Friday, September 4, 2009

My scaled down, unpublished stab at a list

Reading today consists of things of the short variety. A few blogs that catch my fancy, a couple magazine subscriptions and maybe an article here and there in the newspaper.

Even these quick reads don't get read in a timely fashion, as I still have a Parents magazine from October 2007 in the "to get to" stack. We'll consider it vintage at this point.

However, I did recently read one woman's list of 39 things every mom should know. Of course the topic is subjective, and every mom has her own perspective. While there were a few "oh yeahs" in the list, there were also some "are you kidding me?" entries. As my mind wandered to the things I'd replace on her list, I decided to give it a go and compose my own.

So, in abbreviated (and gender inclusive) form, here's my list of 25 things every parent should know. Please note, no judgement is meant to be passed, as I have violated, witnessed, contributed to or experienced each item on my list ... that's how I've learned enough to include them.

1. Mothers can be snobby about schools ... preschool, private and public. Ignore it.

2. After your baby reaches six months of age, swear off Tylenol. Use Motrin or Advil so your child has relief and you haven't wasted your money.

3. The first time a child vomits (really vomits, not the spit up of infants) there's a good chance it's going to scare the pants off of them. Be prepared.

4. Relax during potty training. The more relaxed and patient you are, the quicker you'll find success.

5. On the topic of potty training, pull-ups and training pants are for the birds. Put on cloth underwear, prepare for messes and get the job done.

6. Let your kids fight ... sometimes. At some junctures, they need to work out their own disagreements without your interjected peacemaking.

7. Music can be just as beneficial to a developing vocabulary as reading, if you're willing to answer "What does ______ mean, mom?"

8. Indisputably, children are born without prejudice. Protect that virtue diligently.

9. Trust your instincts when it comes to your children's health. If you think something is up, chances are there is.

10. Kids want to learn. Every minute of every day. They just need someone willing to teach them.

11. Different kids have different ways of expressing their creativity. Let each one discover the method which works best for them.

12. Public tantrums are virtually impossible to avoid. However, nip them in the bud by not cowering when you encounter one. I once walked through Target for 10 minutes with a child screaming loud enough for everyone in the store to hear because she wanted yet another swimsuit. After 10 minutes of public embarrassment she learned the scene she created didn't pay off.

13. Don't judge said mother in Target with a screaming kid. Take heart and sympathize, it just as easily could have been you.

14. No one will ever convince me a child is better in a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants environment than in a familiar, routined one.

15. Don't fret over picky eaters. They will eat eventually ... about the time you stop coercing them.

16. Two dishwashers would be dreamy. A family of five is about the limit per dishwasher. After that point you're facing leftover dirty dishes that have to wait until the next load.

17. A mother's initial bond with each baby after birth is different. Don't expect each experience to mirror the last or the next. Just like kids, every one is unique.

18. Never underestimate a child's emotional capacity or ability to understand.

19. Answer questions from your kids in a straightforward fashion. Give them honest answers on a level at which they are able to process those answers. They then learn they can ask whatever is on their minds, and trust you'll give it to them straight.

20. Take lots and lots of photographs. It's the day-to-day pictures that capture who and what they are.

21. Objectively see your children's strengths and weaknesses, and embrace them all.

22. Realize that kids may prefer one parent over another. They love mom and dad both, but will most likely gravitate to one on a deeper level. Allow them this without your ego getting in the way.

23. When you have a case of diaper rash that no cream, ointment or butt paste will cure, an application or two of an athlete's foot spray does the job. Guaranteed.

24. As tempting as it may be, don't compare a child's intellect, social development or physical attributes with those of others. Instead realize everyone has their own pace and characteristics (this can be virtually impossible in the case of multiples).

25. For all the fancy toys, high-tech baby gadgets and designer baby clothes that exist, children really need only two things to thrive ... food and love.

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