Make A List, Check It Twice…

23 Jan

They should provide customized checklists when they issue children to parents.  I mean, think about it.  We pop out these babies, and we follow the generalized instructions in baby books, which pretty much say the following:

  • Whenever the baby cries, shove a nipple in its mouth.
  • Rest when the baby rests.
  • Establish a consistent bedtime routine.
  • Don’t let the baby sleep on his tummy.
  • Cover a baby boy’s willy with a washcloth during diaper changes to avoid being peed on.

There is very little consideration given to the fact that:

  • said nipple is attached to a human being who is capable of feeling physical pain from literally being sucked dry, and besides, baby bites on nipples can really hurt, even when no teeth are present;
  • when the baby is resting, Mom actually has time to take a shower or, you know, eat;
  • babies will throw up on parents who try to impose routines that they don’t like;
  • if the baby is very determined to sleep on his tummy, there’s very little you can do about it;
  • baby boy willies can be very wayward and have a mind of their own.  Kind of like grown-up mens’ willies.

And that’s before you even get into the individual differences between regular babies.  I’m sure new parents would appreciate knowing up front that their child will barf all over their nice new couch, that their daughter will like peas until the age of four and then start throwing them at everyone, and that Junior will be sent to the principal’s office on the first day of Kindergarten.  Don’t you think our lives as parents would be much easier if we knew ahead of time what contingency plans should be made?

Things get even more complicated when you add a child with special needs into the mix.  While I would certainly want the ability to eliminate the things that George finds frustrating or distressing, I would not want to change who he is (who would?  The kid is SWEET!). However, it would have been good to know some things about him right from the beginning.  My checklist for George would include the following:

  • He’s going to bang his head when frustrated, so you are going to have little dents all over your drywall.
  • Baby-proofing devices will not even slow him down, so don’t waste the money.
  • By the time he is five, there will be no such thing as a “good place to hide stuff”.
  • He will find out the password to your YouTube account simply by watching you type it in.  Very visually oriented, these autistic kids.
  • He will be freakishly good on the computer, and he will be counting backwards from 100 in increments of 3 by the age of four.
  • You will need several large boxes to store all of the Mr. Potato Head stuff, but you won’t mind because Mr. Potato Head will prove to be a major catalyst for speech.
  • He will use Lego for stimming.  You will have to make sure you have plenty of the long Lego pieces in pink and yellow.  If you don’t have the same number of pink and yellow Legos, there will be meltdowns.
  • He’s going to know how to fix your DVD player!
  • He’s going to rip down your mother-in-law’s wallpaper and write his name in Magic Marker on her couch.

And what about James?  What would his checklist say?  Let’s see…

  • He’s going to be obsessed with cars so you may as well start collecting them now.
  • He’s going to come flying out like a cannonball at birth and he’s going to just keep going.
  • If he’s anywhere near water and you’re within a thirty-foot radius, you will get soaked.
  • He’s going to go to the emergency room five times in his first four years.  He’ll just be that kind of kid.
  • Don’t let him anywhere near the diaper cream.
  • Don’t let him anywhere near the talcum powder.
  • Don’t let him anywhere near the toothpaste.
  • Be prepared for the fact that he will publicly ask his Granny if she has a willy.

The checklist would also say that the boys will fight like cat and dog but they will be the best of friends, that George will make off-the-charts progress after his autism diagnosis, and that parenting would be the best thing to ever happen to me.

I love my boys.  They are a joy and and adventure.

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3 Responses to “Make A List, Check It Twice…”

  1. transplantedx3 January 23, 2011 at 2:28 PM #

    James sounds a lot like Zachary – no talcum powder, no toothpaste, no mayonnaise, chocolate syrup, mustard, ketchup, and did I mention toilet paper, paper towels, and liquid soap? Zachary started with cars, but once he discovered trains, all bets were off! LOL – We used Mr. Potato head for Jonathan’s speech therapy, as well!

    Thanks for the giggles and the reminder of how different kids can be and that’s okay – they are exactly who they should be!!

  2. Kerry January 23, 2011 at 3:22 PM #

    Oh you made me laugh – only because I can relate and it gives me an idea of what to expect going forward.
    We are still in the car obsession phase too, oh our boys would have fun!

  3. Jenny Klass January 24, 2011 at 2:33 AM #

    Lol, memories, i just love this post Jess, you really have said it all, a manual for all children at birth please…

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