1. I Can Control My Bowels.
Let’s just get this one out of the way first, ‘cause it’s a biggie. I won’t go into detail, lest I someday humiliate my preschooler-who-will-one-day-be-a-literate-adolescent by chronicling the minutiae of her toileting activities on the interwebs. But I will say this—as my husband and I trudged through the strenuous process of potty training our daughter, I found myself saying more than just a few silent prayers of gratitude for the gift of adequate bladder and bowel control.
2. I Can Eat as Much Ice Cream as I Want.
Sure, I might have to pay for it later with tight pants, high cholesterol, and feelings of self-loathing, but being able to eat whatever the hell I want, when I want, is just one of the many freedoms I enjoy as an adult. I remember my adorable 5-year-old niece, a while back, telling me how lucky I was that I was “allowed” to have as much junk food as I want because I’m a grownup. Damn straight, small fry! Your candy quota is up for the day. Now pass me the mint chocolate chip and go to bed so I can stuff my face in peace!
3. I Appreciate the Gift of Sleep.
What is it with kids and sleep? Are they biologically incapable of valuing one of life’s most precious gifts? Can you imagine someone begging, bribing, and yelling at you to take a nap every day? It would be the most amazing thing ever! “Please, for the love of God, stop everything you’re doing right this minute and go to bed for a few hours!” I actually find it baffling when kids reject sleep because, much of the time, I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do. And the irony, of course, is that they get to have so much more of it than we do. It’s a terrible injustice.
4. I Don’t Have to Go to School.
This is a tricky one for me because I’m a big nerd and I love learning, but that wasn’t always the case. And let’s be honest—as important as it is, school is no fun for kids (except when it involves keg stands and classes that don’t start until 1:00 p.m., but those things obviously don’t happen until much later when they get to start reaping some of the other benefits of adulthood anyway). Getting up at the crack of dawn, riding in the big yellow bus of shame, enduring boring classes and teachers, memorizing useless facts, and sitting through hours of homework with your parents breathing down your neck. I’m so happy I can at least earn a pay check for the hard work I (usually) put in every day. Not kids. They’re paid in report cards and the pressure to succeed. No way would I ever want to go back there again.
5. I Don’t Go Out of My Way to Catch Communicable Diseases.
I’m a bit of a germophobe, so dealing with the grime that comes along with having a small child has been a challenge for me from the start. I think I’ve gagged more in the last few years of my life than I did in the previous 30. The pinnacle of my disgust occurred last year when we were living in New York City. I was on the subway with my daughter, who was in her stroller. I glanced down at her to discover she was licking the subway pole like a lollipop. The horror of that moment, nearly a year later, has not left me. And while there are plenty of adults who don’t exactly adhere to the “cleanliness is next to Godliness” principle, it’s safe to say most of them don’t go around licking subway poles either.
6. I Don’t Hear the Word “No” or “Stop” Every Other Minute.
I’ve actually considered counting the number of times I tell my daughter “no” or “stop doing that” on a daily basis, just for curiosity’s sake. I imagine the number would be substantial (though I doubt it would be as high as the number of times I hear “mommy” every day, so there’s that). I clearly remember how annoying it was as a kid to be told “no” on a near continuous basis, so I do have some sympathy for my daughter when I say it. Here are some of the questions I said “no” to today:
“Can I have candy for breakfast?”
“Can I wear my bumble bee dress to the store?”
“Can I have candy now?”
“Can I have candy now PLEEEASE?”
“Can we go sledding?”
“Can I have a birthday party today?”
7. I Can Drink Margaritas.
I don’t think this one needs further explanation.
(photo: Getty Images)