Everyone tells you having kids changes your perspective, but it’s more that your “normal template” changes.

Case in point: last week, I laid out four-year-old’s clothes for him. He objected: he wanted to wear a short-sleeved shirt. The one I’d picked out had long sleeves.

He followed me back to my bedroom and threw the shirt on the floor. “I won’t wear it!” And he stomped his foot.

Thinking rapidly, I said, “Oh, that’s a shame.” Not a hill to die on, not at all. At worst he’d be chilly, and then in the future he’d listen to me about the long sleeves. And if he wouldn’t be chilly then it wasn’t worth a fight anyhow.

He continued standing there pouting, and I said, “Oh well. And that shirt even had a football on it.”

That was the nail in the coffin, in case you’re wondering. He looked down, and suddenly it all changed. He wanted to wear this shirt: nay, he MUST wear this shirt, this beloved, precious shirt with the football on it.

He wore the shirt, and I sat on the bed to tie my shoes.

A moment later, Kiddo#3 comes flying into my room, literally flying, at about thigh-height, hurtling through the air to land on his shoulder and then roll three times before jumping to his feet.

He was wearing his knight helmet with the face-shield pulled all the way down beneath his chin, and tucked into his arm was his stuffed otter.

Raising his arms, he shouted, “Touchdown!”

I said, “Very nice!” and he charged back to his room.

A moment after that, I realized, That shouldn’t be normal. And yet now it’s totally normal to me.

In case you were wondering, this is the child who is going to be the death of me.