Lil O has brought such change in our life, like literally running him (and me) out of energy so he’ll go to bed. And never peeing alone. (The struggle is real.) But I’ve found a few gems along the way. So here are a few brilliant things I never did before a child:
TV closed captioning is always set to “on.” Between O being a noisy toddler banging pots in the kitchen (seriously, the child LOVES to cook), me banging pots while I make dinner, and J trying to talk to me, I can’t ever hear what the characters on TV are saying. So the closed captioning is permanently “on.” I actually really like it, and we keep it on even after O goes to bed and the house is quiet. It is pretty funny when company comes over and they’re all like, “You can’t even see the faces of these characters because of the words on the screen.” Oh, I don’t notice. Because I just read my TV. It’s called survival, people.
Put EVERYTHING in the dishwasher. But by everything, I really mean dishes. Because we have accidentally thrown other things in there, and…it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but…just don’t. I used to hand wash big mixing bowls and cutting boards. But ain’t nobody got time for that anymore. And if it doesn’t all come out clean because I over packed it? I thrown in another Cascade dishwasher pac and run that puppy again. Then it usually comes out mediocre-clean. It can’t always be a win, people.
Just say “screw it.” It’s Memorial Day weekend. J and I spent all spring working and we’re ready for a break. So we’re heading to the grandparents for a fun weekend at the cabin/farm – and dodging the crazy amount of rain and thunderstorms that have been predicted (bright green rain boots? check!). Then I’m taking all next week off of work to spend time with my boys: going to the zoo (zoo, zoo), exploring a couple new parks, and since “duck” is lil O’s new fav word, we’re gonna check these birds out at a lake nearby. Plus, I’ve promised J we’re going to research and make healthy homemade breakfast burritos and/or sandwiches (any recommendations?).
J is more concerned the week is going to consist of projects (mostly for him) and deep cleaning (and rightly so of him to worry, based on previous experiences where I have a complete melt-down and subsequent cleaning frenzy as a result of stepping on one too many squishy or crunchy things on the kitchen floor in my bare feet. I just can’t even, y’all.). But I’m determined to “Mary” it and live large with my boys for a few days! Pray for me. Because I’ll likely have a couple Martha-like freak outs and have to pull through.
Prep meals the night before. Oh, Lord! If only I had energy to do this more often! I try to have my crap together at least once a week to have meat out of the freezer a couple days before I need it. Then I might brown the deer meat (apparently now J thinks we’re calling them “sloppy does” thanks to a Tim Allen “Last Man Standing” episode) and put the meat in a container to warm up the next day, or assemble the enchiladas or casserole right then. And pop it in the fridge with a lid, to go in the oven tomorrow night. It makes my next night’s evening so much more enjoyable and less exhausting.
Buy things online. While on maternity leave, it was so much work to prep Baby O to go out and me to pray that I wouldn’t start leaking more milk like the cow that I was. (TMI? Well, it just happened, so can’t take it back!) And then I discovered online shopping. Cue the Hallelujah chorus. Most places offer free shipping on a minimum purchase and that stuff appears a few days later! I don’t shop online as often now because I’m usually unprepared and can’t wait 5-7 days for it to show up (and I’m not willing to pay the price to overnight it). But I do it often enough to learn what a blessing it is to buy anything. Because, sometimes, I just don’t have the time and energy to drive across town and hope for the item I need. We did nearly all our Christmas shopping online this past year, and avoiding the crowds in the stores was worth every penny of shipping for some of the specialty places.
Kegels. If you’ve never had a child and you’re a woman planning to have a child some day, do these. Lots of them. Especially post-pregnancy. Because you’ll never be able to control your bladder. ever. again. And I’m reminded of this every time I have a massive sneeze, have to furiously blow my nose, or do jumping jacks (which I don’t do. It’s just good policy.). YouTube a “how-to” kegels video. It may feel weird or awkward, but you need it in your life. You just need it. (And I don’t know how “brilliant” this is. More just necessary.)
Love Big. This little human forces me to enjoy the beautiful things I’m so used to: snow, rain, grass, butterflies. At least every other day I have a 5 second moment where I stare and smile at lil O because he is so beautifully inquisitive. (I mean, just look at this car wash curiosity.) And I can’t get enough. They always say the love you have for a child is unlike anything you’ve ever felt. Those people are absolutely right – and brilliant. And all the feels.