There are many benefits to being a parent, and more specifically, a new parent. The unforgettable first moment of seeing your sweet baby; the first smile; the first word; a belly laugh. All of these are commonly referred to as milestones in a little one’s life. But, I’d be remiss if not to mention the art of playing parenting musical chairs.
You may remember playing a competitive game of musical chairs during your youth, breezing by fold-up chairs in a circle as if running an important race. Once the music stopped, you were left scrambling to find an empty chair to avoid being ejected from the game. The key, of course, was to keep an eye on the empty chair, secretly hovering during each round.
As a new parent, the rules are the same, but the playing field is different. Sometimes the music is soft and easy going. At other times, it can be fast and unforgiving. In both situations, it’s important to react. I recently encountered one of the challenging rounds while searching for an empty chair – literally.
Before heading to my daughter’s swim class, we planned to meet with friends of ours for a cup of coffee. I thought I would out-smart the logistics of preparing a baby for swim class by putting on her swimsuit and pool outfit before grabbing coffee. I was sure this would eliminate a few steps and make our morning less stressful. I was wrong.
While I am known for my tardiness, this time we arrived before our friends (they went to the wrong place first, but that’s beside the point). After ordering coffee, I waited at the counter only to look down and see my daughter had spilled her cup of water all over the floor of the busy entry way. I smiled at the customers, used a few napkins to soak water in an effort to make the mess look minor, grabbed my coffee and headed out the door.
We found a seat outside by ourselves. After situating my daughter, laying out her apples and new cup of water, I sat back and took my first relaxing sip of caffeine. It was then I noticed my daughters chair was leaking. I quickly made the connection to identify what was dripping onto the ground. Thanks to what I thought was being overly prepared, she had a swim diaper on, not a regular diaper. For those of you who are parents know there is a significant difference between the two in the way they absorb. My daughter was peeing her pants and there was a small puddle under her chair.
After rushing back inside, I learned there was no changing table in the bathroom. My daughter and I returned to the car for a quick diaper and clothing change. I wiped down the chair and exchanged it with a dry chair from a nearby table just before our friends joined us for coffee.
Parenting moments like this one have taught me an important lesson. Life is not about choosing the music we listen to; it’s about learning a new dance to the same tune.
It’s important to continue the race, just make sure you find a clean empty chair when the music stops.