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A big part (perhaps the biggest part) of many peoples’ lives is being a parent. Some of you are probably seasoned parents, some new parents and some not even thinking about that sort of thing yet. Well, for the latter two groups, I have a few things you might like to know.
But first, you might be wondering what makes me the expert. Well, my son (pictured) is quickly approaching 2 years old (this July) and I get to watch him discover things and learn about the world first-hand. It’s seriously a blast, the most fun I’ve ever had. But it’s been my experience that every really fun activity involves some ground rules; a few things that will help you experience the fullness of enjoyment while participating in the activity. Parenting is no exception (save the bit about having to support them until they’re 18 or somesuch – you’d better ask Leo about that part) – and here are a few of the things I’ve picked up along my merry path, and I think you’ll find them useful.
Disclaimer: Obviously I don’t live with every toddler in the world, so some of these tidbits might not be universally true. If nothing else, hopefully it’ll make for an entertaining read…
- They hide stuff – And it’s usually your stuff. Not 30 minutes ago, I was tearing my house upside down looking for my tape measure. I looked everywhere it might be and a few places it couldn’t possibly be – all to no avail. Then I recalled that my son had been playing with it in recent days. Sadly, it’s still missing – but I’m pretty sure a quick once-over in his room will yield what I’m looking for. And if you think I’m unfairly blaming him for something he may not have done, I’d be happy to tell you about the myriad of kitchen utensils I’ve found in the dresser drawers and toys of his I’ve noticed in the trash. Trust me on this one.
- They like to hear exactly the same sound/song over and over (and over…) – Back when he was about a year old, somebody we know (I don’t exactly recall who, but once I figure it out, I’ll be hunting them down soon to “repay the favor”) gave my son a stuffed frog toy. This toy makes all sorts of interesting noises, sings songs, etc. My son, in his ingenuity, has mastered the art of pressing the on/off switch so rapidly that he’s able to produce an incessant stream of “Hello!Goodbye!” that has been known to continue for minutes at a time. And if you’ve never watched a man’s hair turn gray right before your eyes, I invite you to tag along next time we take a put down to the local Piggly Wiggly and see for yourself.
- They have no sense of fear (for their own safety) – Anybody who has been around small kids with any regularity has probably witnessed them grabbing for a hot pan on the stove or hauling ass directly into traffic. I’m here to personally attest to the idea that this trait pervades most (if not all) of toddlerdom. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found my son teetering on the brink of destruction standing on the armrest of the couch or just taking off in some random direction, waving his arms and laughing hysterically.
- Unless you’re Lance frickin’ Armstrong, they can run longer than you can – I’ll admit, I’m pretty out of shape. I hardly exercise and eat what most would consider a passably healthy diet. But I’m easily 15 pounds overweight and I get winded pretty easily. Having said all that, my son has the energy of Tony Little midway through a weekend crank binge and can go and go and go. I’m pretty sure this is the case for most toddlers, so make sure you get on the StairMaster like you’ve been talking about before you end up like me.
- They know (and understand) way more than you think – Sure, they may not be able to tie their own shoes or walk more than a few steps without losing their balance and falling flat on their keister, but make no mistake – they know what’s up. Gone are the days when I could simply put my keys in my pocket and my son would forget all about them and move on to something else. Now, he just points at my pocket and says insistently “keys!”. Or if he asks for a cookie or something and I tell him that maybe we can have one after dinner, what do you think is the first thing he asks after dinner? Correct – “cookie!”. Believe me, they’re not stupid and they’re watching you and remembering everything you say. Think of them as your own private CIA.
Do you, dear readers, have anything to add? I’m hardly the world’s foremost expert on this stuff, and I’d love to hear what you nice folks have to say on the subject.
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