Seventeen years ago, in addition to weighing enough to qualify for heavy weight boxing status, I became a mom. Two weeks late, 22 hours and 30 minutes of labor, facing the wrong way, skinny as a noodle (which he remains to this day) out comes son #1…I was so exhausted that instead of looking at his bright eyes and thinking “I love this child,” all I could think of was taking a nap (and eating the Cheerios that my dad brought me, of course, food is love). So in honor of my anniversary of becoming a parent, I wanted to share with you a few things that I have learned over these past 17 years. Learned is different than know, as I really know nothing. For those of you with older children and grandchildren, feel free to disregard these ramblings. For those of you newer parents, hope you find this helpful or humorous. Or neither. Or both.
1 .Reading books on the whole baby stage, sleeping/feeding schedule is about as helpful as reading a comic book. Every baby is different. Son #1 slept for hours, son #2 didn’t sleep at all and I don’t remember what son #3 did because I was so sleep deprived.
2. When you feed your baby oatmeal and he projectile vomits, and then you feed it to him again and he projectile vomits again, don’t listen to your pediatrician to “try it a third time and see what happens.” Oatmeal isn’t worth it, I don’t care what Bob Harper from the Biggest Loser tells you.
3. When boys pee, the stream defies gravity. Aim at a tree, it hits the tree, aim at the side of the toilet, it lands on the side of the toilet. Aim at your little brother…you get the point. It is an amazing thing to see.
4. Let your child pick the color of his coat. Son #1 picked purple. He never gave me a problem about wearing it. Three boys, 6 years of a purple coat (God bless Lands End). And then he ended up a Vikings fan, whose team color is…purple. Coincidence?
5.Generic diapers are just as good as name brand ones. Of course those diapers never touched the tushy of my first child, but as you keep having them, you learn.
6. When your little one runs into your room and says “Jonah got chocolate on the carpet,” it’s time to call the carpet cleaner because it isn’t chocolate.
7. You are your child’s biggest advocate.(This is a serious one) If you see something isn’t right, it probably isn’t. If you think your child needs extra services or extra help, you make it happen.You are their protector, it is your job. No one will ever love your child as much as you do!
8. Stitches happen. Enough said on that one.
9. Family vacations are only enjoyable a few weeks after you get back home (unless you travel with a staff to take care of your kids).
10. Driving with your child for the first time is worse than childbirth. At least with childbirth, you get good drugs, if you take good drugs while driving with your child, that could end badly.
So that is where I am up to. Seventeen years and I haven’t been arrested for screaming at my kids in public, which, hopefully, will never be a crime. Happy Birthday to my firstborn. Thank you for making me a mom. May God watch over you and all of our children…
Banji Latkin Ganchrow is a Teaneck resident and writer who enjoys traveling across the country by car with her husband and three sons. She is also the author of the blog holycrapimgonnabe40 and hopes to, one day, write a best-selling novel and appear on the Ellen Show.
By Banji Latkin Ganchrow