I’ve been a parent for 17 and a half years.
Wait. I’ve been a parent for 17 and a half years?!?
• Birthday party goody bags were invented by the devil. So were juice box straws.
• No matter how hard you try, you will never, ever be able to get Polly Pocket’s clothes on her without ripping them or snapping her head or legs off.
• Super Glue does not hold Polly Pocket’s head onto her impossibly tiny neck. But it does do a fine job of sticking it to your fingers for about three hours.
• Contrary to what Mattel tries to tell you, the real purpose of Barbie shoes is to jam your vacuum and choke your cat. Same goes for Legos.
• Playing Candyland with a pre-schooler for 30 minutes is worse than spending an entire day at Six Flags with a tequila hangover.
• Contrary to popular belief, feeding your child noodles & butter and grilled cheese sandwiches pretty much every night for 15 years does not stunt their growth. Same goes for Cap’n Crunch.
• Taking a four year old little girl into a public restroom and trying to keep her tiny, wiggly fanny from touching the toilet seat is about as sanitary of an experience as rubbing her legs with the wrappers that stick out of the “special” trashcan (which I guarantee you she will grab – every time).
• No matter how much money you spend at Gymboree or GapKids, your child will choose the crappy shirt from Target with the peeling Hello Kitty decal on the front or the red glitter flats every time you leave the house.
• By the time your child is three, you will seriously question Margaret Wise Brown’s sobriety, but will begin to speak in Sandra Boynton rhymes when conversing with adults.
• When your kids — and God forbid, their little friends — want to “put on a show” for you, make sure a grab a bottle of wine before it starts.
• Don’t let the makers of Pull-Ups fool you … because they won’t fool your toddler.
• It is possible to get in a decent nap while “watching” The Backyardigans, just make sure the volume is low enough so that damn Uniqua doesn’t appear in your dreams.
• When traveling with a baby, a little Benadryl in the bottle will make the trip much more enjoyable. Just try not to fall asleep while holding the baby.
• If you want to continue to be able to shop at your closest Target, keep the popcorn/icee combos to a minimum. There’s only so many times the employees will smile at you while cleaning that shit up.
• Playing hide-n-seek is a terrific indoor family activity when you want to finish that book you started or take a nap. Until they’re around nine, your kids will wait for you to find them for hours.
• Don’t be fooled by stuffed animals. As the years progress they’ll multiply faster than Duggars and before you know it you’re hoarding them in tubs in your basement where they cry every night because their “person” outgrew them, but because you and your kids have seen Toy Story 200 times you can never ever give them away.
• Do not ever let your kids watch Toy Story.
• No matter how old your kids get, there will still be little plastic shit embedded in the carpet in the direct path to their room that the soft insole of your foot invariably will find when you stumble there to soothe a 4 a.m. nightmare scream.
• McDonalds Happy Meal toys are a piece of crap.
• Keep your child in diapers as long as you possibly can. Otherwise you will never, ever eat a hot meal at a restaurant again (or see a zoo animal…or ride a ride at Disneyworld…or get to watch an entire movie…).
• You will never organize all those pictures. Stop trying and just enjoy looking at them on your computer screen.
• Knowing when to pick your battles is key, and changes with age:
3 years old – Let her wear the ratty Sleeping Beauty nightgown with her black patent mary janes to pre-school. Tell her teachers that her father dressed her. Again.
10 years old – Make her wing it on the 5th grade math test after she defiantly tells you you’re doing it all wrong when you attempt to help her with her long division. The bad grade she’ll get won’t keep her out of a good college, and will give you the always fun moment of being right.
16 years old – Do not touch the laundry that has been gathering on her floor for the past month (and that is the cause of the dead rodent smell coming from her room). When she runs out of socks or underwear and her jeans stand up on their own, hand her the jug of TIDE and walk away. And make sure to hide your own clothes.
• Bedtime backscratches know no age and never get old (except perhaps when you have an Appletini downstairs growing warmer by the minute).
• Believe me when I tell you the time will pass as quickly as everyone (like me) tells you.
Enjoy the journey and don’t sweat the small stuff. Except, of course, for the Barbie shoes and Legos that are implanted in your feet.