Alright, folks, it's time to get real and by real I mean say all the things that parents are REALLY grateful for and not just say I love my family, my kids and my cat. I wrote a little thank you on my surrogate blog a few weeks ago, but since posting that I have thought of a few more things that deserve some thanks. Here goes.
1. I'm thankful for microwave ovens. Yes, I know that there is more and more research about how heating plastic in the microwave causes all sorts of health problems. And yes, changing the light bulb in the microwave is more complex than Sandra Bullock getting home in Gravity. But let's face it, when you have two screaming kids there is nothing better than nuking some mac-n-cheese in a ceramic bowl in two minutes. Lord knows how our parents endured our screams waiting for the water to boil, cooking the pasta, melting the cheese, etc. The microwave also makes pretty good cookies and cakes in a mug for Daddy on those days when his stress level is high from hearing screams.
2. I'm thankful for Costco. Kids need so much stuff. If you can't find it at Costco, you probably don't need it. We get cheap diapers, organic milk, year-round blueberries, toys, clothes and more from there. Sometimes, for those extra long days of parenthood, we also buy some booze for Daddy!
3. I'm thankful for TiVo and Netflix. I know the Powers That Be in the pediatric community say no TV until at least two years old. I did really, really, really well with that for a long time. At about 18 months or so I came to the conclusion that out of the 50 or so hours I spend with the boys awake each week it really is OK to turn on Barney for 20 minutes once a week. The guilt that I am rotting their minds and causing ADHD lessens after 5 minutes when, for the first time in hours, I finally get to sit and zone out for a couple minutes.
4. I'm thankful for Facebook. It's true, Facebook steals our pictures, hoards our personal information and watches us like we're contestants on Big Brother but it also gives me a pseudo-connection to the outside world when I'm stuck at home listening to The Bear Went Over The Mountain on replay for 7 hours straight. (Seriously...that's not made up. I actually heard that song for 7 hours one day.) Friends on Facebook give me great advice on car seat safety, recommendations on booster seats, where to bring my old baby clothes for tax deductions and, most importantly, links to really important articles like 31 Things No One Tells You About Becoming A Parent.
5. I'm thankful for Skype and Facetime. Even though reheating dinner in the microwave only takes a couple minutes, it's still great to have Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle M., or Aunt A. show up on video to distract the kids for a few minutes and stop pulling down my pants as I try to put food into (non-cancer causing) microwave safe dishes. More importantly, it's pretty cool that the boys know their family by face and not just a voice. The extended family can be a part of Aaron and Jeff's lives in a much stronger way. Everyone can see Jeff sneeze all over my hand or watch Aaron put puzzle pieces into the VCR. In some ways watching the boys through video is better than in real life: there is no way to smell when a diaper needs changing.