The Parenting Memo

When I was pregnant I was given a plethora of books about pregnancy and childbirth.  What to Expect and The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy and The Mother of All Pregnancy Books – you get the idea.  Without even trying I was suddenly and profusely awash in information, helpful tips, suggestions and tricks of the belly bump trade.    When my firstborn finally arrived on the scene, the onslaught continued and I was fortunate enough to have been bequeathed with all manner of hand-me-downs, gifts, and books like Baby’s First Year.  I might have been a sleep-deprived mess but I was a PREPARED sleep-deprived mess.   I carefully watched for milestones, memorized the “When to Call Your Doctor” pamphlet, learned how to troubleshoot a bad latch, mastered Harvey’s Karp’s Five S’s, and could wrap that Moby like a BOSS.  

About 18 months out, though, it all slowed to a trickle.  By the time Gryffin was 3 I was all but out of books and hand-me-downs.   I was hard-pressed to find information about a 3-year-old’s developmental milestones and I was down to my last bag of gently-used clothes. When you have a baby, it’s like being dropped off in the wilderness but they give you this huuuuuge backpack full of the things you will need (and some that you don’t).  Once your kid is older, though, you’re just tossed out at the trailhead with a, “yeah,… good luck with that.”  Apparently once you pass a certain stage in this parenting gig, you’re just supposed to wing it.

Take kindergarten, for example.  There was no memo.  There was no briefing in the mail telling us that it was time to register Gryffin and please just follow steps A, B, and C.  No, I happened to overhear somebody talking about registering their kid when I was at the coffee shop one morning and I realized with some alarm that I better get on it.  But when I got home I wasn’t sure where to start or what to do.  I had to Google it and I’m still not entirely sure that the poor guy is registered.

I felt the same sense of bewilderment last week when I went out in search of new pants for him.  Every single pair of his pants has a hole in the right knee.  Apparently it’s his sliding knee?  I don’t know.  But it’s getting out of hand and my sewing skills don’t seem to be up to snuff.  So far I’ve attempted three different kinds of patches but he gets holes in those, too.  Or they fall off.  Not to mention he’s growing like bamboo and it’s just hard to keep up.  I scoped things out at Goodwill a few weeks back but I was baffled when I couldn’t find anything in his size.   So I set out to Target a few days later, determined to come home with something.

Turns out that it wasn’t Goodwill, though.  It was me.   I didn’t get the non-existent memo.  I didn’t realize that Gryffin has grown out of this section…



And needs to move on to this one…


Nobody tells you these things.   How was I supposed to know?  He’s 5.  That means he’s supposed to wear 5T.  As in TODDLER.  I had searched and searched through all the 5Ts at Goodwill and when we came up short (literally), I looked around for some 6Ts but found none.  I chalked it up to Goodwill, though.  A sparse day at the thrift store.  It happens.   But when I didn’t see any at Target either, I finally asked a sales clerk.  She informed me that they don’t make 6Ts; that I would need to go to the boys section and pointed across the aisle.   I peered over in the direction of her finger.  What?  You mean I’m supposed to move on from these sweeties…?


To these chumps…?


I slowly steered my cart in the general vicinity but I just walked around in a daze.   The clothes looked GINORMOUS to me.  This is where the Jr. High kids shop.  What size does this make him?  Is he an XS?  Is there something smaller than that?   I looked around at all the big basketball shorts, the skull & crossbones tees, the mustache ball caps and I felt dizzy.    Where are the Diego underpants?   The Thomas the Train socks?  Someone should have prepared me for this.  Surely there must be a book out there with information on US clothing sizes for kids and how to get ready for the big transition.

After a few breathless minutes I veered back over to the infant/toddler section and took refuge in its familiarity before heading home empty handed.  I just wasn’t ready.   I couldn’t handle all the hipster jeans and the Vans and the grown-up boyish-ness of it all.    By the time school rolls around in the Fall, I’m sure I’ll have mustered the energy to try again.  For now, I’m going to get to work on some new patches and keep my fingers crossed that he even gets IN to kindergarten.

2 thoughts on “The Parenting Memo

  1. Well, I’m pretty sure my almost 4-year-old will be in the toddler section forever since he’s such a little guy, but yeah, no one taught me how to parent a preschooler! This is definitely an age I wasn’t prepared for.

Leave a Reply