I recently read a blog post on A Pixel’s Point of View about the lessons he has learned from being a gaming parent. I read each and every one of the lessons and I’d have to say I agree with them all. I thought I’d give the topic a try and share the things I’ve learned in the first year of my daughter‘s life:
- I have been an insomniac since childhood so when parents told me that I would lose sleep when my daughter was born, I thought it would be no big deal because I rarely get a full night’s sleep anyway. I was totally looking at it the wrong way. After a 10-hour work day I come home to the anxious excitement of my daughter. The happiest moment of my life as I get to hold my daughter after a hard day quickly turns to the realization that I am now responsible for entertaining her for at least another 2 hours until she’s tired enough to be put down to bed. By then I’m ready to crash for a week. Lose sleep? Ha, I learned sleep!
- Forget entertainment that doesn’t stick in your brain until you’re ready to kill yourself. I mean, don’t get me wrong. Episode 1 of Blues Clues was actually quite fun to watch. After it was over I thought I was doing okay. Once the second episode began, I realized I had the entire show memorized without even seeing it. I can still repeat the songs word-for-word. Anything with violence, language or other content (aka everything but Disney films) is forbidden for at least 12 hours of the day…and of course that happens to be the 12 hours that my schedule even allows me to watch films at all. I swear if I don’t see a film without a happy ending soon, I’m liable to scratch my eyes out permanently.
- That being said, I am happy to be reminded of just how great Disney movies are. Apparently, I grew out of them in my teenage years and have since grown back into them…kinda strange!
- The value of possessions is irrelevant in the life of a content child…and probably should be in the rest of our lives. After all, my daughter and her two cousins fought over a turkey baster for half an hour while dozens of toys paid for with blood, sweat and tears lie around them.
- Keeping my house clean is now both a necessity and an impossibility, which still really makes no sense to me. If I leave anything out on the table, my daughter is able to assess its value and treat it accordingly. For instance if I put an important document, glass vase, laptop computer or other valuable item within reach, it is destroyed within moments. If I put a plastic toy within reach, it is ignored. Apparently whatever I have is better.
- I can be myself. This is possibly the most important lesson I’ve learned from my daughter. I mean, I have never cared much about what other people think about me but knowing that my daughter loves me no matter what just brings me great pride and satisfaction. She is forgiving of my faults and even laughs at the jokes that my wife has stopped laughing at. She is my biggest fan!
- Buying anything new, besides food, is out of the question. After waiting months for a PlayStation 3 game to be released, my wife will allow me to go to the game store and look at it for five minutes before letting me buy a game that’s been out for years because it’s only $10 instead of $60.
- There is truly no point in me ever checking my bank account or worrying about money. Sometimes my wife will hand me $3 after she’s done paying the bills, buying our food and clothing our daughter. $3 to spend on me is a treat now that I’m a parent.
All of the above lessons were learned after several kicking and screaming tantrums (which I also learned how to perform from my daughter). The number one lesson I’ve learned, though, is that nothing in this world could make me happier than to be a husband and a father.
– Paul Scott