It’s been a “minute” since I negotiated the merits of wearing shorts in favor of snow pants to a three year old who is HELL BENT on wearing snow pants with lamb’s wool and snow shoes in 80 degree weather- but this weekend- the good, the bad and the drive-you-to-lock-the-door because you LITERALLY just want a minute to pee in peace- came flooding back as I took care of my sister’s four kids for the weekend while she and her husband and enjoyed some kid-free, sleep-in-a hotel till all hours of the day (not to be disturbed by a kid who needs to be WIPED at 6 am). The truth is- once you finally get out of those labor intensive early years and graduate to the bigger kids, bigger problems like mom can we have a keg party out our house requests you realize that each are equally demanding- just in a really different way.
I completely forgot about the life or death importance to a three year old of drinking out of a GREEN CUP as opposed to a yellow one since my 12 year old would drink from a rain water puddle on the street if he didn’t think I would yell at him for it. And that sometimes “we need to sing one song before I go to bed” turns into a prayer book of songs that lasts about 45 minutes and just when you think you are finally done- there is another song that NEEDS to be sung because apparently that’s what her mom does EVERY NIGHT- whereas my 16 year old’s bedroom door is CLOSED and I’m lucky if I even get to wish her a good night as she is closing the door and telling me that ” she has talked enough”.
While the truth is often said in jest- after spending a mere two nights with five kids under the age of 13 – first I am amazed that my sister is not drowning in a sea of laundry raising her white flag as the dirty clothes bury her, now that I am past the toddler and early childhood stage I’ve gotten some perspective on this parenting thing- at least as it applies to getting some control over those a little three year old dictator.
#1 NEVER EVER under any circumstances FLUSH the toilet. Yes I know, it’s not ideal to have small turds floating in the bowl and a rancid urine smell wafting through the air- but if you are in the throes of potty training a three year old who is REALLY doing well -you don’t want to do ANYTHING to derail all the progress you’ve made- i.e.- give him anything and everything he wants- throws dollar bills at him, all the gummy worms, all the soy ice cream and under NO CIRCUMSTANCES flush the toilet after he has generously bequeathed you with a gift on the toilet ( and not in his underpants).
#2 Always walk around with a fanny pack. Apparently little kids think they need to give you their popsicle sticks, their snotty tissues, their half eater sandwiches and basically any of their garbage. Why don;t they just THROW it in the many trash cans you’ve strategically placed all over the house? That is a great question- because you are a mom aka a human trash compactor and the truth is that half eater jelly donut is probably better off in your hand/ fanny pack as opposed to being stuffed into the couch cushions. Point being- if you have a fanny pack- lined with plastic- you can just take their garbage and dispose of it at your leisure.
#3 Do not take a bite out of anyone’s food- your six year old niece will not believe you “just wanted to taste it to make sure it was good,” in fact she will be PISSED. She will proceed to tell you that she needs a fully intact nutella sandwich and you will need to make a brand new one. In other words- littles have a very strong stake and ownership over the food on their plates- and unless you want to make two sandwiches instead of one- keep your bites to yourself!
#4 Never Underestimate a kid’s ability to BLUFF and question EVERYTHING. Did I mention that I lost four rounds of poker to a 10 year old? Yes that’s right this ten year old with his doe-like eyes and his sweet demeanor TOTALLY bluffed like a professional card shark in Vegas…and I realized found a way to use those very same skills to weasle out of getting punished for riling up his older brother to the point were he kicked a hole in his door. Lesson to be learned- TRUST NO ONE- especially the really cute ones!
SO…got any tried and true parenting tips you would like to share with the rest of us? Please do!