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Practicing for Three

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Before your children get to three years old, you may want to practice, you know, so you don't accidentally eat them at some point during that rewarding and calming year. Here are my suggestions, ways to practice, if you will, for the three-year-old you will someday have.

1) Start out strong. Set your alarm for 5:45 a.m. Then have your partner set his or her alarm for 5:20 a.m. and have them wake you up by screaming MOMMY in your ear.

2) Pour a bowl of cereal, let's say Froot Loops. Put a little milk in it, then place it on the table. Let it get nice and soggy. Pour another bowl, let's say Cheerios this time. Keep them dry. Don't touch them. Wait 20 minutes. Then take both bowls and dump them on the carpet. Bonus points if you can get some milk under the couch.

3) Turn on the television to PBS. Never turn it off. Every five minutes or so, turn the volume up or down. You may want to take this time to flip the lights on and off, too. Or turn the dishwasher on and off. Or open and shut doors over and over. You choose. Mix it up!

4) Open the fridge. Leave it open.

5) Go to the bookshelf and pull all the books off. Leave them on the floor. Take off all dust covers and crumple them.

6) Pour a sippy cup of half juice half water. Use child-friendly swear words to express frustration at the fridge being open. Then pour one of milk. Cap it. Wait thirty seconds. Take the cap off and put chocolate in it. Recap it. Wait thirty seconds. Uncap it and put it in the microwave. Recap it. Wait thirty seconds then put it in the fridge. Pour a cup of water. go over to your best sofa and dump it out. Re-open your fridge.

7) Nap time! Don't move for an hour. Do not go to the bathroom, walk around, clean anything, or even read a book. You don't want to wake anyone up.

8) Invest in a vuvuzela or noisemakers. Throughout the day, blow it directly in your ear. This is a faulty step. It's nowhere near as annoying as constant demands and tantrums. But we have to work with what we have.

9) Sit down. Get up and get a tissue. Sit back down. Get up and get a towel. Sit back down. Get up and get a snack. Leave it on the couch. Sit back down. Get up and put the cereal on the floor. Sit back down. Get up and put the cereal in the kitchen. Sit back down. Get up and get a blanket. Etc. Do this until you're about to rage.

10) Close the fridge.

11) Go to the bathroom. Sit there for three hours. Read yourself fairy tales and nursery rhymes non-stop the whole time.

12) (Wait until your partner is around for this one. You'll need two people.) You start cleaning. Do dishes, and kitchen work. Have your partner go into the living room and throw things around. Then switch. You go clean the living room. Have your partner take dirty dishes out of the washer and put them on the floor and counter spaces. Repeat five times.

13) Fill the bathtub. Put toys in it. Splash the water all over the floor. Open and empty an expensive bottle of shampoo. Clean it all up while singing show tunes.

14) Bed time! Sound the noisemakers non stop for 20 to 90 minutes. Then get yourself a glass of wine.

Good job! You're ready! Remember, they're only three for one year, and four is so much better!

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