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7 Lame Things That Turned Awesome When I Became a Parent

As a parent, I know what Dorothy took the entire movie to learn: There's no place like home.
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We all know parenthood changes a person. But did you know that parenthood has the power to transform seemingly lame things into really awesome ones? I mean, stuff I used to roll my eyes at, I'm totally into now. Check it:

1. Drive-Thru
I'm a reasonably fit vegetarian and before I had a baby, I'll admit I looked down my nose at slobs who stank up their cars with fast food from the drive-thru. Then my daughter started falling asleep in her car seat at lunchtime, and the only way to make sure she got her nap was to Keep. On. Driving. For like three hours. So here's what this vegetarian discovered: Carl's Jr. offers fried zucchini! Jack in the Box has jalapeno poppers AND mozzarella sticks! My car does stink, but drive-thru sure doesn't.

2. All-Inclusive Vacations
Pre-baby, I fancied myself an adventurous world traveler. I swam with sharks, climbed volcanoes and rode elephants. An all-inclusive resort (or God forbid a cruise) sounded claustrophobic and dull. But now that I'm a mom, I fantasize about a trip that comes with childcare and a buffet. Bring it, Club Med Ixtapa, and bring it soon.

3. Dinner and a Movie
In my dating years, I disdained the classic dinner and a movie outing, believing it lacked creativity. The way to woo me was with picnics at the beach, concerts under the stars or champagne in the hot tub -- you know, anything they do on The Bachelor. These days, the chance to sit across from my honey and savor a good meal, without cutting up anyone's food but my own, while talking about... wait for it... the movie we just saw!... is the height of indulgence. Retroactive apologies to past offerers of said dinner and a movie who didn't get sex from me.

4. Chain Restaurants
My taste in restaurants was once an obnoxious combination of impossible-to-get-into "it" spots and "aren't I cool?" ethnic holes-in-the-wall. Today it's any place with a high chair, a kids menu, reasonable prices and some running room. Hello, California Pizza Kitchen!

5. Granny Panties
I never really felt comfortable in thongs -- I just knew that as a woman under 60, I was supposed to wear them. However, as a stay-at-home mom, I no longer care about visible panty lines because I'm pretty sure the only person checking out my ass is my toddler, who loves any excuse to use the words "tushy" and "booty." So why floss my butt with a thong when I can relax in a comfy pair of granny panties -- not just for periods anymore!

6. Calling My Parents
I love my family, but I've never been a phone person, and I used to procrastinate calling home for entire semesters. Now I'm Skyping them constantly -- to share the baby, to complain, to brag and to get advice. Plus I'm finally willing to listen to all those icky stories about what it was like to potty train ME without covering my ears and singing la-la-la.

7. Staying In
As a parent, I know what Dorothy took the entire movie to learn: There's no place like home. Just last week, I brought my daughter to a friend's house and within seconds she had run into a glass coffee table with her face. Home is the only place that's totally baby-proofed, has an endless supply of diapers, wipes, toys and snacks and is a non-embarrassing safe haven for my daughter to experiment with screaming, throwing, spilling and generally acting like a beautiful little mental patient, a.k.a. a toddler. Plus, if I ever get hungry, there's always plenty of food on the floor.

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