Ten Thousand & Counting

Yes, I’ve read everything Malcolm Gladwell has written. And yes, some of it resonates and some of it doesn’t. I like the statistical legerdemain he can do and BOOM! Canadian hockey phenoms make sense. Or, at least as much sense as I need them to.

In Outliers, he lays out (hmm) the idea of 10,000 hours to mastery. The Beatles in Hamburg before they launched their Invasion: 10,000 hours. Bill Gates nerding it up in high school when no one else was using computers: 10,000 hours.

As a new mother, I grasped at any straw that hinted that at some point I would stop feeling like I might do irrevocable harm to the tiny beast since I had probably already screwed up by eating Nerds while pregnant. Often.

And thus, I grasped the 10,000 hour straw. I nerded it up in my own way by figuring out what day Brett&I would hit our 10,000th hour of parenting. It’s a little under 417 days. Or 52 days after your kid turns one. Or, for us, a Leap Year meant 51 days.

We crossed from novice parents on Monday, May 21. We had a sitter arranged and we took our expert selves out to dinner. I ate insanely expensive mac&cheese (I leapt the expert threshold in mac&cheese ages ago, probably in my own toddlerhood).

The best part? I kind of did feel like I knew what I was doing Monday. While doing our morning crawl/inspection of her bedroom (must checks: cow humidifier, green monkey, fan, door stop) I saw a big ole splinter in Loie’s foot, probably from an evening spent on the deck.

A true expert would know just what to do. I knew to Google judiciously. A link too far and I’d be reading about amputations and how splinters are indications of failed parenting. Instead, I wanted to check that what I knew to do years ago for campers who no longer counted their ages in months would be appropriate for the wee one. And it was. I started my expert day, then, with Brett holding down the kid and me removing a splinter.

Not quite the fireworks or accolades of being a Beatle or the richest person around. Satisfying enough, though, for sure. And that’s parenting. Satisfying enough. You’re never as rested or as prepared or as with it as you might have been 10,000 hours ago. But the new enough is enough.


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