From Melanie Kite of the London Spectator:
For those of us who don’t do it, parenting is a bit of a mystery. A strange, magical, glamorous mystery that we imagine is bedevilled by all sorts of complex and exciting challenges. What a mind-blowing experience it must be to manufacture another human being and steer him into the world, we think.
Which is why it was such a disappointment looking after a friend’s teenager for a week. I now realise that parenting involves only two things: persuading a child to eat and persuading a child to put on a coat. That’s it. There is nothing else involved. Which is not to say that it is a simple matter. Oh, no. I have discovered that there are few things more challenging, exhausting or dispiriting than trying to force another human being to put food in his mouth and a coat on his back. I have discovered that hell hath no fury like a young person who does not want to eat or wear a coat.
I have sat locked in the loo weeping in near suicidal despair during particularly savage bouts of eating and coat refusal. How do parents put up with this? I take my hat off to them for fighting this war of attrition for years. I’ve done it for seven days and I’m a basket case.
She forgot ass-wiping. As someone with a newborn, I can tell you, it’s largely about cleaning butt.