By DARREN HANDSCHUH
There are many things about raising children no one tells you before you have kids.
You hear about how cute they are and the funny little things they say and do, but parents rarely tell non-parents about the train wreck raising children can be.
Yes they are cute. Yes they say and do funny little things and I wouldn’t trade being a father for the world, but there are certain aspects of parenting I could do without.
It seems little kids are always emitting some form of liquid, especially when they have a cold.
I first noticed it with my oldest son when he was a baby, and the bigger he got, the more goo he produced.
When he had a cold and crawled across the room, it looked like a giant snail had slinked through my house.
The upside was he was easy to find, just follow the trail of mucus.
The dogs enjoyed it too. There was always something to sniff, lick or roll in.
Junior would come crawling over put his arms in the air and say, “Up daddy, up.”
“No, slimy little dude, no.”
But of course I would pick him up and we would wrestle around for a little while. I would then have to burn the clothes I was wearing because they had been encased with so much kid goo they had become their own life form.
Because this was our first child, I was mildly horrified at the excretions coming out of such a cute little person.
OK, perhaps mildly is too gentle a word.
There were some diapers I had to beat with a stick to get into the trash can. The government was investigating my garbage bags for bio-chemical warfare agents.
Good thing George Dubya wasn’t around at the time, or marines would have landed in my driveway looking for WMDs, which in this case was Wicked Messy Diapers.
It was a good day when it came time for potty training.
Dr. James Dobson says it is important to make a big deal out of it when Junior goes on the potty.
So my wife and I would whoop and holler and dance around like drunken lunatics whenever Junior “made a stinky on the potty.”
He would laugh and feel quite proud of himself.
He was also encouraging to others. Like the time at a restaurant when he accompanied me to the washroom and let out a victory cry of, “Yay, daddy went pee in the potty.”
It is amazing how far a little kid’s voice can carry.
Just as Junior was starting to figure out the whole potty thing, we had another son and it was back to diapers, bio-chemical agents and other nasty stuff you usually see only in horror movies like The Blob.
But he too mastered the art of using the lavatory and there was much rejoicing in the House of Handschuh.
But we were not done yet. We had one more bundle of joy to get through the diaper stage. Fortunately the third and final installment of our clan learned quickly and we were once again free of diaper changes.
But we were not free of cleaning up, not by a long shot.
One of the happiest days of my life was when the last of my children learned how to barf in a bucket.
One thing I have learned as a parent is how not to be grossed out (to a degree anyway.) It is still disgusting, but you build up a sort of immunity to it. The mind is an amazing thing that has the ability to block stuff out, which is a very good thing.
Many was the night when a kid would blow chunks in bed, on the stairs, in the hallway on route to the bathroom and once even on the dog.
The hound didn’t seem to mind or need any help getting cleaned up because by the time I got around to wiping the mutt down, the job had already been taken care of.
Dogs seemed to have mastered not getting grossed out. In fact, when it comes to the family hound the rule of thumb seems to be the grosser the better.
Man’s best friend is truly a disgusting creature.
But being grossed out is only a minor burden to bear for the rewards of being a dad.
And for all you non-parents out there, I would just like to say having kids is a wonderful experience. It truly is.
So go ahead and have children, lots and lots of them. They say and do the cutest things.