1. Take a good, close look at your walls. They will make you want to cry and then hose down your house with disinfectant.
2. Swear. Even if your kid still pronounces "banana" as "babana," as soon as you drop a profanity -- just once -- the little tyke will say it perfectly and repeatedly, in the most horrifying of places (like the doctor's office or your grandmother's house).
3. Assume the toddler-who-never-gets-into-things won't get into things. Our toddler was not the type of kid who would take my $900 camera off its hook, unearth it from its protective bag, and smear liquid hand soap all over it. But, oh yes. He did.
4. Mistake silence for peace. Silence with kids in the house usually means one of three things: 1) They're doing something they shouldn't be. 2) They've exited the premises without you realizing it. 3) They've simultaneously knocked each other unconscious. All of the above = not good.
5. Reach out your hand when a 3-year-old says, "Here," without looking to see what she's giving you. I've been handed many a booger that way.
6. Stick your finger down the back of a diaper to see if it's wet. This one seems like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised.
7. Give a toddler an Oreo. The combination of Oreos and the under-3 crowd creates a chemical reaction that makes matter multiply and spread like a virus. I'm still finding Oreo smears from the time I gave one to our daughter when she was three. She's now eight.
8. Lean over a crouching child and startle them. A child's head is a concrete wrecking ball and your nose is a bulls-eye. I'm surprised more parents aren't killed by having their noses crushed into their brains by little kids' heads. It hurts. Bad.
9. Tell a kid that the plugged toilet will overflow if they keep flushing it without also explaining that that would be a bad thing. There's nothing as exciting to a 4-year-old boy as an overflowing toilet.
10. Blink. You'll miss something. It might be something adorable, it might be something abominable, but either way, it'll be something you didn't want to miss. The growing up years go too fast, so blink as little as possible.
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