlings began to walk and talk and interact with others that there were some pages missing in my Motherhood Manual, key lectures that I was forced to deliver with little or no preparation. Allow me to list a few of them for your edification. And, as if the subjects aren’t strange enough, remember–these are all speeches I’ve had to give more than once:
- “Girls Don’t Like to Be Told They’re Squishy, Even If They Are”
- “The Coffee Table is Not a Surfboard” (closely related to that maternal classic: “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things”)
- “Are You Really Standing There Telling Me You Didn’t Do It When You Know I Just Saw You Do It?”
- “Underwear is Not Optional”
- “You Two Are Family, and Family Doesn’t Hit Each Other In the Face With Light Sabers”
- “If You Come Upstairs to Wake Us Up Before Six A.M., Your Hair Better Be On Fire”
- “School Starts In Ten Minutes! Why Didn’t You Tell Me You Needed to Dress Up As a Dr. Seuss Character/Baseball Player/Ice Cream Sundae Before Now?”
- “Don’t Just Say You’re Sorry–Show You’re Sorry”
- “After You Belch or Pass Gas, The Correct Response is ‘Excuse Me’, Not ‘Good One!'” (This one is not limited to the children of the house, I’m sorry to say.)
How about you? What unexpected parenting lectures seem to take place over and over in your house?