Random Ephemera

10 First Moments in Parenting That No One Warns You About

My friends Rachel and Naomi recently welcomed an adorable pair of twins into the world. Cute couple, cute kids, everyone healthy and happy and basically the story you always hope for when the pregnancy journey starts.

When you have a baby you buy a baby book. It's full of all kinds of milestones for you to fill out like baby's first haircut, baby's first day home, etc. It's a chronicle of all those magical moments that we build up as parents. There are, however, moments that are far less magical that no one talks about and no one is ever prepared for.

So Rach? Naomi? This is for you and all the new parents in the world. You're going to be great at this whole shaping-a-young-human's-life thing, and maybe if you see these coming you won't feel so bad when they happen.

10. The First Time a Balloon Makes You Think There's an Intruder in the House: Most people don't think twice about balloons as adults, but to kids they are like freakin' magic so you buy them. The thing is they tend to hover at just about head high with those clips that most places balloons are sold are attached to the end of the string. They're also silent, and the currents from your air conditioning have a habit of dragging them slowly behind you until you whirl around convinced some psychopath in a Spongebob mask is here to decorate the walls with your innards. Bonus fact, they can make a sinister scratching noise in the dark when they brush against the wall!

Flashback The Parade of Bad, Bad Baby Names on Mother's Day from PBS Sprout

9. The First Time Something Ridiculous Became a Ritual: I never understood religion until I had a kid. There she is, crying non-stop with you clinically insane from sleep-deprivation when suddenly you get the idea to put an octopus on your head and do a funny little dance while singing "Hava Nagila." She starts laughing and agrees to settle down for a nap. The next night, you figure it might work twice and for months afterwards you are bound to the Octo-Nagial Dance of Laughter every evening at exactly 7:15 p.m. To me this explains every ridiculous superstition and bizarre piece of religious orthodoxy in the world. Scared, tired people will do anything to appease either God or an angry toddler.

8. The First Time Something Cute Becomes Really Annoying: The ability of kids to learn and respond is what makes watching them grow so amazing. That said, you may clap and cheer the first time they chase you pretending to be a monster, but it gets real old real fast the moment you're trying to get them into a car seat so you can get to daycare and work on time. Speaking of a car seat...

7. The First Time You Realize Restraining Them is No Longer Possible: Say what you will about the first couple of years of your child's life, but the odds are that if you at least put them in their crib they'll stay there. Then one day you wake up and they're standing over you like Michael Myers in the first part of Halloween. Suddenly, they could be literally anywhere, watching, waiting to find a clever way to turn something you thought was safe into a lifelong injury.

6. The First Time THE Toy Cannot Be Found: Children rotate several stuffed animals, blankets, and other objects as the most important one to their security. You'd think that something so crucial would be easily held onto by a kid, but they will find the first opportunity they can to stash it someplace beyond all kinds of sense and you will start to wonder when exactly spending two hours searching for the yellow bunny (not the pink or white one, cretin) seemed like a perfectly good use of your time.

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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner