I remember being a new mom - all doe eyed and in love with my absolutely perfect little one. Seeing bigger kids and thinking how my kid will never do that. My house will never look like that. I was so adorable. In memory of that innocent woman who had no real idea what she was in for, a few bits of advice on things not to sweat over that I would have given her - that she wouldn't have believed or taken - back then.
1. The lovely crayon box. You will get a million crayons. Your child will write too hard and break some. She or he will step on others. The box will be torn in a power struggle during a play date. Just get a bucket or a bag now and dump the crayons all in there and never think of them again unless they need replenishing.
2. Tantrums. Your kids will have them. For a while, it's one of the only ways they know to express their frustrations. It will incite yours. Remain calm through it; this, too, shall pass. I have a clear memory of myself locked in my bedroom and reading a magazine when The Nugget was age 2 while she raged outside of my door because it was the only way to get a little separation from her. I got to come out some time before she turned 3.
3. Having an uninterrupted conversation. It will almost certainly never happen again. The children, of course, will constantly interrupt. The part you don't know is that you will now frequently interrupt your own conversations because you have to blurt things out while you think of AND remember them. Lack of sleep, nagging children and frequent distractions will leave your conversation skills a husk of its former self.
4. Nose picking. It's going to happen. And, no, not just by your husband. Your child will pick her or his nose. If you are lucky, you won't see it. She or he will likely, at some point, try and taste it. If you are really lucky, you won't see that part. If you are really, really lucky, none of this will happen in an embarrassing public place. Never stop reminding them how disgusting this is, but just know that it's going to happen.
5. Beautiful doll hair. You will buy lovely, new shiny dolls and not a day later they will lie naked with their hair in a snarling nest of terror above their heads. You may be tempted to try and comb it out (I've seen great recipes on Pinterest for doll hair detangler); don't bother. It is absolutely not worth the effort. It will be a rat's nest in another day no matter how you try.
6. Sidewalk chalk. I don't know what's going on with that stuff (at least the cheaper versions), but it will never, ever fit back into the container it came in. Never. Again, get some bigger container and dump it in there.
7. Uninterrupted sleep. You think you know this, but the truth is, it really never stops. At first, you obviously know that a helpless infant cannot cope on its own and you feed it and change it and rock it. After they sleep through that first night, you CANNOT BELIEVE how good a full night's sleep feels. I remember saying to The Mister, "Is this how I always used to feel? This is amazing!" What you don't yet realize is that your sleep will now be interrupted for life. When they are little, bad dreams, coughs and colds, missing you. When they are older, your bad dreams, your coughs and colds, missing them.
8. Feeling like the grown up. As far as I can tell, it's never really going to happen. At least, not in the sudden, sweeping way I dreamed of when I was younger. Oh, sure, practice makes perfect. You've dealt with a fever of 105.4 in the middle of the night and have now mastered that bad boy. But every new situation will leave you feeling a bit out of place, like you can't believe somebody is looking to you to solve whatever their issue is. You will want, at some point, to look at your children and say, "You realize that I have no idea what I am doing and am just making this up as I go along, right?"
9. Lists that go all the way to 10. Because your concentration will, well, something.