Bathing baby. Infant CPR. Car seat safety. Sure, those are all important things to know when becoming a parent for the first time. But now that I don’t have babies anymore, I’m starting to realize how short-sighted prenatal classes really are in preparing us for the grand scheme of parenting. You know the saying, “no one ever tells you THAT about having kids.” Well, here are my suggestions for a few things those classes should cover for long-term parental success…beyond the baby years…when no one seems to care if you are prepared or not.
1. Clothing Negotiation Skills
Your little one has begun forming opinions, and the first thing she decides to feel passionately about is wearing the exact same Disney-character-of-the-moment pajama shirt with a chocolate milk-stained skirt and a pair of sparkly leggings with a giant hole in the knee everywhere you go. Even to Great Aunt Ginny’s funeral. And when you try to at least swap out the holey sparkly leggings for the non-holey polka dot pair, she has a melt down, saying the polka dots are itchy. Not the leggings. The polka dots themselves. Because that’s what polka dots do. Itch people. And sparkles give relaxing mini leg massages. But the most messed up thing about this whole struggle is that in a few years, she will actually make you wish she did still want to wear the pajama-shirt-stained-skirt-holey-legging ensemble when she decides booty shorts and backless halter tops are appropriate attire for a prepubescent. That’s some pretty sick torture. My recommendation: this will clearly require a CTU-trained negotiator to teach this lesson. I don’t think Jack Bauer is doing much these days. Maybe call him.
2. School Handout Organization
No parent wants to feel the wrath that is unleashed when you pick up your child at school, only to find out it was Pretzel Day. And you never filled out the order form because it is somewhere at the bottom of one of four different piles scattered throughout your house. If your kid doesn’t get a pretzel on Pretzel Day, he may as well just run away and join the circus, because you obviously don’t care about him. In fact, you must actively and intentionally hate him to subject him to watching everyone else in school devour a warm, soft twist of carbohydrates, all because you didn’t detach a little sheet of paper and pop it in an envelope with a dollar by last Thursday. And don’t be fooled…even if it is discovered that said order form never actually made it out of your child’s backpack and into one of your four piles, it is still your fault. Therefore, a subcategory of this lesson would be Strategies for Remembering to Check Your Child’s Backpack Everyday For Important Things Like Pretzel Day Order Forms.
3. A Crash Review In Fractions
…Because those little f%*kers pop out of nowhere sometime around fourth grade. And your kid is going to expect you to help her figure out whether 5/6 or 7/8 is bigger. And if you can’t do it, you’re just going to end up looking like a dumb ass. And if you look like a dumb ass, then she’s going to start the whole “if you don’t know fractions and did okay, why do I have to learn them” thing. And if she thinks she doesn’t need to know fractions, then she’s going to start questioning the whole purpose of elementary school. And if she questions the purpose of elementary school, you’ll try to tell her she has to go so she can get into college one day. And if you tell her she’s going to college one day, she’ll decide she’d rather just work at the mall for the rest of her life so she doesn’t have to learn fractions. And if she works at the mall, she will probably get fired when she won’t know how to ring up a sweater that is on sale for 1/2 off, because, you know, fractions. And if she gets fired from the mall, she’ll probably end up as a jobless teen mom with no education. And if she becomes a teen mom, she won’t get a crash review in fractions in her prenatal class. And when those little f%*kers pop up again when her kid is in fourth grade, she won’t know how to help. And if she doesn’t know how to help, her kid is going to wonder why she needs to know fractions…
See? Learning how to swaddle doesn’t seem so necessary anymore, does it?
*Author’s Note: My husband suggested I end the post with the line, “By the way, 7/8 is bigger.” I asked him if it really was. He said, “I don’t know.”