It's no secret that life changes in a million different ways once you have a kid or two. However, no one can prepare you or tell you everything that there is to know about parenting; it is just not possible. Some things you simply have to learn along the way. As an older sister, I want there to be a way for me to pass along some of the things that I have already learned, and will continue to learn, during my journey as a parent. What better than a blog post? Here are some of the random things that I have learned from parenting so far:
1. Lotion expires.
Recently, I was changing the diaper of our newborn when I saw that she had some of those pesky wintertime dry spots on her tummy. My immediate reaction was to apply lotion so I reached over and grabbed a bottle that was hanging out nearby. This particular bottle of lotion, I noticed after applying, was one we had bought for our toddler when she was a baby. Not thinking anything of it, I redressed our baby and moved on. Then, her next diaper change rolled around so I unsnapped the onesie and noticed that she had completely broken out on her tummy. I investigated the bottle of the lotion that I had applied and, to my dismay, found that that particular bottle of lotion had expired 4 months prior! I had never even thought to look for an expiration date on lotion.
2. Sunscreen expires.
Our firstborn is, what we like to call, a "fair-skinned princess." We have always been so concerned about her out in the sun and tend to reapply sunscreen at least every half hour, if not sooner, when she is spending time outside. With us being so concerned about her getting burnt, I thought that I should look in to whether or not sunscreen has an expiration date. It is possible that some of them do have it labeled, however, the sunscreen that I had on hand did not have a date anywhere on the container. When I was unable to locate a date, I headed on over to "Google"and the information there was spotty. Luckily, a co-worker was headed to the dermatologist so I asked him to check on my question. The next day, my co-worker informed that his dermatologist recommended that sunscreen be tossed out every year and replaced. I immediately went home and tossed all containers of sunscreen and then went out and bought a few brand-new bottles. A toddler with a sunburn is on the very bottom of the list of things that I want to deal with.
3. Magic Erasers really do erase everything.
These should be a household requirement if you want to have children ever. I have used these things to remove marker from the wall, pen from the children's table, permanent marker from the baby's bottles (we write our baby's name on the bottles we send to daycare with her), dried yogurt from the wood floor, etc. They are seriously magical and should never, EVER be out-of-stock.
4. Rocks are for eating
Why is it that all children go through a phase where they, not only have to put everything in their mouths, but they put only GROSS things in their mouths? Our toddler has taste-tested almost all of the rocks in our backyard (we have a small rock area for a fountain and fire pit) and appears to have made it her life's goal to go back through and taste-test each of them again. Word to the wise: If you are considering children, be sure to have a strong stomach...ew!
5. Some kids really DO potty train themselves.
Prior to potty-training our 2-year-old, I read a couple of potty-training books to ensure that I was mentally prepared (which was completely necessary as I was 30+ weeks pregnant). All of the books said that children can not and will not potty-train themselves. Assuming that meant our toddler was waiting for us to potty-train her, my husband and I picked a date for potty-training and marked our calendars. The week before said date, the hubs went on a man's hunting trip leaving the toddler and I to have a girl's weekend. On Saturday, we decided to run up to a local bookstore to play with their train table and have a snack at the in-house coffee shop. While we were enjoying our "day date," our daughter looked at me and told me she needed to potty. Unsure of what to do I took her to the bathroom and sat her on the giant public potty (scary). Nothing happened. Then, when we got home, our daughter said "I all done diapers. I need to go potty." So I whipped out the toddler potty and let her sit on it and she actually pottied! Sure, there was some beginners luck involved and some training had to be done regarding wearing panties and going potty all of the time without reminders; but, for the most part, our toddler decided when she was ready to be potty-trained and took the initiative to figure it out with minimal parental support. Not to say this will happen with every child but it's a great example of why you can not use a "one size fits all" approach with most things, especially with how you parent your kids.
6. Hand, Foot and Mouth does not mean that all 3 areas are effected.
Wow. Hand, Foot and Mouth (HFM) is, by far, the worst virus, with the exception of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), that a little kiddo can get; and, unfortunately for our daycare babies, it's inevitable that they will get it. Hand, Foot and Mouth is a virus that usually only affects children under the age of 5 and can cause fever and red, rashlike bumps that occur on the hands, feet and/ or mouth. However, all of these areas do not always break out. For example, the hubs and I assumed that our firstborn had HFM one time when she was younger because it was going around at daycare and she had already had a fever. but did not see any bumps on her feet or hands. We took her to the doctor to see what was going on with her and, after the usual weight-check, ear-check, tummy-check, etc., the doctor disagnosed her with HFM. We were so confused as she had not broken out and the doctor told us that she only had the mouth portion of HFM, leaving the other parts of the body free of the rash. Who knew that was even possible?
7. Kids have "colds" during the entire winter season.
If you are already a parent you know this. Before I was a parent I had no awareness that kids got sick and that, in the winter, it literally lasts the entire season. Our firstborn has had a "cold" for over 3 weeks now with no signs of it going away anytime soon. Fortunately, she has just embraced the fact that she is not going to feel 100% for a bit and will pack herself a bag with saline wipes (for her nose), lip balm and lotion to take with her to daycare. Thank GOD her daycare teacher does not have a problem with this as she puts a lot of thought in to her personal care package.
8. A 2-minute shower is comparable to winning the lottery.
As a working mom, I wake-up in the morning and immediately have to start my "getting ready" routine to ensure that I have enough time to get myself and both of our girls ready for the day. Part of my morning routine consists of taking a shower. How this differs from someone else's AM shower is that my shower consists of me washing up with a toddler peeking through the shower curtain the ENTIRE time. On the mornings that I am able to sneak away, unnoticed, to shower in peace, I truly feel like I have hit the jackpot. It's the little things!
What are some things that you have learned along the parenting way? Something that you maybe would have never thought of as your younger, child-free self?