I’ve learned a lot in the last two-and-a-half years of being a parent.
For most of that time, I’ve been a stay-at-home dad of twin girls. I’ve mostly learned that whatever advice someone has given you, ignore it, because it probably won’t work on your kids.
Instead, you need to adapt to survive the day-to-day challenge of raising your children. Whether that means letting them watch a little extra TV when they are sick, or feeding them the same foods because the kids love it and will eat (Katie loves broccoli I could feed it to her every day no problem), you need to figure out your own kids.
But just because advice doesn’t really work, doesn’t mean we can’t share what we learn. For me, here are 33 things I’ve learned since becoming a parent.
1. Nursery rhymes are depressing.
2. If there’s a choice between watching Toopy & Binoo and hockey, you’re watching Toopy & Binoo.
3. Your house can always get messier, even if you don’t think it’s possible.
4. No matter how much time you spend preparing a meal made up of only ingredients your kids like, they’ll be much more happy eating plain crackers.
5. No matter how often you ask them not to, your family and in-laws are going to give your kids junk food.
6. You think strangers carry all sorts of germs, and won’t let them near your kids.
7. There’s no point in buying anything brand new and not expecting it to get dirty/scratched/chipped.
8. The kids will not want to nap on the day you could really use one.
9. Crafts are always messier than what it looks like on TV.
10. Just because a time-out works for one kid doesn’t mean it will work for the other.
11. No matter how hard you try to prevent it, at some point, the kids will colour the TV with their crayons.
12. Cheerios are the best things to use to keep a baby entertained when they first start eating.
13. Before, you would get disgusted by the easiest thing. Now, you can take out logs of poop out of the bathtub without so much of a dry-heave (at least by the third time).
14. The Internet is your best friend when your child has a rash/illness/bruise.
15. Kids sleeping on the car ride home may be the only peace you get for a week.
16. Bringing a tablet when you eat at a restaurant filled with videos of their favourite cartoons is the one surefire way to make sure you get to finish your meal.
17. You can never have too many batteries.
18. You actually don’t need that many toys.
19. You ask someone else to throw away certain items because you can’t bear to do it (such as the baby’s bellybutton when it falls off).
20. The slideshow at my kids’ weddings will be awesome, because they’ll have about 100,000 photos to choose from, and that’s just the first few years of life.
21. There is no point in folding clothes.
22. It makes you angry when you hear a celebrity with a personal chef, maid, trainer and full-time nanny wins a parent of the year award.
23. You hide in the pantry to eat junk food.
24. A kid’s nap is the perfect time to clean the house and cook dinner. Of course, you spend it on Facebook and watching TV shows on your PVR.
25. Nothing is spill-proof.
26. The bathroom is the last safe refuge away from everything. That’s why guys will go in there with a laptop and a newspaper and stay there for an hour.
27. The first time your baby rolls off a table or a bed, you freak. The fifth time, it’s all good.
28. Logic has no place when kids are fighting over the same toy.
29. You won’t watch any of your favourite shows when the kids around because of the off-chance there might be a little bit of cursing they might pick up.
30. A minivan is probably the greatest way to travel ever.
31. When your baby is first born, and a soother drops on the floor, you would never give it back to the kid without sterilizing it first. It doesn’t take long before you simply wipe it in your jeans and hand it back.
32. Your child’s favourite books will be in a language you can’t read (in my case, French)
33. If you hand a child a phone, 911 will be dialed at some point.
What about you? What have you learned since becoming a parent?