Becoming a parent for the first time is one of the most delightful human experiences. The love, pride, excitement, and even dread that you feel when you hold your child for the first time is overwhelming. You think to yourself, I made this? Really? Wow! This is mine? Great! Now I’ll have to take care of it for the rest of my life? Uh oh.
If at all there is a 360-degree human experience, it has to be becoming a parent. It brings out the best and the worst in people and lets them experience a whole gamut of emotions—from love to anger, pride to disgust, excitement to fatigue. But one thing’s certain—you will learn to have a hearty laugh while you also learn to become a parent.
The moment your child is born, you realise that your usual adult self won’t succeed in connecting with her. So, you begin your re-education by making funny faces and sounds to attract the attention of your newborn, to make her smile or laugh. Giggling, blabbering, snorting, gurgling, trilling, whistling, pulling your face in all directions in all kinds of way, you learn to become a baby with your infant.
By the time you realise that changing diapers is a never-ending task, it’s too late! But what’s funny is giving your baby’s tiny diapered tushy a sniff to check if she has pooped. Have you noticed how smug you feel when your sniff reveals poop activity? As if you’ve won a gold medal in poop check! And god forbid if she swallowed a coin—you will be sifting through a poop-filled diapers for days!
Let’s admit it—parenting is a lot of work. You’re constantly exhausted! So much so that sometimes when your baby wails at 2 a.m., you will deviously pretend to be asleep so that your partner is forced to go. And then you bury your head into the soft pillow with the biggest smile of satisfaction ever!
It’s annoying when your boss sends you the ‘There’s no I in TEAM’ meme. But you rarely realise when your “I” changes to “Dada” or “Mama” when you speak to your child. And we say that with the funniest intonation possible. You will know that you need a break when you start referring to yourself as “Dada” or “Mama” in official meetings!
The comicality doesn’t end there! Some couples spend their entire lives calling each other “Papa” or “Mummy”. Why? Because that’s how they referred to each other when speaking with their children! “Rishu, Papa will be sad if you don’t eat your food” or “Mummy, I can’t make Sumi wear the frock!”
Some things feel disgusting in the beginning, but in the course of parenting, they become so commonplace that you don’t even notice it anymore. Who hasn’t had a puking child? In fact, you feel a sense of dread at the prospect of your child puking outside the home. But yes, it has happened, and yes, you were not prepared for it, and yes, you let your kid puke in your palms sometimes!
A child is a lesson in patience. You tell her, “Go to the bathroom before we step out. There’s no bathroom where we’re going.” But just 15 minutes away from home and the kid wants to pee. You want to pull your hair out! Oh yes, your patience is tested often and the weirdest manner possible!
And heavens help you if you happen to be the mother of a hyperactive kid (or two). Every day you will find new bruises on your arms and legs that you have no clue how they happened. And then you will quiz your spouse, “Where did I get this?” In response, you will get a blank stare indicating total disinterest.
But some things that kids do are annoying and adorable at the same time. Like when your kid cut up favourite book to make a Mother’s Day card for you. Or when she plucked your biggest rose to gift it to you. Who can be mad at something like that?
And then there are the truly embarrassing moments, like when you had to explain to your kid why Papa was trying to “kill” Mama. Everyone has a story about what lie they told—yoga, exercise, massage, wrestling, something in mommy’s eyes, and so on. Only if you’re lucky will your child not persist with that line of questioning.
Almost every child has the speech filter of Dennis the Menace, which means, none at all! If your child happens to overhear you bad-mouthing someone, there are 99% chances that she will blurt it out in that person’s presence. Every parent has faced such awkward moments, and then scrambled wildly to save the situation, yet secretly pleased that their child has done what you always wanted to do but never dared.
There are so many funny, weird, embarrassing, horrifying, yet joyous, loving, adorable, cute, heart-warming moments that parents go through. You hide the cookie jar from the kids but dip into it secretly. You fib your way through the constant stream of questions. You stretch your imagination to come up with a new story every night. You fill with love when your child does something amazing. And you start to cry when she comes and hugs you when you’re sad.
Parenting is all that and more. It’s a rebirth, an opportunity to become a better person, and to build in your child values for which the future will thank you.