5 Truths and a Lie – Parenting cliché edition

“It takes a village.”
“The days are long, but the years are short.”
“He’ll grow out of it.”
“Life will never be the same.”
“Enjoy the little things. One day you’ll realize they were the big things.”
“Boys will be boys.”

It takes a village: Perhaps not a village, but at least an army. In my case: A hands-on husband, doting grandparents, fabulously kind and reliable nanny, and flexible boss. Not to mention speech therapist, mom-friend support and guidance, housecall pediatrician, dog-walker for the canine children. Big shoutout to Netflix and YouTube, without which I would not have completed a solo shower in 3+ years. Truth

The days are long, but the years are short: Ever gotten snowed in with small children? It starts off so magically. Crafts, hot chocolate, maybe a little family baking while home and garden are buried under a fluffy duvet of snow. 5 hours in, one kid is crying because you won’t let her stay outside and get frostbite, the other kid never even made it out the door, and is crying because you tried to put mittens on him. Your house looks like a bomb detonated, the snow is 2 feet deep and not due to stop until midnight, and child bedtime is a solid 7 hours away. This realization leads you to beg your husband to get a vasectomy, and Google search the alcohol content of cooking wine, because that is the closest thing to booze you have available.

The years, on the other hand, fly by with terrifying speed. A precious newborn crawls one day and walks the next, and just moments later straps on a backpack and climbs onto a big yellow school bus without looking back to see you blowing kisses and swallowing sobs. Truth

He’ll grow out of it: When my sweet, gentle toddler began to hit me whenever he got frustrated, I was horrified, and asked a friend if this might indicate that he was a burgeoning serial killer. She laughed and told me that he’d grow out of it as soon as he had the vocabulary to express his frustration with words. I remained unconvinced, staying awake late at night to research Jeffrey Dahmer’s childhood behavior. Indeed she was right, as his speech development progressed, the swatting episodes dissipated and then disappeared completely. Truth

Life will never be the same: Two things to say about this: 1. No shit. 2. Thank God. Anyone who expects single life after marriage, or childless life after children, is a mystery to me. Nothing has been so hard, yet so rewarding and fulfilling. I wouldn’t want it any other way. Truth

Enjoy the little things. One day you’ll realize they were the big things: It was not until I had my own that I truly understood the importance of family. This is not to say that I didn’t value my parents or siblings – I just didn’t recognize what it means to be part of a family unit, or the pure joy that parent- and grandparenthood brings. It used to irritate me that my mother brought dozens of rolls of Kodak film on every family vacation, lining us all up in front of every monument and natural wonder, snapping pictures to document each moment. Low and behold, I am now an admittedly photo-obsessed mama, armed with 2 DSLR cameras, 6 lenses and a smartphone, determined not to miss One Minute. Now I get it. Truth

Boys will be boys: Looking at this from one angle, there is some truth to it. I do see my son and other boys his age developing sudden and lasting obsessions with trucks or sports, wanting to dig in (and sometimes eat) dirt, and other stereotypically “boy” interests and actions. Before having T, my kid experiences were mostly limited to girls – and all the ones in my life were crazy about dolls, loved having tea parties, and were into playing dress-up. None of them showed any interest in anything involving wheels or worms.

Having said that, I disagree wholeheartedly with this phrase when used in the context we most often see or hear it: to excuse rough or inappropriate behavior. That, my friends, is complete bullshit. I don’t care if you’re 3 or 53, unwanted physical contact is unacceptable and should be addressed, not explained away. Lie

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