You know you need some more grown-up time when you wake up in the middle of the night and your mind drifts to Clifford the Big Red Dog. Why is he so big? Why is he so red? How do that girl’s parents afford to feed him so much dog food? And somehow they were just okay with moving to a totally different house in order to accommodate Clifford’s size?
And how do my child possesses the ability to sleep at the most inconvenient times? He will never take a nap during a normal time but then he’ll randomly fall asleep five minutes before we need to leave the house.
Here are some of the other pressing questions that take up space in our parental brains:
1. How does play-dough get absolutely everywhere? For example, how does it get into the car? The cat’s dish? Up on the walls? I didn’t even know my kid could reach up that high.
2. How does my toddler know about the rare occasions when I’ve actually taken the time to wash the windows? It never fails; as soon as they are clean, he goes around systematically touching them with extra greasy hands and pressing his dirty face against each and every one. This is why cleaning never happens in this house. It’s totally pointless.
3. What are those shapes supposed to represent in macaroni and cheese? I believe the box when it says the shapes are all supposed to be farm themed, but come on, is that really supposed to be a cow? It looks more like the cow got hit by the tractor.
4. How is that in this huge house, my child is always underfoot or that we always get crowded into the same damn corner? Isn’t there somewhere else to dump out all the Lincoln logs besides right next to the stove? Maybe he’s just trying to give me a workout by having me dance around a million tiny obstacles while I cook dinner.
5. Were the main adult characters on Sesame Street forced to sign lifetime contracts? I mean, the show has been on for forty-five years. Some of the original child actors are probably grandparents by now and yet there they are, the same adults, still rhyming words and getting excited about the number of the day.
And this is the question I know everyone has been wondering all these years: are Maria and Louis married in real life? And if so, what is the key to their healthy communication and marital bliss?
6. How does every play date seem to produce the exact same amount of mess and destruction? It doesn’t matter if there are two kids or ten, they trash everything. I keep trying to convince my parent-friends that we need to start drinking during play dates but so far no one has taken me up on the offer. I think we’re really missing an opportunity to invent so many great grown-up games. For example, every time a kid says, “Mine! Mine! Mine!” the grown-ups have to take a drink. After a while, the mess and constant bickering wouldn’t even matter.
7. How does one child sleep through a crying baby when I can hear the slightest whimper coming from several closed doors through the deepest sleep? I’m not complaining, but I am hoping for a scientific explanation for this phenomenon.
8. How does a baby/small child manage to take up so much of the bed? My son has about one fifth the body mass of an adult but he somehow takes up more than half of our king-sized bed. Even when he’s laying perpendicular or completely spread eagle, this shouldn’t quite work this way. Yet on the rare occasions that the boy sleeps elsewhere, it’s like there’s a glorious ocean of space between my husband and myself.
9. Why has my son, who has been potty-trained for over a year suddenly decided to pee in his pants every time I ask him to use the bathroom? Did someone tell him this is a fun new game? Is this the beginning of the dreaded three-nager stage? Lately, whenever I say, “Wolfy, time to use the potty.” He casually answers, “Oh, I just peed in my pants.” Trust me, it’s awesome.
What strange, silly mysteries are keeping you awake at night?