17 Things That Are Harder Than Putting Your Kids to Bed
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You read the Three Little Pigs again (giving each pig a different voice), checked the closet for monsters, gave 6 encore hugs and turned on the nightlight. Not 2 minutes later, your pride and joy in his Spider-Man pajamas is standing in front of you. “My tummy hurts. I need a glass of water and I think I saw a spider.” Sister, if you can get through bedtime, you can get through these fun times too:
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1. Potty Training
Try it with twins, just for fun. When one is ready but the other is not, but insists he is, that’s when it gets really interesting. Stock up on rubber gloves, paper towels, air fresheners and red wine.
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Read all the books you want and become an expert, but the reality of this, no matter how many children you’ve had, is that one of you has never done this before. The baby is brand new at this and will require your patience. As a reward, you get sore breasts. Stock up on nursing pads, A+D ointment and red wine.
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3. First Day of School
That’s a toughie for parents. Their little one is striking out alone, doing big things without Mom or Dad for the very first time. There will be crying, wailing and lots of tears… but try to do that after your child has entered the school!
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I don’t know how many, many times I grounded the kids and punished myself by keeping them in the house all day.
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5. Bath Time
The stages vary wildly here. Babies often hate their bath, but by the time they’re 3 years old they are just wild about it. If they even hear the word, they are standing naked outside the bathroom door holding every toy they own. We had to spell B-A-T-H lest we start a whole bubble bath extravaganza. A few years later and they have to be dragged into the shower!
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6. Boo Boos
You hate to see them hurt. I remember the x-ray image of my 4-year-old son’s little fractured leg – I was just devastated! Three more sons and many sports later, I am a frequent flier at the local ER. I’m cool as a cucumber now. “Oh, just grab your health card and get in the van.”
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7. The Birds and the Bees
Sorry, I have no gems of advice for you here. I never did master this one, so you’re on your own. I hope you do better than I did!
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I recall a certain 2-year-old, and so does his hairdresser 20 years later on, who despised getting his wavy platinum locks trimmed. While the other kids sat happily in their choo choo train barber chairs, my imp thrashed in my lap and yelled “All done! All done!” through the entire process. Afterwards, mixed in with the blond hair on the floor, was some of my brown hair.
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The early years are filled with endless earaches, mystery rashes, colds and episodes of croup, as I recall. I also remember the many fun tummy flus my kids brought me. All of us would be sprawled around the family room with pillows, blankies and a barf bowl each. My husband always made the same politically incorrect comment when he came home: “Geez, it looks like Jonestown in here.”
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If you hated doing homework when you were in school, just wait until you have to do it all over again x how many children you have. You will buy hundreds of sheets of bristol board for projects, try to teach math only to discover the methods have been changed yet again, finish projects for kids who have lost interest and generally tear your hair out. Or that could just be me. Red wine, anyone?
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11. First Jobs
A child’s first job is often a paper route. Be prepared for your young entrepreneur to lose interest quickly. You will find yourself at first encouraging and then nagging, followed by helping insert the endless fliers and finally helping (a.k.a. doing most of the work) with the route.
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There are all sorts of stages and oddball periods of behavior that are thankfully mostly short lived. The days when my toddler twins discovered they could use the contents of their diapers for an art medium was certainly interesting.
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13. Sibling Rivalry
With 5 kids, the 2 things that drove me the nuttiest was the perpetual mess and the constant bickering. “She’s looking at me!” “It’s my turn on the computer!” Some days, you just want to put them all in baskets and leave them on church door steps!
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14. Meal Times
I was very lucky that all my children took to breastfeeding easily because I know that doesn’t always work out for everyone. Regular food was a different story. I had a wide range of fussiness among my children, from one who basically lived on Cheerios and apple juice, to another who liked un-kidlike things such as olives and blue cheese.
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If you think your kids are rowdy with an entire house, yard and park to play in, try containing them in a cramped vehicle for several hours. Traveling with kids is not for the faint of heart or those with delicate nerves. Be prepared for some less than pleasant sounds and smells and to be hit on the back of the head with the odd bottle or Barbie doll.
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Why is it that little children scream, wiggle and complain when you are trying to dress them but yet the clothes come off silently? Many, many times I dressed my kids only to find them having a naked tea party with a blanket covered box. On many of those days, I just gave up.
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Pets are wonderful companions and great models for teaching kindness to all creatures. Sooner or later however, a pet dies and the difficult discussion about death follows. Being the coward that I am, I postponed the inevitable a few times by running out and buying another fish before the kids got home from school. One day, my son said “It’s weird, Mom, my fish are getting smaller.” I think he was 18 before I told him the truth.