Quick book-related update: Book is now currently under review by two different agents (and rejected by another 5 :-P) Not much to say, as previously stated.
I’ve been a father for over 2.5 years now, and have learned quite a bit over that relatively short period of time. In the spirit of sharing knowledge, I figured I’d put down a few of the items I’ve learned thus far.
1. I have learned absolutely nothing.
One of the first things you’ll begin to learn as a parent is that every day is different with your kids. Whether it’s a lack of sleep, a tooth coming in, excitement over a coming event (such as Christmas), or just that it’s a Tuesday, a child’s mood seems to swing much further and faster than their mother’s did during the actual pregnancy. This means that whatever tricks you may have learned yesterday before may no longer be applicable today.
2. Sleep is key.
This is true for both parents and children. A kid’s attitude is directly tied to the amount of sleep they have. Although a sleepy kid might mean more cuddles in front of the TV, it also can mean much more whining, more fights about everything, little food eaten, and numerous other unhappy experiences. Sleep for the parents means the difference between having the patience to deal with an unhappy kid and erupting into inexplicable bouts of yelling.
3. You will never sleep again.
One of the most difficult issues created by being a parent is that although sleep is the most important thing you can get, you just won’t get it. Only answer is, when you have the time, take it. If you don’t, you will regret it. Trust me.
4. Parenting is awesome.
No matter what, parenting is quite possibly the coolest thing that will ever happen in your life. Not only is there the constant joy of watching your little one grow up and become your little minion, but there’s also the joys of living vicariously through your child. By that, I don’t mean pushing them into some career they have no interest in. I mean, you may be too old to hang out in bouncy castles, but they aren’t. Dressing up like a superhero outside of Halloween is always cool for a toddler. They can live the life you wish you were still living. Make use of that.
I’m sure my children would say the same things about me as I say about them in item 1. Some days I’m perfectly patient, able to sit with them and work them through whatever issues they have, teach them new tricks, and basically be an awesome dad. Other days, I explode. Those days aren’t good for anyone. Remind yourself often, as I have to, that you’re going to do a helluva lot better if you just take a break for a couple seconds and come back to the issue a tad less rage-full. It makes the difference between tears (yours and theirs) and giggly tickle-fights.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of knowledge I’ve gained, but it does serve as a bit of site filler for these days I have nothing exciting to talk about as a writer. And, to be honest, every kid is different. My two children are, by all means, very similar kids. I see them getting interested in many of the same activities. Yet, the way I have to interact with them is very very different. Parenting itself is a learning experience. So, be ready to learn.