Every day I learn something new or at least try to. Sometimes, what I learn is mind blowing, but most often not so much. The important thing is that I try to keep an open mind and take in as much information as I can.
And, I am often quite surprised in what I learn and from whom I learn it.
You know, back when I was in junior high I always hoped to have cute teachers with interesting assets, but that seldom happened. Ok. It never worked out like that at all because it seemed that I always got stuck with the old crones that weren’t interesting in the least.
Yet, despite this, I somehow floated through junior high school, then high school, and I even managed to get an undergraduate degree even when never having that ultra-cute teacher or professor that would be so interesting to listen to.
Anyway, I never took into consideration all of the other teachers I had, like the hot girl in French class that taught me dirty jokes(she happens to be married to me now) or anyone else that wasn’t a “professional” teacher because they couldn’t possibly count…could they?
Surely, the lessons I learned outside of the classroom can’t possibly be as important as the ones I learned within it.
Well, that mindset is wrong because the most valuable lessons I have learned in my 30 years had nothing to do with any kind of “professional” schooling. No, these most important lessons were taught by my peers, perfect strangers, personal experiences, and maybe sometimes even my parents when I chose to listen to them.
Now that I recognize that anyone can teach someone something, I realize that I probably have the best teacher of all sleeping on my couch at the moment. He may be short, he may be foul tempered at times, and sure he is only 18 months old, but don’t let any of this fool you.
The boy knows how to live.
And, I am learning a lot from him.
Here’s what I’ve learned thus far:
Sleep is Precious!
Holy crap is this an under statement for some!
It's not that I don't get a lot of sleep at night because the boy is pretty quiet in comparison to other rugrats, but it took having a child for me to really appreciate the idea of napping.
Like I said, it is not like I don't get enough sleep. I just never appreciated it before the boy came out because before then, sleep was just something that I did because I had to, and napping was a rarity.
Now, sleeping and napping are things that I look forward to. I mean, there is just something profoundly precious about being able to snuggle an ugly little newborn, or toddler in my case now, and go down for a nap. (No, I don't think my kid is ugly...anymore.)
Anyway, napping while snuggling a little one of your very own is a wonderful way to bond, and, truthfully, I also look forward to the boy's daily naps so I can have a few moments to take a crap with out little hands causing a ruckus!
You can't plan for everything.
Within the first few days of becoming a parent, the boy was already busy teaching me that I could no longer make extensive, or any, plans really.
At the risk of sounding trite, I needed to learn to "live in the moment."
Once I became a da it was clear that I could no longer schedule everything because, as you may well know already, kids work on their own schedules and have their own ideas of when things are going to happen.
I learned that the hard way as I was hell bent that I could in fact plan my days with a time schedule.
Stupid stupid stupid stupid me!!!
It didn't matter that I planned on having nap time between 8 and 10. If the boy doesn't want to nap, most likely, he isn't going to fall asleep no matter how hard I try to get him to.
You know, the same thing applies to the stupid growth schedule thing that they give you at your kid's doctor's office.
Do you think it really matters to your kid if the doctor has a chart saying that he/she is supposed to do this or that at this specific age or that one?
No, of course it doesn't!
Sometimes, your kid has to grow and develop at their own pace and there's nothing wrong with that, which is something else I had to learn as I hadn't expected my 8.5 month old to start walking for another 4 months. Now, at 18 months I can barely keep up.
Sometimes getting dirty is worth it.
Who am I kidding?
I already knew this. I just didn't know how much fun getting dirty could really be before the boy showed me.
Sure, the clean up process is often a drag, but the act of getting completely filthy is often worth the trouble of cleaning up later despite what mommy says.
Dirt is an essential part of growing up!
But, remember this. You make the mess. You clean it up.
That means, that I, often being the cause of so much filth, have a lot of explaining to do once the wife comes home and sees the mess I made that isn't cleaned yet.
What can I say, but...
Hey, poop happens!
Yes, this is a lesson I learned prior to becoming a daddy as well, but it seems more appropriate lately.
I can honestly say that the idea of becoming excited over a bodily function happening in the correct place never occurred to me before the boy came around.
Now, I literally give a cheer and do a little dance each and every time a certain little man drops a dookie or a peepee in the potty.
Hey! Don't judge me!
That shit's a huge freakin' deal!
Sure, as a matter of fact, I do have to deal with a lot of misfires, but the excitement of the hits on target make up for the fact that now our couch smells a bit funny, and our carpet is often gooey and sticky.
But, don't sweat the small stuff right?
You've got to take the time to play!
This is perhaps the biggerest and bestest lesson that I have ever learned! And, to think that it took a toddler to teach it to me.
Maybe it is just me, but there is nothing like some good ole' fashioned play time that puts things in perspective. Playing with the boy and my wife, either building sand castles or crashing trains or whatever, really helps me to understand what's important.
That is spending time with the family, learning and laughing together. Playing with the two loves of my life make everything worthwhile, and I never feel more important as I do when I am with them.
Oh...I also like play time because deep down I just need an excuse to play with the boy's super cool toys.
Ps. I would have included how old the little man was in each of the photos, but, to be truthful, I can't remember and can't be bothered to find out either. Sorry. I'm a horrid father I know.