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The true Olympians

August 8, 2012


May 2007, a 2 year old and a newborn, some of the most parenting-intensive days of my life (so far).

I appreciate those ripped, highly-trained athletes, I mean, if I actually had a TV and time to watch the Olympics, I might. But I can’t help thinking that the true Olympians are us parents. For this and more:

1) Wringing 3 meals/day (plus snacks) out of an empty pantry after day #4 of needing desperately to go food shopping.

2) Changing a toddler’s shitstorm of a diaper while pregnant (gag) in 1st trimester.

3) Playing game VIIXXV of Candyland with a smile while your brain is oozing out of your ears and puddling onto the floor.

4) Keeping track of everyone’s nighttime lovies with the fervor of secret service.

5) Explaining sex, death, menstruation in terms a child can understand.

6) Being the receptacle for your child’s blood, barf, snot and poop.

7) Serving vegetables—new vegetables, preciously cut vegetables, your own garden vegetables—every night, despite knowing your kids just want to stuff their face with white carbohydrates.

8) Scraping your body off the floor when you’re depressed, blue, grieving, miscarrying, under phenomenal stress, tired as the walking dead, to care for your children.

9) Seeing your impetuous 2-year old, limit pushing-4 year old, defiant 7-year old, sassy 12-year old and law breaking 17-year old as the same precious, innocent newborn you once gazed at, besotted out of your sleep-deprived head, needing as much unconditional love from you now as in those beginning days.

10) Becoming the ultimate shapeshifter to continually meet the evolving needs of your children.

What would you add to this list, Olympian parents?

27 Comments leave one →
  1. Bethany W permalink
    August 8, 2012 10:35 am

    Yes, here’s to the TRUE atheletes! Parents!!

    My latest adventure was nursing a 9 month old, pregnant, and working 50 hrs per week. Now we’re “just” working 50 hrs a week, chasing a 1 yr old, and 6 months pregnant. How in the world can a child that small learn to climb the crib/refridgerator/dog/couch/daddy before they can walk the 10 feet across the living room floor?

    Now my mother was truely a super-hero — home schooled 4 kids through highschool.

  2. Ike permalink
    August 8, 2012 10:51 am

    Great post and so true. I would add only that the concern for your children’s happiness has no endpoint

  3. Melissa permalink
    August 8, 2012 10:56 am

    oh, i love this list. and also the photo of you circa 2007 (i was newly pregs w Avi then)!

    unrelated–we had a blast at patrick’s point! and i’d already forgotten which day it was (sunday) when we tried to find the arcata farmer’s market and then the folks at the grocery store were so dang *nice* and even apologetic that there was no farmer’s market that day, “come back tuesday!” they urged sunnily.

  4. August 8, 2012 11:23 am

    I completely agree. I respect and am in awe of ‘Olympians’. The years and months of dedication; the blood, sweat and tears… But that’s the life of a parent too, is it not?!! And most of us dont get a chiseled body out of the effort! We get bags under our eyes, pancake butt, grey hairs and droopy boobs! But I wouldn’t trade my life of dirty feet, scattered toys and hand smeared walls for the ability to run 400 meters faster than anyone in the world. Because the victory of a gold medal is nothing compared to hearing your child say, ‘I think you’re the bestest mom ever.’

  5. August 8, 2012 11:34 am

    excellent and i love the list, every little bit but especially #10 which pretty much says it all.

  6. coleen permalink
    August 8, 2012 11:36 am

    So true! But we would do it all again and again. Gold medals all around!

  7. Kathy permalink
    August 8, 2012 12:08 pm

    And no matter their age, there still is opportunity to rejoice with them and cry for them… mine are 32 and 27.

  8. August 8, 2012 12:10 pm

    To watch everything we say or do…to be the model so they can do as we do and not just as we say. Sometimes, it can be an impossible task, especially when they’re pushing us to be more than we ever thought we could possibly be. And yet we want to come through for them. And when we do…sweetness!

    Love your list!

  9. Kana Tyler permalink
    August 8, 2012 1:07 pm

    Amen, Sister!! :)

  10. August 8, 2012 1:16 pm

    yes, yes, YES!
    oh how I loved this :)

  11. Michele permalink
    August 8, 2012 1:31 pm

    I knew the second I saw the title of this post you were talking about parenting! I agree with every point. My only addition would be to add any pet that is in the home and guiding the children’s relationship and care for the pet while also managing the pet and IT’s bodily functions/needs to the already worn out parent. Can you tell we have a new to us puppy? ;)

  12. Mark permalink
    August 8, 2012 3:30 pm

    I’ll enthusiastically add the following: forfeiting that romantic encounter to put someone BACK to bed, eating unrecognizable left overs, preventing the fight, stopping the fight, debriefing the fight, muscling through that last 100 mile stretch of the road trip during the late evening snow storm during multiple child melt downs, clean up, clean up, clean up, coping with the inevitable interruption of that precious thought process you were enjoying (and deserving)- and most parents do it all without the luxury of a personal trainer, free living accommodations and of course, doping… unless coffee & beer is considered doping. Excellent post!

  13. Kristen permalink
    August 8, 2012 3:31 pm

    I think this might be one of my favorite posts to date. Bravo!

  14. August 8, 2012 3:49 pm

    Carrying children too sleepy to walk, but not too sleepy to scream bloody murder when you try to stuff them into a wheelchair together, in desperation, at 3 am through the airport after 7 hours of lightning-related delays.
    Navigating steep stairs/climbs/mountains with toddlers who swat away the helpful/potentially lifesaving/infuriating hands of parents, with a shrill ” I can do it mySELF!”.
    Calmly shepherding crazy, psychotic, potentially violent people to the couch to read something about whales, when you really just want to lock yourself in the bathroom and eat ice cream, and potentially take up chain-smoking and macrame while you’re in there. Anything so you don’t have to come out. Ever.
    I could go on. I have been calling it the parenting obstacle course lately. Also, our medals should be made of chocolate. And coffee. And gin.

  15. August 8, 2012 4:39 pm

    Yes! I’d add: refereeing fights in the backseat of the car while driving 45 mph on winding country roads; maintaining a clear track through the middle of the house for people to walk on without tripping on a stuffed animal, slipping on a book or stepping on a Lego, without the aid of a Zamboni; racing the 13.5 miles home from work with only 13.5 minutes before daycare closes (on 45 mph winding country roads, behind 35 mph lost tourists); coaxing, cajoling, begging, pleading and shouting three kids into bed sometime during the hour that begins with eight; turning off your high-strung inner self so your kids can climb trees, swim across lakes, bike on winding country roads without you helicoptering over them.

    Oh, and I’m so glad I’m not the only one too busy and tired to not watch the Olympics (I do have the TV–though not always the reception). I would have liked to have watched the swimming and diving.

  16. Katie Burford permalink
    August 8, 2012 4:53 pm

    To me, the hardest part of parenting is how unlike any sport it is. No amount of training, preperation or discipline will ensured your baby sleeps through the night or preschooler never melts down in public. That it is all so beyond our control is what makes it thrilling, humbling and truely heroic. Go team parent!

  17. August 8, 2012 6:51 pm

    Gold medals to all parents — present and past. It is so overwhelming to think that our parents did all this, as did their parents, and their parents and so on. Wonderful thoughtful post as always!!!

  18. August 8, 2012 6:54 pm

    Refereeing when sibling fisticuffs begin.

  19. Nancy permalink
    August 8, 2012 7:04 pm

    11) Doing all of the above 10 things, day in and day out, with almost no applause, never mind a medal. [But this post — it’s kind of like a cheering crowd. Thank you so much for that.]

  20. August 8, 2012 8:07 pm

    Great post! i got goosebumps reading it. :)

  21. August 8, 2012 10:46 pm

    I would add that you’re amazing. And again, nice robe! Where on earth did you score that? ;)

  22. Christy permalink
    August 8, 2012 11:37 pm

    Oh number 4 cracked me up!
    I think also when they are older and about to take a path that will only cause them heartache and difficulty (and you are pretty certain because you stumbled along that path once), letting them. (Maybe only after offering an opinion once when asked. Which of course was ignored. You ignored those same irritating ones once too.) Letting them make their own mistakes is so very hard sometimes. Mainly because your whole being is screaming, “stop them! Save them! They are just a baby!” (Even if they are 20.) But those pesky grown kids just don’t always listen. Nor should they. I certainly learned and grew from my more difficult choices.
    Also, Marlene’s post rocks. Please sign me up for a coffee, chocolate, and gin medal please.

  23. August 8, 2012 11:50 pm

    Oh, if I wasn’t so tired from dealing with #6 all of last night and today I’d try to add something. Thank you for speaking my language and making me laugh.

  24. August 9, 2012 10:52 am

    The baby suckling (or chewing) one nipple while insistently twiddling the other! My almost 6 yr. old still peeing all over the toilet seat – daddies out there, when do these precious little dudes learn how to control the fire hose? Yesterday it was so quiet – too quiet – that I had to investigate. I rounded the corner to find 16 mo old Teo spreading the guts of the cat’s latest chipmunk kill all over his belly! You want to see a 4 minute mile.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      August 9, 2012 2:10 pm

      Julia dear,

      I think those precious little dudes stop peeing on the toilet seat when they have to clean it up.

  25. August 9, 2012 9:48 pm

    At the end of one of those days when I felt ill-equipped to balance the needs of a two year old with a newborn’s (and my own!), it’s a huge relief to hear you say that your most parenting intensive days were when Rose and Col were newly born and two. Perhaps there is hope for me yet!

    I’d add to your list: suppressing the urge to pee for the duration of marathon nursing sessions and/or occasional naps.

  26. August 13, 2012 9:05 pm

    Entering Senior year of high school, with the college applications and the balancing of Dreams vs. Financial reality and Feasibility. Scary stuff… but no less exciting and challenging. Which hasn’t this entire road of parenting has been???

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