While parenting is not considered an official Olympic sport yet, don’t you think it could be? It is a rigorous physical endeavor requiring stamina and quick reflexes. And we’ve basically been in training since the day our children were born. True, there’s not much fanfare, and no torch, but at least we don’t have travel far for these Games. If you have a kid, I bet you’re qualified to medal in pretty much all of the following events:
Living Room Long Jump: You accidentally left a glass of red wine on the coffee table. The child is toddling straight toward it. In order to save what little dignity your carpet still has, you get a running start then leap.
Four-yard Dash: While unpacking the trunk at the pool, the ice cream truck has the nerve to roll up. Of course, your child takes off in that direction, straight through the parking lot. The starting gun just went off, and you sprint, despite those flimsy flip-flops.
Tub Diving: Amid the mountain of bubbles, and all the other theoretically fun bath toys floating in the tub, the distraught child cannot find the one toy he really wants. It’s quite possible that it’s anywhere else in the house: the playroom, or underneath the couch, but you roll up your sleeves and dive into those murky suds anyway.
Car Seat Wrestling: Your opponent is compact yet fierce. Every muscle in his body is fighting as you try to buckle him into the car. In order to get out to that doctor’s appointment on time, you have to use some force to pin him into the seat. Don’t pay attention to the poor sportsmanship of your competitor, as crying is a common aspect of this sport. (Hopefully only one of you, the smaller of the competitors, is wearing a striped singlet.)
Long Distance Weightlifting: You got to the parade late and your child can’t see anything but the back of other people’s legs. You’re going have to hold him up far longer intended, and far beyond your own physical comfort. While athletes in the traditional Summer Olympics only have to hold that barbell up for a few seconds, you are going to be in this competition for hours, or maybe it will just seem that long.
Food Fencing: Instead of a sword, you have a spoon, and instead of a mesh mask, your opponent has a bib with monkeys on it. In order to win this duel, you need to get just two bites of pureed spinach into the target…your child’s tiny mouth.
Verbal Volleyball: Your child is serving up some compelling arguments why the number 34 is actually a 13. Though its ridiculous and you are exhausted, you know you have to rally. You gather all your words and all your strength then -pow!- spike some logic over the crib rail.
Daily Triathalon: For this three-part, never-ending race, you: 1) Hop in the shower at as fast as humanly possible, rinse, and hop back out before your tiny humans get into too much trouble, 2) Run frantically out the door with your hair still wet to get to school or camp on time, and 3) You roll the cart through the supermarket and expertly maneuver yourself through that peloton clogging up the produce section.
Obviously, congratulations are in order, as is a trip to Disney (but without your kids.) By the way, caffeine doping in the form of extra large iced coffees and double lattes has not only been sanctioned for all of the above events, but is highly recommended.
Freelance writer and author Jocelyn Jane Cox reports on the Great State of Parenthood with advice you never knew you needed and the chuckles you know you really need every other week in the Chronicles of Parenting. Her 2012 humor book on life in the New York suburbs, The Homeowner’s Guide to Greatness: How to handle natural disasters, design dilemmas and various infestations, is available on Amazon.com. Follow her on Twitter at @JocelynJaneCox.