Sometimes I look back on the advice I was given before having a baby, and I think to myself “God. Why didn’t you people actually give me some useful freakin’ advice?!” Seriously. You’ve had kids. Surely you’ve got more than “sleep when the baby sleeps” and “make your cup of tea BEFORE you sit down to feed.”
So here are my top ten useful tips for you. From babyhood to first grade (that’s as far into this as I’ve gotten) From me, who is full of useless information. I never like to give advice, so cherish this moment.
1. Never ever ever pull the plug out of the bath while your toddler is still in there. Because she will never ever ever get back in the bath without a full on toddler tantrum.
2. Sometimes you’ve got to pick your battles. Is your toddler licking a football? Yes. Is it going to hurt her? I mean…maybe, but probably not. Let her lick it. Is the toddler eating kitty litter? Yes. Is it a problem? It most likely isn’t healthy for her…so install baby gate across kitty litter area. Deal with toddler tantrums as required. You see what I mean?
3. It doesn’t get easier. It gets harder. You know when you have a newborn and you think “oh my fucking God. What have I done?! This can’t get worse…can it?!” And everyone says “noooo! It doesn’t last long, it gets so much easier, I promise!!” Liars. It gets a teeny bit easier when they start sleeping better, but then they start to walk and talk and have total mental breakdowns over the most random things (like you won’t let them hit their sister with the remote, or you stopped them from eating a dead frog. That sort of thing). And then they develop logic and reasoning. It just gets harder, people! It’s wonderful and rewarding and the best and all of that, but God. It doesn’t get easier. I long for those newborn days.
4. When you long for those newborn days, you will get pregnant. Lock the door and keep a stick or knife or whatever under your bed. For the husband.
5. Is your five year old’s favourite colour pink? Yes, you say? WRONG! Next week it will be blue. The following week red and the week after that it’ll be white. STOCK UP in clothing of all colours. Because you never know when they’re going to spring a new favourite colour on you, and it pays to be prepared.
6. Learn fifty different ways to say “wow”. Because your four to six year old will show you at least fifty times over the course of however long it takes to consume fifty lolly snakes how far she can stretch the snake before she eats it. This also applies to other weird shit she does with her food, like removing all the chocolate part from the magnum before eating the ice cream, or turning her carrots into letters with nothing but her teeth and sheer determination. And she will show you, every single time. Say it with me “Wow, wooow, oh wow! Woah!” That sort of thing.
7. Keep space free at all times on your recording device for accidental blasphemy. There will come a day where your toddler cannot pronounce a word and it will sound both rude and hilarious all at once. My daughter couldn’t pronounce peacock, so ditched the pea and ran around the zoo calling out “COCK! COCK! MUMMY, WHERE’S THE COCK?!” And my nephew can’t pronounce grass. Ha. Ass. It’s funny.
9. Don’t start playing a game with your toddler/child unless you are willing to do it over and over and over again. Commit to memory exactly what it is that you did, exactly where you were when you did it, and every detail of the game from beginning to end. Because your child will want it done EXACTLY the same as the last time you played it. EXACTLY. It is not good enough if you play it similar, it is not good enough. Be better. And NEVER play the game with another child, a sibling for example. Because that is also not okay.
10. Putting your baby/toddler/child to bed later DOES NOT mean they will sleep in in the morning. What it does mean is that they will still wake up with the kookaburras and they will be overly tired and extremely cranky the next day. Don’t be fooled. They aren’t adults. They don’t care for sleep. They enjoy being awake (weird, right?) and getting on with their day. But if they haven’t had their usual amount of sleep (10-12 hrs in this household) they will become complete little…well arseholes to be perfectly honest.
So there you have it. My top ten tips on surviving the day to day of parenthood. Peace out.