A slightly above-average achiever's guide to parenting
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Parenting Is Like Boiling a Frog
January 3, 2017
There I sat on my bathroom floor, nursing my baby while I simultaneously rubbed my toddler's back as he pooped his ever loving brains out on the toilet, scream/crying that his belly hurt. All the while, a trail of diarrhea covered my kitchen, bathroom, my toddler's legs, and part of mine. And somehow, in the middle of this poop-pocalpse, I remained calm. Almost detached. It was as if I was floating above myself watching it unfold. And I thought to myself "how did I get here?"
I suspect most parents have had that moment. Hopefully not that exact moment. But something similar, only less covered in poop. The moment that pushes you to your breaking point. The one you'll be telling for years to come. My mom still talks about that time when my dad was out of town, she had two young kids, and everyone had strep throat, and a gallon of milk spilled on the floor and she just watched it glug, glug, glug out of the container. And now, as a parent, I know that moment. I can almost see the milk just pulsing out of the container, and feel that feeling of "I. can't. even." Because that's how I felt rubbing Chewie's back while sitting on my bathroom floor.
But the thing about parenting is that we don't start here. If you told these stories to a non-parent, they would look at you with horror and probably say "WHY? Why do you live like this?" My brother recently spent the entire day with three kids under 7 and he said to me "anyone who has that many kids is insane." And I didn't disagree with him. The noise and energy and destruction of three rambunctious younger kids is at another level. So he's not wrong. But I did explain to him, that three kids is something you work up to. Like endurance running, or weight lifting, or-- like boiling a frog.
Apparently (and who figured this out or why, I'll never know), when you boil a frog, if you drop them in boiling hot water, they will immediately jump out. But, if you start the temperature low and slowly increase it, they'll stay in until the water is boiling and they croak. And I've decided that parenting is pretty much the same.
As I sat on the bathroom floor, covered in poop, I realized that if you would've dropped me into that scenario on my first day of parenting, I might have returned Chewie to the hospital. I remember when Chewie was only a few days old, I got the tiniest bit of pee on me and FREAKED out. Now, there are days (aka, all of the days) when BFF spits up on me and I wipe it off and instead of changing my shirt, I do the analysis of "can you tell this is spit up? how bad does it smell? will anyone notice?" So, yeah. I think you could say my tolerance level has changed.
So, when it finally came to that unholy moment where my toddler was pooping all across my kitchen and bathroom floors, and I was running with him to the bathroom WHILE nursing/squirting milk all over his brother-- neither were entirely new experiences. Certainly an 11 on the poop and nursing difficulty scales, but not new. So, while you better believe 'm going to be telling that story for years to come, it wasn't enough to make me jump out of the boiling pot.