I commented to my husband the other day that first time parents (and those without children) have a lot of theories but experienced parents have no theories at all, just lots of practical advice. He thought it was funny.
But, really, it’s true. We share all our helpful tips for surviving life with 3 or more little kids and laugh at each other’s stories and no one feels compelled to tell anyone else how they could have done it better, we’ve all been there and we know how it is. We may give practical suggestions if we have them and if we don’t have any practical suggestions we just laugh and share our own funny story.
For example, I was complaining about how hard it is to get the straws clean on those Take N Toss cups with straws because the straws fall through the silverware basket in the dishwasher. She pointed out that she just leaves the straw in the cup lid and sticks them on the top rack in the dishwasher…brilliant! Why didn’t I think of that? That just saved me 5 minutes washing dishes every day! Actually, my middle child likes to chew on straws so she ruined all my straws by chewing on them. I just threw them away and started buying the red striped disposable straws. I notice when I was at my friends house the other day that she has also switched to the disposable straws, she must have had the same problem I did. You’ll note though, not once did we discuss our theories for getting our child to stop chewing on all the straws, we just switched to disposable. Very practical.
And the question of how to keep your kids from waking you up at 5 am convinced that it’s morning. I tell my oldest 2 that they can’t get me up until it’s light outside. The’ll play barbies in their room for an hour waiting for it to get light and then come get me and ask for hot chocolate, and a host of snacks for breakfast. There’s no, “you just tell them to stay in their room and punish them when they don’t” talk, we discuss how we explain to our 3 yr old in a way that they can understand when it’s considered “morning” and they are allowed to wake us. One of my friends uses a timer on her kids lamps and when the lamp turns on they can get up. Another mom just sends them back to bed if they get up too early. And someone else just has them join her in her bed until it’s time to get up. But, not one of us is convinced that our way is better than the others, it’s just what works best for us and our kids.
And potty training, we all just smile and nod. So which candy did your child prefer? Did you use a sticker chart? You still using pullups at night? And then we launch into our most embarrassing/funny stories thus far. My kids love public restrooms. If they even think there might be one at a store they instantly have a need to go to the bathroom. The other day, I was shopping with the kids and headed into a dressing room. My girls were ecstatic, I had, without being asked decided to go into a public restroom. I had to leave my two sweaters with the nice ladies running the dressing room and take my kids to the bathroom and then come back to the dressing room and try on my sweaters. Now, I don’t try on a lot of clothing with all three kids along so up until this point the girls had not realized that there was such a thing as a dressing room at a store. According to my kids, next to public restrooms, dressing rooms are the greatest thing ever invented by stores. And our Sam’s has a child sized sink in their bathroom. Thanks a lot guys… I have to plan an extra 20 minutes in Sam’s just so the kids can go play in the sink. (they always have to urgently go to the bathroom the minute we step into Sam’s).
And the number of times our kids have removed their clothing at inappropriate times, and said things we just didn’t want them to say…don’t even get me started…we all just smile, laugh, and know that that’s just how life goes.