Everyone ages. Time is a constant, and we all age at the same rate but, the effects of aging can escalate when a person is a parent. One day a person wakes up as an adult, the next day they wake up as an “old” parent (at least in a child’s eyes).
Time stops for no one.
When a child is born, it is no secret that they can age a person. The parental aging process begins easy enough, e.g., late night feedings, changing diapers and constant vigilance. The lack of sleep can quickly cause anyone to feel older. One thing that no parent ever tells other parents is that the rapid aging process never ends.
My son is now 4 years-old, and I still periodically check on him at nighttime. Xander still wants snacks and wants to use the potty in the middle of the night (my hope is that it ends by the time he goes to college). I think one of my sons missions is to see how much sleep I can live without every night.
5 Ways Children Age Parents
1. Knees - Good knees are an essential part of parenting! A person does not understand the importance of good knees until they start lifting a stroller in and out of the car (or lifting a small child). They help maintain a person’s weight, and they move us from one spot to another. As a parent, we soon learn the importance of having good knees. The up/down repetitive motion of playing in the floor “kills” the cartilage in knees. A child will never understand the phrase, “My knees hurt.” (Part of the plot to age a parent)
2. Eyes - Children lose things! Eyesight is an essential ingredient in helping to find all lost objects. In fact, I think children lose things intentionally. A child wants to see how quickly a parent can locate missing objects using “good” vision. The harder a person strains their eyes to find an object the more they lose their eyesight. (Note: A parent finds the missing object and the child is appreciative. The child then moves to another missing object for a parent to find).
3. Spine - Parents are not a spineless wonder. Most parents have excellent discs in their back until they have a child. One of the jobs of parenting is to become a “perfect” jungle gym. Being a complete jungle gym means a child is going to crawl all over a parent. The goal is to see if they can rupture a few disc’s in the process (I have several ruptured discs myself).
4. Memory - As we age, we begin to compartmentalize trivial details and do not remember them in a timely fashion. A child seems to know that a parent will “never” remember all the details. It is most clear when they are missing “one” item, e.g., a game piece, a shoe or toy. Children automatically assume a parent knows where the missing item is and begins to test the parents memory skills. (Memory can go in conjunction with #2 eyes) The memory test also comes into play when a deadline is approaching. The child will insist they told the parent weeks ago about a school project or event (making the parent question themselves and their memory).
5. Hearing - A primary goal of every child is to learn how quickly they can make a parent “not” hear anything. In the beginning, parents are good at listening for signs a child “needs” them, e.g., crying, whimpering and soft moans. As a child learns to speak a parent’s hearing begins to fade. The constant repetitive nature of saying the same sentence over and over 100′s of times makes parental hearing fail.
Circle of Life
Children work at aging parents!
As a father, I can not emphasize enough, the amazement at watching a child grow up. The growth of a child is a constant reminder that we are getting older. Earlier this week my son was playing with his cousin Olivia when they both thought it was fun to call me “old man.” The idea of being an old man in my son’s eyes was rather amusing. I am not sure if I would like to call it the circle of life or just go get some duck tape and see if I can stop them from calling me “old man.”
Many people say that children age a person. What do you think? Do you think children makes a parent older faster? Or do you take the opposite approach and children keep us young and laughing? Tell me more in the comments!