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Ten Things Every Parent Needs To Know
Why Ten Things?
Because I'm too tired and lazy to write more!
I've been a mom for a while now and I've learned a few things worth noting that I wanted to share. For the most part, the following tips are just common sense dolled up to dance on the page for your amusement (no need for dollar bills, it's not that kind of dance). But for anyone thinking about having children, you might want to take a gander before assuming that you know it all–because you don't.
And here are a few more...
Here are a few things some of my Twitter mom friends want to share... Get it; It won't disappoint!
#1: If It Smells Like Poo; It's Poo.
Go ahead, laugh it up, but I promise it won't be for long.
My mother is old school. She struggles with technology, can't comprehend slang, and still puts her hand down a baby's diaper to see if it's clean or not. So when my daughter weighed in a little heavy on her backside one day, it was no surprise that she dug straight down for gold.
Everyone has their own way of doing things when it comes to childcare, but sticking your clean hand into a potentially full load, is never going to bode in your favor. So here's a little tip that you can thank me for later for...
When in doubt, sniff; it's the only way to know for sure without pulling back a dirty finger.
If you need glue, don't use the juice!
#2: Never Squeeze a Juice Box To See If It's Empty.
Now this might seem self-evident and, for some, a little redundant; but the other day, I found myself in a quandary while cleaning out the fridge. You see, I have a six-year-old. And as one might imagine, she drinks a lot of those juice box things. I always try to get low sugar brands, to fool others into thinking I'm a responsible parent that cares about her child's well being–and she likes them just fine, so I buy them a lot. But she doesn't always finish them, and occasionally, I'll find more than one open container tipped sideways in the center of my refrigerator, making everything stick to it like glue.
And this displeases me greatly.
You might think I should know better than to squeeze a juice box that's been chumming it up with leftover pizza for God knows how long, but obviously I'm not as smart as you think. Six-years later and I still get squirted in the eye every time.
Score one for the other team!
Has your child ever written on YOUR walls?
If so, what did they draw?
Save these for when they get older!
3: Don't Believe A Word Of It.
Children are conniving little manipulators that will tell you whatever you want to hear in order to buy an extra five minutes with their favorite animated friends performing lyrical examples of what not to do when their parents aren't around. And because you think that your sweet and tender child is a role model for all that is good and pure, you find yourself believing all of their fabricated lies.
So here's my advice: Don't! Don't believe it when they tell you "you're the best mommy in the world" or when they "promise to stop whining if you let them stay up an extra thirty minutes." And if they give you a half-hearted poem written on a card they made out of construction paper after being sent to their room, just remember that they reason you're holding it in your hand right now is because they just wrote on your walls with a Sharpie.
Don't be fooled by an innocent face!
#4: There Are No Accidents.
Things will break; lots of things, sometimes even things that you care about. And you will note, that even if your child is the only one in the room when it happens, it's never his fault.
But it is.
They'll blame the dog, the cat, even the fish if there's no one else around to point the finger at. And if you're fool enough to believe that they "didn't mean it," even after witnessing a blurred out image of your child fleeing the scene as you walked in, then you really have no one to blame, but yourself...
Because you're never going to get a confession out of them!
#5: There's A Difference Between "Doing" and "Doing It Right."
This should be a no-brainer for parents; but for some reason, there are still people out there who believe that their kids are reliable in their ability to do what you say.
Well, hear me now... I don't care who you are and how honest you think your children might be; if you ask them to clean their room, brush their teeth, or even just to pick up a pair of crusty socks that you found on your dining room table, there's a pretty good chance that they either didn't do it or didn't do it right. And the only way you'll ever know for sure is by checking their work–just as a third grade teacher would, prior to planning her escape.
Psst! Hey grandma... Look what you've done!
"I'll have a scrambled egg with a piece of toast!" *Makes eggs*
"No wait... Scratch that. I'll take one of your famous pumpkin pancakes!" *Makes pancakes*
"You know what? I think I'd rather have a bowl of cereal." *Prepares bowl*
"Oh, never-mind. I'll just have a Pop Tart." *Reaches for antidepressant*
#6: You Don't Have To Be A Short Order Cook.
This is where I messed up, and if I could go back in time and reintroduce her to the world of culinary delights, I would never have told her about sugar. But I'm going to have to throw my mother under the bus over this one, because she's the one who started it.
My mother loves sugar, she always has. When I was little, she would be in the kitchen at least twice a week, whipping up something that I'd eventually pay for in the form of many hours on a treadmill–but I didn't care; what five-year-old with a lust for high fructose would? So when my daughter started receiving periodic invitations for an all expense paid trip to grandma's house, I was sure to tuck a little guidebook in the front pocket of her tiny pink suitcase.
It was a clear set of rules, outlining a few things that were of particular importance to me, most of which stemmed around food. I packed enough healthy alternatives to keep her there for at least two-weeks (just in case) and made sure that my mother was fully instructed on the importance of maintaining a healthy diet–at least one for my little girl.
Her career as a personal trainer for toddlers was less than six-and-a-half minutes long, and my naive and innocent sweetheart, who once begged for sliced peaches and Cheerios, has never asked for another bowl again. My arguments for pushing fruit went nowhere with mom, and whenever I called to check in, I could hear her mocking me with choking sounds and self induced gagging.
Three days ago, I made the best darn ravioli this side of Trader Joe's. The sauce was mild with just a hint of seasoning, and the noodles were stuffed to perfection with the best tasting cheese you could imagine. She ended up eating a hot dog.
Thanks, grandma... What would I do without you?!
Hunger Games Parody - Mom vs. Hungry Kids!
#7: If You Have To Ask, Then Assume It's Dirty.
Most of my days are spent picking up wrappers, empty cups and random articles of clothing I find lying around the house. Sometimes I'll find a pair of shoes in the bathroom, or a pair of underwear draped over a dish towel in the kitchen; other times, I'll trip over a pair of jeans while reaching down to pick up, what looks like, used pieces of toilet paper.
So here's the tip: Don't ask, don't sniff, don't even try to look... Just assume that it's dirty and throw it in the wash. Unless, of course, it isn't worth keeping.
#8: They Don't Always Need To Know That You're The Bad Guy.
Depending on the child, there is always a toy favorite. I have a girl, who has an emotional attachment for all things fuzzy; which is why I now have six lawn sized trash bags, stuffed to the gills with oversized bunnies, cats and dogs, hidden in the far corner of our beloved attic. It's also why I wait until she's in school to sneak back in her room and grab five more to add to the pile.
She thinks she knows, but she has no idea–remember that.
Have YOU ever lied to your kids about time?
#9: Until They Can Tell Time, Lie.
Yeah, that's right, I said it–and I'm not the only one, so go ahead and judge. Mine's six now, and she's recently just figured out the time game. No longer can I tell her it's 7:30 pm when it's only 6:45; and I can forget all about leaving a few minutes early so I'll have time to find decent parking–because, thanks to her first grade teacher, she's mastered the skill of addition. But it's not too late for you (maybe), so if you find yourself needing an extra hour at night to wind down from another exhausting meltdown, feel free to fudge the numbers a little while you still can.
The last word.
There's always got to be a last piece of advice, so here it is:
The next time you're lying in bed with your significant other, tossing out ideas of what life might be like with a second child, just remember all the things that came along with the first!
And for crying out loud, get some sleep!
#10: Never Assume Anything.
Last, but not least, is the most important piece of advice that you'll ever need. And it sounds so simple.
As your children grow and learn, you'll begin to lose your edge and spice up your day by giving them more responsibility. They'll have chores, projects and enough homework to occupy them for at least a couple of hours. But what of those mindless tasks that go hand-in-hand with being human; like turning off the bathroom light or putting the cap back on the toothpaste–who's going to keep up with that?
You are, that's who–and it's never going to end, so don't assume that it will!
© 2014 Lisa René LeClair