July 27, 2011 § 1 Comment

There are some things that I never really thought about before having kids, and now am utterly thankful for them. Without further ado, I give you the top six things that never fully appreciated before having kids.

1. Take-out
I was never a big take-out person pre-Lena. Sure, I did the requisite college late night pizza thing, (Pokey stix…) but I’ve always enjoyed cooking and going out to eat with friends. Now, take out is like, the most awesome special treat that I can have during the week. A meal in the comfort of my own home that I don’t have to cook? No dishes to clean afterwards? After a long/stressful day of work, this is my idea of heaven. I had that first glorious taste of it a few weeks after Lena was born. There was a knock on the door and then there was a guy holding a lasagna. For me. This was the most amazing experience of my life. (Also, a huge thanks to Bob and Jenny–who ordered me a lasagna from all the way in England that would arrive at my door.) Hold on, I’m getting tears in my eyes. And, uhh…I’m not really this lame all the time. We don’t do take-out that much, my mom and I still cook a lot and enjoy every minute of it, but sometimes it’s nice to just say, hey, I’m going to pick up chicken and macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes and green beans from Boston Market on the way home. See you there.

2. Kid-friendly restaurants with good beer selections
I swear this is how I get friends to come out to dinner with me. I’m lookin’ at you Aspen “Can we go somewhere with a good beer selection?” Price. This could also be categorized as restaurants as simply, good local restaurants that are kid-friendly. I have a co-worker that likes to talk about the only restaurant she can take her son to is Red Robin because he watches tv the whole time. Thank god for awesome chapel hill-carrboro-durham restaurants that are great with kids. (Here’s to you, Southern Rail, Tyler’s, Brixx.)

3. People that are naturally good with kids
Some people are naturally really good around kids. I previously was not one of these. I mean, maybe, and I’m still a little worried that I won’t know how to act around Lena when she’s 5 (what if she notices how awkward I am??), but there are just some people that are so undeniably good with my child that I really have to keep myself from just falling to the floor crying when they offer to get my kid a glass of water and she takes it from them. Okay, it helps that a lot of my friends work with kids and have a ton of experience with kids, but seriously, these people go above and beyond anything I could expect when dealing with my child. Here’s to you. You surpassed my wildest imagination.

4. Pixar
I’ve been hard on Pixar before. They tend to err on the side of more strong male characters and less strong female characters, but that is a whole other societal issue that I’m not going to fault them for at the moment. Because, there is no denying this, every movie they make is pure gold. These guys (In the gender neutral term but they’re mostly guys) know kids. And they know adults. And Pixar movies are the only movies I can reliably watch Lena and be completely satisfied with every image she is seeing, every piece of dialogue that she hears. Dreamworks, on the other hand. You are responsible for when Lena sometimes says, “We’re all going to die!!!” Pixar though, Pixar has put names and images to a wide variety of feelings–jealousy, abandonment–and shown her invaluable lessons–friendship, responsibility. I know partly it’s L growing up, and it’s not like she really learned all this just from Toy Story, but Lena is really beginning to play with her toys, giving them voices and names and actions, and it’s just so clear that the folks at Pixar just know kids. And the daycare scenes in Toy Story 3, priceless.

5. Daycare professionals
To the people that spend eight hours a day with my child, I cannot ever give enough thanks. Lena’s at a great daycare, where they have an amazing curriculum, and all the teachers are experienced and ready and willing to help me and Lena with whatever we need. I’ve learned so much but interacting with these wonderful women (they are all women.) I’ve learned a lot about being a parent–what it means to be an advocate for your kid–something that did not come naturally to me, but now I’ve found my parental voice, and I’m in the process of understanding that that means and learning how to use it. And to the people that not only keep my kid safe and happy for most of the day, while also helping me be a better parent, thank you.

6. Family
I really just need to get this tatooed on my forehead, for the amount that I say it to everyone that I meet that thinks I’m doing a great job, or asks how I do it, or compliments me on Lena’s behavior–I could not do this without my family. I have the greatest parents in the world, and not to say that I didn’t know that before I had Lena, but they have risen above and beyond in raising Lena. And me, for that matter. I only really hope I can repay them some day. And since I have kind of a shoddy work ethic and don’t want to exert too much effort into anything at all, I can only hope that I win the lottery some time soon in order to buy them a house in Cape Cod. (Look ma! I’m learning!)

This is an every evolving list, as day to day I discover more and more hidden things in the world that just make me think that, yes, someone is rooting for me. Because parenting is hard. And it’s isolating. But we can’t let ourselves get stuck in that mindset. Because there are some great things about being a parent. (Some?? Rachael, really? Just some???) And I appreciate everyone around me that helps open my eyes to that.


§ One Response to Appreciation

  • Elaine says:

    You can’t believe how many times we think that L’s behavior and natural personality are a perfect reflection of the great family she is surrounded by. It’s the combination of freedom you allow her without being overbearing and too protective, yet loving and nurturing at the same time. Lots of parents could learn from you!

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