Parental lessons for…me

These are reminders for myself, so don’t follow my advice, please.

1) Don’t feed your child solids when he’s about to sneeze. (I struggle with this.)

2) If your child prefers your partner, try not to take it personally. As long as you feel bonded with the child, it’s not as essential for the child to feel bonded with you, and they will eventually return the favor. (…unless you’re an ogre?) Don’t complain, don’t whine, don’t write a letter of complaint, don’t compose cranky songs about it. Just accept it and move on. (Oy, I really, really struggle with this one. I’ve asked Mom to have a talk with Baby on my behalf.)

3) When your mother says, “I’m expecting a second one. No pressure,” take her at her word, even if she adds “You said you wanted four.” “When?” “When you were a child.”

4) Though hard to resist, do not pluck the lone booger that hangs, mistletoe-like, in your sleeping child’s nostril. Trust me, it is NOT worth it. If you’re lucky enough to have a child who is sleeping, enjoy. (Still working on this one. Oh, OCD tendencies, be still.)

5) When you change diapers on a boy baby, be aware they have been known to urinate mid-change. Keep a cloth or rag nearby to prevent accidents. (Sure, I’ve been warned about this phenomenon for years, years before I was pregnant and knew a boy was about to enter my world, and yet, I still don’t seem to absorb this warning. Every time the pee shoots out in a rainbow arch on the changing table, I squeal in shock. Our floor now features a fine coat of pee. Guests welcome!)

6) Try to avoid absolutes when giving unsolicited advice to other parents. In fact, don’t give unsolicited advice. (It turns out there is no such rule of “when you do x, then y will happen.” Some stuff works with some children some of the time, and you mean well and you want to help, but it only irritates your friend, so shut it down. Try listening instead.)

7) Don’t let your child watch TV until they’re two (unless you live in a studio and you really need to watch the Project Runway finale.) Don’t let your baby watch TV and eat paper at the same time. (Uh…)

8) When you find masticated paper in your child’s mouth, or catch him eating paper, remind yourself. “Well, at least he’s not choking.” There is always a silver lining. (Fiber.)

9) Do not panic about money, the future, and events beyond your control. Sure, there is something about having a child that suddenly makes the burden of adulthood altogether too real, but the trick of handling serious matters is to remain light. Like have fun, so you remember it’s not worth taking anything so seriously that you make grumpy company for your peers.

10) Let your partner help.

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