So the oldest turns 10 today which means I now have a decade of parenthood under my belt. If you had asked me ten years ago to predict how much I would know about parenting by the time I had been on the job for this long, I would have way over-estimated myself.
I am sure that, among the mass of imaginary readers, there are experts on this topic who might weigh in with real expertise, but to get it started, here are the top things I think I learned each year along the way:
Year 1: If your infant's nasal passages are completely clogged with mucous and you use that big turkey baster contraption to try to clear them, never "check the results" by peering into the pointy end and squeezing the bulb.
Year 2: If you make up a really good bedtime story with a two-headed dog and twisting, funny plot, all of your future stories may be harshly compared to that standard by a disappointed child with high expectations.
Year 3: With the addition of a second child you must question the math you learned as a kid. Caring for two should be twice as hard as caring for one. But it's not. It's six times as hard.
Year 4: Whenever one kid does something inappropriate and must be reprimanded, the other kid will be behind you to witness the irrepressible smile that crosses your face when you turn away from the one you just scolded. This will set you back several years in teaching right from wrong.
Year 5: TV is bad for the mind and stunts creative thinking blah blah blah...when you are single parenting and you need to make a phone call or use the bathroom, the TV is like a magical friend with limitless power to captivate your kids.
Year 6: No form of birth control is perfect. (Third child joins the family.)
Year 7: Little boys pee differently than little girls. Even imaginary readers know that. However, it takes some parenting experience to know that a good pair of goggles at the changing table can preserve your eyesight.
Year 8: If you make eye contact with your child and ask them, in a clear, loud voice, to perform some chore, they probably won't hear you. But the sound you make biting into a marshmallow from the confines of the kitchen pantry, will wake them from a sound sleep and prompt a request for a marshmallow of their own.
Year 9: Kids today are smarter than we were. Example: We were smart to figure out that, if we swore, we got in trouble with mom. Kids today know that, if they swear, Dad gets in trouble with mom.
Year 10: Nothing compares to parenthood in terms of its capacity to fill you with sheer joy and a profound sense of purpose.
There you have it. I welcome all tips on instilling discipline, explaining war, getting vegetables consumed, and refuting the "unfair" claim.