Look anywhere on the internet and you will find all kinds of parenting advice. Words of wisdom for the ages, like "savour every moment," "the only constant with kids is change" and "the days are long but the years are short."
You hear people spouting off all kinds of words to live by in the world of online parenting. While all of that is good, it's time to get real now. What do I really need to know when I become a parent ? Here is some advice that I wish I'd been given at the start and it all begins with a soiled sippy cup.
1. If you happen to discover a sippy cup after the milk has curdled... throw it out!! Do not pass Go, do not collect $200. Go directly to the garbage can with the sippy cup. I promise you it's NOT worth it.
2. Allow an extra hour of prep time when you are getting ready to go out and even then you will probably still be late. For some reason these little beings have no concept that you have to be somewhere in 15 minutes when they decide to poop all up their back. Yep. Not considerate.
3. Be aware that babies (and children for that matter) always get sick at the worst times. Date night you say? Vomit. Christmas Eve? Why not spike a fever! Going on an airplane? They'll probably come down with an ear infection or some other ailment that will make the whole process extra delightful. So if you are planning a special occasion make sure the medicine cabinet is well stocked first.
4. Just give them the box. No need for expensive gifts. They're only going to play with the box anyhow when they are babies. Believe me there will be plenty of time for expensive gifts later. Best to start saving your money for that.
5. A pull-up is just a diaper that costs more. And if you're really determined to use them, always go for the easy open sides. Always. You're welcome.
6. Get a dog. I'm serious. Having a dog makes the supper time mess that much easier to clean. Oh wait, on the flip side there is the barking when baby finally falls asleep after rocking them for an hour so I guess it's a bit of a trade off. Getting a dog can go in the optional but beneficial column.
There's pretty much no problem a baby wipe can't fix.
7. Go through their clothes regularly. Because if you are anything like me, you'll forget for a while and then find a whole lovely little stash of outfits the size down from what babe currently wears. Ugh. Such cute clothes too. Wasted!
8. Don't have the TV on all the time. OK this may sound like I'm a pious Mom but listen to my reasoning. It's kind of backwards. Once my kids were old enough that they noticed when the TV was on, I would keep it off unless they were watching a show. If I left it on all the time they would float in and out sometimes watching, sometimes playing. But if it was never on and I finally put on a show, then whamo! They were mesmerized. Then I had a whole half hour to chill out or get a quick chore done.
To this day, you turn the TV on and my kids turn into zombies. It seems like it's maybe not an ideal parenting goal but hey it sucks when you try to have family movie night and someone is asking you to play Barbies halfway through. Right? So train them young.
9. Learn to like your food cold. You may never eat a hot meal again. It's one of those eternal realities that as soon as your supper is ready, your baby is going to want to eat. When the kids are a bit older, by the time you cut up all their food and get their drinks and condiments, they are ready for seconds. Cue repeat of process. I guess we'll eat later.
10. Pack your diaper bag like you are going away for a year. Just in case. We need lots of crap where ever we go. Toys? Check! Snacks? Check! Whole little changing station and diapers? Check! Bottles? Books? Baby wipes in spades? Check!. Just bring it all. If you don't bring it, you'll most certainly need it.
11. Speaking of baby wipes, best to buy them in bulk. There's pretty much no problem a baby wipe can't fix.
12. Hide all remote controls. Immediately. For some reason babies and toddlers seem to obsess over them. And if you're not careful they will reprogram all of your settings and you may never figure out how to get them back. Best to show them who's boss of the remote right from the get go. That way if it sticks, then when they're a teenager you might still get to watch some of your favourite shows.
13. Avoid going to houses where they don't also have kids. Well you probably can't actually avoid this but believe me, you will come out sweating. You have to bring all your own toys (but the kids are sick of them already anyhow) so they will be much more interested in Great Aunt Gertrude's heirloom vase that is sitting on her lower shelf and of course, as always, the remote controls. You will have to to be constantly vigilant and you will come away exhausted. Utterly. So avoid this if you can.
14. Spend lots of time just laying on the floor chilling with your little love. This face time with your child will be what you remember when it all comes down to it and you will just laugh when they are older about all these little bits of advice that seem so ridiculous in a way, but really are often a very real part of having young kids.
And seriously... Just throw out the soiled sippy cup!
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