We are not like you.
We want to be like you, but we are not.
We used to be like you - really! I promise! - but ever since that adorable little tot came into our lives, we realized: we have changed.
It's not you, it's us.
Please lower your expectations of us. For the next several years, we will be chronically late. Despite the fact that we used to be the "ten-minutes-early" crowd, now we have to tackle a 30-pound moving object, adhere shoes to its feet, and pack a bag the size of a small suitcase - just to go the grocery store. Errands that take you 15 minutes take us 45. We aren't moving slow intentionally, but going anywhere with a child under the age of 4 is akin to herding cats. It takes extreme patience, cajoling, and the occasional shot of whiskey (for us, not the kid). For parents with more than one child? Use this equation:
errand time = [( X number of children) x 45 minutes) + # of errands to run]
*If you are potty-training, factor in an additional 20 minutes for each child.
One day, our brains will come back to us, but for the time being, we're content to operate with 80% capacity. We can not give you our full attention span; even when our small child is not present, we're only paying attention to what you are saying about 90% of the time (because we are thinking about what our child is doing right now). Add the kid to the situation and our attention drops to about 40%. Factor food into the equation (whether the child is eating or we are hungry) and you're only working with about 25% of our total attention. Sorry. We'll catch up again in a few years.
You need to understand, we engage in strange activities all day long. We don't talk like regular people, we don't act like regular people. Just today, I allowed my child to bury me in couch pillows, because it meant I got to lay on the floor with my eyes closed for a full 20 minutes. And I'm not going to lie - it's been the best part of my day so far. We regularly brush someone's teeth against their will. We are adept at cutting grapes, diapering moving objects, and finding wayward stuffed animals. If you asked us to discuss politics, current affairs, or pop culture we can't. But we can recite the theme songs of at least four popular children's programs by memory. ("They're two, they're four, they're six, they're eight. Shunting trucks and hauling freight...")
Did I mention we are terrible drivers? We have learned how to drive (poorly, admittedly) with only one hand on the wheel, allowing the other hand/arm to be groping around in the backseat in search of whatever the tot has dropped: animal, truck, sippy cup, goldfish cracker. And when we're not driving with the child, there's a good chance we've turned off the Music Together CD and are blaring heavy metal and/or rap music with explicit lyrics at top volume, just to prove to ourselves that we are still real people.
We travel like sherpas. We rise before the sun. We hoard 20% off coupons to Babies-R-Us. We are multi-taskers with very little patience, not enough sleep, and a house full of plastic molded crap.
We want to be like you. We will be like you. One day.
We'll let you know when we get there.
Parents of Small Children everywhere.