I’m Pretty Much Nailing This Parenting Thing

There was bird poop on my porch steps this morning and I was elated. Because where there is bird poop, there is a bird who is chirping the message that spring, spring, spring is almost here (in weather, I mean, I am aware of how the equinox works).

Therefore, in celebration of the fact that it is spring, complete with showers, and the fact that our staff bathroom had toilet paper in it today (it’s the little things people), I am writing an uplifting piece about the milestones I (and my husband) have reached as a parent in the first seven and a half months of my son’s life.

Let me preface this by saying that I went into this whole parenting thing already sort of an expert. I teach, after all, and therefore know a thing or two about kids. So these milestones go above and beyond those basic achievements.

Now it’s time to report back on how well we have excelled as parents. Here goes:

The Disposable Diaper Achievement:


At one month into parenting, we turned the corner on cloth diapering. Maybe it was the fact that our son’s diapers caused his rear end to be twelve times the side of his head and pushed him into baby clothes six months ahead of his age. Maybe it was too difficult to remember to put out the diapers for pick-up on Saturday mornings. Maybe it was too hard to hand-wash the wool diaper covers. Or maybe it was the fact that our son peed a lot. And insisted on being changed after every urination. Whatever it was, cloth diapers had to go.

While using cloth diapers it was not unusual for me to change my son’s diaper, put him down for a nap, and have to change his diaper again before he had fallen asleep. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I’m not sure if it was me or my husband who got the brilliant idea to switch to disposable diapers at nights so that we could sleep in longer than 15 minute increments, but I think we both knew that once we made that concession, we were well on our way to becoming a cloth-diaper-free house. And so it was that within two months we earned ourselves the Disposable Diaper Achievement.

Responsible Screen Time Award:


We don’t own a TV at our house, a fact that saves a lot of time when Comcast tries to offer us their latest amazing deal. But we do own a computer and a Netflix subscription. Let’s be honest, that’s at least as good as a TV, and makes the opening statement of not owning a TV immediately less impressive.

My husband read a book that told us to limit screen time for children before the age of two. A worthy challenge. For the first few months of our son’s life we were careful to always point all computer or phone screens away from his face. Amateurs.

Anyway, the author of this book has clearly never been stuck in Chicago’s rush hour traffic with a screaming child, having already sung all verses of every song you’ve ever heard, exhausting all possible items of interest pulled from every bag and purse in the car. If the author had been in this situation, they too would have earned the Responsible Screen Time Award, an award that goes out to any parent who, in a moment of panic or fatigue, is able to use technology to soothe or distract their child.

If you need any assistance with earning this award, might I suggest a free download of the app “Magic Fingers”. You’re welcome. (I also endorse youtube videos.)

The Best Intentions Organic Homemade Baby Food Honorable Mention:


At his four month appointment, the pediatrician told us we could start feeding our son rice cereal. My husband and I gave one another knowing glances. It was really a shame to see our pediatrician so behind in the baby food conversation. Doesn’t he know that rice cereal causes diabetes, is probably full of arsenic, and will make our child obese?

When he asked us directly, we smugly answered that we were making our own baby food. What we meant was that we have a food processor and intentions of peeling, pureeing, and storing our own homemade (organic) baby food. We hadn’t actually MADE it. (Our pediatrician gave us a sympathetic smile and said, “God bless you guys. But seriously, Gerber baby food is good, too.”)

Several days after the appointment I happened to be at Babies R Us, and there happened to be a sale on organic baby food. I picked up a box of twelve little jars. After all, we needed more storage containers for our homemade food.

It’s been three months since then and to date we have boiled and mashed one sweet potato. It wasn’t an organic sweet potato because Costco doesn’t carry organic sweet potatoes. Our son didn’t seem to mind. And that is how we managed to put ourselves on the list of parents who have earned The Best Intentions Organic Homemade Baby Food Honorable Mention.


There have been a few other important milestones so far including, but not limited to, “Allowing Your Child to Sleep in His Swing Until the Swing Stops Swinging” Award, and the “Supplement With Formula Because Pumping More Than Once A Day At Work Is A Pain In The You Know What” Award. And let me not forget our newly achieved “Using Food To Stop Your Child From Screaming At Target” Award.

I am sure we have many, many more milestones to hit before we’re done. (Perhaps some will be shared by all the veteran parents in the comments section below.)

As my mother-in-law says, “Parents have to do what works.” (She gave very similar sex advice to us when we got married, but I digress.)

In any case, I’m proud of all we’ve accomplished so far. It makes me pretty excited. Almost (but not quite) as excited as seeing bird poop on my back porch.

10 responses to “I’m Pretty Much Nailing This Parenting Thing

  1. Ha, we mostly cloth diapered, and mostly breast fed, and mostly made our own baby food (organic obviously). It lasted for about 18 months. Boy is now six, does not remember what it was like to have homemade bread every day, and seems to be fine with whatever store bought bread is on sale for the week. I did not think that I would ever allow him to eat McDonald’s, and I would certainly not have a DVD player in my car, and there was a whole list of cartoons he would never see. I was a professional parent prior to actually having a child as well because I was a social worker, so I had it all figured out. Right this second, my son is sitting in front of the tv eating fast food that we purchased while he sat in the back seat watching scooby doo on his ipod. *shrug* Have not been struck by lightening yet.


    • Best. Comment. Ever. Seriously, it is such a relief to know that we’re all sorta struggling through together, doing the best we can, and laughing all the way. 🙂


  2. Oh, how I wish there had been disposable diapers with my oldest two. In reading this post, I know you and your husband are great parents. Your child is blessed.


    • Thank you so much for the encouragement! I know that some of my desires to be the perfect parent come from my mom being such a great example–cloth diapers for all five of her kids! I have to remember that it is okay to do what works. 🙂


  3. Admiring your flexibility and vast wisdom!!!


  4. Yes, oh so true, Rachel, painfully, true and yes, I laughed out in recognition several times. I believe in “intentional parenting” — you go into it with really good intentions and then you do the best you can…and put money aside for the kids’ therapy later in life.


  5. Reblogged this on Teacher. Reader. Mom. and commented:

    I wish you could hear me laughing. You definitely NAILED what it means to be a a post-modern parent. But, truly, It is all about the intentions, I think. And expectations. It is good to have HIGH expectations. But the tricky thing (really, I believe it is a MIRACLE – the kind you put in all caps) is managing a new member of the household who is completely dependent on you while managing yourselves and your jobs without, well, burning the house down – or flooding it – because you forgot you had started to fill the bathtub and the phone rang. You’ve EXCEEDED expectations, in my view. But then, I did flood the house (well, partially) and accidentally set fire to the kitchen (the toaster oven needed to be cleaned out), and reached for disposable diapers after only a week of cloth diapers. The television thing, whoops, I mean screen time thing? Barney, quite frankly, was the best babysitter ever. Organic food was merely a concept although I did have the first edition ever of a baby food processor which I did use albeit for a few days (it only came with a few jars, 3 to be exact, and who tells a baby that well, we ran out of baby food because mama didn’t have the patience or energy to make it EVERY OTHER NIGHT – I bought the as close to organic as we had at the time with the idea of supplementing not with ingenious intentions of reusing the jars – that would definitely have helped me nail the parenting thing). I say just don’t buy him an iPhone or iPad before he turns 2. And you really will have this parenting thing NAILED!


    • I keep thinking that the best way for us to know what to do is to simply try it. Which I suppose can be hard on our firstborn. But honestly, how else will we know? Each child is so unique, each situation special. One size can’t possibly fit all.


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