Parenting 101: 25 things I’ve learned in the last 8 years
With my oldest child’s eighth birthday right around the corner, I’ve been reflecting on the things that I’ve learned over the years. They really should have an instruction manual that comes with your child but then again, as I’ve learned, no two children are the same. They will always challenge you in new ways and just when you think you have them outsmarted, they turn the tables. So, here are just a few things I’ve learned over the years.
1. You will quickly learn to censor yourself the first time your child yells “Crap!” from the back seat when a driver cuts you off. If you’re lucky, “crap” is the worst they will repeat.
2. Children have remarkable hearing when it’s suppose to be a secret. However, the words “clean your room” or “wash your hands” seem to be in a totally different tonal range that apparently only parents can hear.
3. You will find yourself uttering sentences you never thought you would. Saying a phrase like “please don’t lick the cat” will just seem as normal as “have a good day.”
4. If you have boys like I do, you will spend some time saying, “We don’t play with that.” It will be hard to come up with a straight faced reason for the response to “But why not? It feels good!”
5. Your personal space will be reduced by 90%. You will find the art of distraction, “look at that cool truck outside!” and a quick sprint to lock the bathroom door as a useful technique.
6. It won’t matter how many times you try to convince them that some new food is good. Just send them to a friends house to eat it and then suddenly, it will be their favorite meal.
7. Undoubtedly, they will get a growth spurt right after you buy them new clothes. Always size up. And maybe, if you have stick children like I do, invest in belts and adjustable waist bands.
8. They will want every toy they see at school or on T.V. Eliminate cable and not only save on the cable bill but also the anguish of going to any store which has a toy aisle.
9. Children will speak the truth. If you don’t want an honest answer, ask your significant other rather than the child.
10. You will worry about them falling out of the tree they are climbing. However, it will be the one play structure which is 2 feet off the padded ground where they will break their arm. Just have them be in padded suits all the time. And probably with a helmet.
11. You find yourself shaking your head when you do exactly something which you swore to yourself you will never ever do when you have children of your own. You will find you are now the crazy mom in the store who is bribing her children with toys to “Please just let mommy get out of the store without another meltdown.”
12. Speaking of meltdowns, you will learn that these can come on without any warning much like an earthquake and can be nearly as terrifying. Even if they are fed, diapered, napped and happy one second, they can switch the tables like nothing. And inevitably it will come right after you praise them for behaving so well. I think the praise serves as a reminder that there was something they forgot to do.
13. You will find yourself arguing with your significant other who gets to run the errand to the store but only on the provision that the children are staying home. If they must come, you will find yourself handing over the keys and money quicker than you can say “kid-free!”
14. You won’t remember what it was like before you weren’t tripping over toys in the hallway and trying to figure out how on earth the laundry multiplied overnight.
15. You will find that when it’s 100 degrees outside, your lap will still be the preferred place to sit. Even if you are sweaty, you will still relish the couple of moments where they are quiet and contained.
16. Your dining will be dictated by the needs of the youngest in your group. It needs to be kid friendly, won’t take too long and preferably in a location where there might be lots of fire trucks or police cars going by. Though hopefully it’s just because it’s near a station and not because you are sitting in sompleace unsafe.
17. The word “mommy juice” will be spoken more frequently than you would’ve ever guessed.
18. You will have every intention of doing yearly baby books. Everyone will think your baby just stopped growing at about 9 months old. They will also never know that you have a second child by just looking through the photo albums.
19. You will never have all of the answers. And questions like “Where do babies come from?” will most certainly have a more enteraining answer if you ask them “Well, where do you think they come from?”
20. You will know all of the words to the kids shows theme songs and all of the characters. Just accept it. You might even find yourself wondering what happens to Thomas at the end of the episode.
21. It will only be the time you forget the wipes or the extra change of clothes that you will truly need them. If you do happen to find an outfit, it will have only fit the child two years previously.
22. You will undoubtly say to yourself, at least once, how much you just sounded like your mother/father. Hopefully this realization is because you’ve discovered that the parent actually did know something which in the years previous to having a child, you thought was ridiculous.
23. You will worry that you are screwing your kids up. With any luck, you will just chalk it up to you the fact that you are making them a more interesting person and paying for their psychologist’s school loans so it’s not all bad after all.
24. You will try not to repeat mistakes on your second child. With lots of luck, you will make different even better ones! At least when they are older, they can have heated discussions over which one had it worse.
25. Finally, you will love those creatures more than anything you could’ve known. They will weasel their little grubby hands and snotty noses into every facet of your life and you will enjoy
every most of the minutes of it. And unless you want to create your own little army, stay away from looking at the baby pictures and pulling out their first coming home outfit until you know you are too old to have any more.
I’m sure there are many more, probably more useful but likely not as entertaining as these 25 things that I’ve learned even in just the small time span of eight years. What have you learned as a parent?
And apparently, I cannot follow my own advice about not reminiscing in the past. This is my oldest when he was about 4 months old. See how innocent and sweet he looks here.. almost enough to make me forget how sleep deprived he made me with waking up every hour for the first year. Almost.