Maybe you’re a veteran parent. Maybe you’re pregnant with your first. Regardless, you should find the following list helpful and humorous. As the mother of three kids who are all roughly 21 months apart, I have learned many things. For one, each child is different. What worked with one, probably won’t with the other. Each child will invent ingenious new ways to engineer chaos and destruction. And while it does “take a village,” there are an inordinate number of village idiots. So, without further ado, here are 22 Parenting Tips You Never Thought You’d Need.
1. Washable Crayons are the Devil’s own art supply. They dissolve in small sweaty hands leaving colorful smears and stains everywhere. Avoid. Regular Crayons work just fine.
2. Hot water and Dawn Dish Soap will take lipstick off of sippy-cup lids. If it’s the sparkly glossy type, DO NOT put it in the dishwasher. That is, unless you’re OK with all your dishes having a rosy glisten.
3. Some people have old clothes they keep for messy chores like painting and yard work. Parents wear these sorts of clothes every day they don’t expect to be seen in public.
4. If your kid eats a tube of lipstick or a couple crayons, don’t worry. It will come out in their poop. You’ll know when.
5. Don’t bother putting child proof stopper thingies on your kitchen cabinets. They’ll just smash your fingers and your kid will eventually get past them anyway. Instead, put anything dangerous or breakable up high and leave Tupperware, pans, and cookie sheets down low for baby to play with.
6. If you think your one-year-old doesn’t have the developmental prowess to think of eating messy brown chocolate next to the cat litter box, you’re wrong. Babies love to terrify and horrify their parents. When you can’t talk, practical jokes are the bomb.
7. A child who eats marbles, poops marbles.
8. Save your baby time and hassle by removing all the plastic tips off every doorstop in your entire home. Seriously, those things are choking hazards. Why they don’t glue them down or make the stopper one piece is beyond me.
9. Yogurt makes a great polish for the leather on your sofa. Sadly, unlike mayonnaise, it dries white.
10. Home security alarms won’t just alert you if a burglar breaks in. They’ll also let you know when a child breaks out.
11. Never leave a toddler alone with a cornbread muffin. You will never find a crumb larger than an ant in your entire home, and it will be everywhere. You’ve seen yellow pollen on cars? That will be your living room.
12. Peanut butter is great for polishing cabinets and chrome kitchen appliances. To remove it from upholstery, buy new furniture.
13. Prunes are a laxative. This is a fact far more true than you will ever understand until your two year old eats 25 of them.
14. Never leave Desitin where your kids can reach it. They may mistake it for shampoo. Or foundation. Or body lotion. Or paint.
15. “Baby Proofing” is largely a myth. You can buy outlet covers, table bumpers, and all kinds of fancy stuff, but your kid will still climb the shelves in the fridge, mistake the fire place for a reading nook, and tear the weather stripping off your front door.
16. If your kid slathers their head with Desitin, try washing it with Dawn Dish Soap. You’ll need to apply lotion afterwards so their skin doesn’t get dry, but it’s the only thing I could find that would get Desitin out of hair. Avoid contact with the face for obvious reasons. My kid’s eyebrows were white for three days. It does come out. Eventually.
17. If your child paints a spot on their bedroom wall with Desitin, just paint the rest of the wall with Desitin too so it all matches. Because it’s not coming out.
18. Waiters and waitresses who offer your toddler caffeinated beverages such as Coca-cola hate you.
19. Never post about your child’s illness on Facebook unless you want 500 unsolicited bits of useless advice and misdiagnosis.
20. If your kid’s poop is pine green, that means they recently ate something containing purple or blue food coloring. Don’t freak. Just avoid grape soda. Unless you don’t care, which is fine too.
21. Giving your kids a bath before bed may make them drowsy, but it makes you exhausted.
22. Celebrate everything.