A friend of mine had a top list for 2010 and thought that was a pretty cool thing to do. Stealing from him and focusing on my most entertaining stories has led to a top list of fatherhood knowledge:
1. Learn your kid’s cues
Yes, it sounds vague, cheesy & overused, but it can preserve your sanity, save you money on hospital bills, and better yet – possibly cut your poop-diaper duty. I’ll explain, but only after a disclaimer. Kids are tricky – and they change their cues often. So often in fact that this advice may seem harder to achieve than than watching a football game without interruption. Trust me though – it is achievable.
Here’s how – pay attention to them. Before my kiddo thinks about jumping on the stairs, he screams “jump house”. That’s a clue. Before he craps in his pants, he goes to the closet in this bedroom (potty training is hell). That’s another clue. Once you learn them, your life will be so much easier.
2. Breast milk is more precious than gold mined on Pluto by Martians.
Don’t spill a drop of it. If your wife is crying over spilled milk… LET HER. Seriously. Unless you’re willing to grow moobs and milk them, do not make fun of breast milk or the milking process.
3. Ignore your kid
Wow – that didn’t take long for a contradiction. Sure – pay attention for your kid’s cues, but they thrive on both good and bad attention. They will do anything to make sure you’re watching. This includes (from experience): coloring on walls, throwing food, spitting, hitting, biting, throwing tantrums, kicking, pushing, pulling, running with fork in their mouth, and on and on. Stop the dangerous behavior with punishment, but ignore the tantrums.
4. Make them work for their animal crackers
I haven’t researched this fully so if my blog mysteriously disappears it’s likely that I was imprisoned for violating child labor laws. For that, i’m not sorry. The laundry needed to move from the washer to the dryer and my son is happy when he does it. He’s also happy vacuuming, dusting, and picking up toys. I don’t pay him a dime to do it either. I simply ask (or tell) him to do it. I’ve walked through an entire grocery store without any crying or tantrums simply by asking him to help me pick out a toy for our dog.
5. Toss your kid around
This is quite possibly the coolest thing about being a Dad. You are quite expected to toss your kiddo around. And they love it. My son right now likes playing “airplane” where i spin him around and up & down through the air while making fighter plane sounds. After setting him on the ground, it’s hilarious to watch them try to regain their balance. And, they ask for more after doing that. It’s awesome
6. Sometimes, grilled cheese is ok for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Trying to micro-manage a two-year-old’s diet is an exercise in futility. We’re lucky in some respects in that my son loves fruit. So we often substitute fruit for veggies. We try our best to make sure he’s getting the basic food groups into him – but sometimes it’s simply more important to get any food into him. Oh – and one more piece of advice on the food front – french fries are awesome for sick kiddos.