1. Never accept pretzels from the three-year old. He puts them between his toes before sharing.
2. Always bring tissue no matter where you go or your blouse becomes a walking nose-drip catcher for little ones.
3. Pick and choose your battles. It is better to tell the misbehaving child he will not get a piece of candy once you are in the car. It saves you the embarrassment of having him scream through the entire store. Otherwise...
4. Say 'no' without saying 'no'. Use 'maybe', 'next time,' 'let me think about it,' and 'hmmm' often. It gives them some hope they can hang onto for a little while until they forget what they wanted in the first place.
5. Even though you can read your teen's face like a billboard, don't say anything. They don't want to know that you know until you know that they want you to know. Then, you can let them know.
6. Don't use the old, peeling Teflon pan when you make scrambled eggs for the little ones or they will scream and refuse to eat thinking it's pepper and you will scream, "It's not pepper, it's pan!"
7. The next time you plan to go out MAKE the toddler go potty first. Watching him scoot across the floor at the vet's with his jumbo super-soaked pull-ups, leaving a wet trail behind him was such a proud moment, wasn't it?
8. Give the nine-year old specific directions. Sending him to the kitchen to 'get a snack' was too vague. Now you have to replace the lunchbox treats, breakfast muffins and juice packs you just bought that morning.
9. Sarcasm is intelligent, witty and even funny...until your kids use it.
10. Send an older child with the toddler to the bathroom when he needs to wash his hands. Otherwise he will shampoo one and condition the other.
11. Must think of another way to get the youngest to mind in church without him yelling, "Momma, stop hurting me!" with a big grin on his face.
12. Remember to tell the child who feeds the pets that the bowls of food and water and the pet must be in the same room at the same time for it to work the way it should.
Some of these lessons might be no-brainers, but believe me. After thirteen years of parenting I no longer have a brain so they suit me just fine.
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