My youngest is 16 and the college letters and university catalogs are starting to arrive. As I reflect on the things I have tried to teach my 2 children as well as the many many gymnasts I have helped raise over the years I thought I would share just a few of the things they have taught me.
I’ve learned that the best toys are seen but not heard.
I’ve learned that a “friend with benefits” is a friend with a kid old enough to babysit.
I’ve learned how frightening it is to have a 2-year-old walk up to you when you thought she was asleep in her crib.
I’ve learned that a child’s first instinct isn’t to walk around a puddle.
I’ve learned that how you cut the sandwich is as important as what you put in it.
I’ve learned that the kids books that are cardboard can double as coasters.
I’ve learned it’s important not to let young children give up… their naps.
I’ve learned that if you buy your children a spy kit, you’re the one they will use it on.
I’ve learned how to type the text “When are you coming home????” very quickly.
I’ve learned that if one door closes and another opens and then slams shut, it means the kids are fighting.
I’ve learned that little kids use words like “smelly,” “stinky,” “poopiehead,”and “poopieface” so often because for a child recently out of diapers, this is the height of effrontery.
I’ve learned the expression “you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet” is especially true when you’re cooking with kids.
I’ve learned that “yes” is the answer to give the first time a child asks you if the Tooth Fairy is real.
I’ve learned that the bigger the buildup, the bigger the meltdown.
I’ve learned that you can tell if someone is married if they wear a wedding band, and you can tell if someone’s a parent if there’s crud all over their iPhone.
I’ve learned that after a third-year checkup, your pediatrician should wish you good luck.
I’ve learned that if a recently potty trained child tells you he can’t find the underwear he was wearing earlier that day, you’d better make sure you find that underwear.
I’ve learned that very little can compete with the sight of a small child wrapped in a big towel after a bath.
I’ve learned that flying with little kids on airplanes isn’t the worst. It’s going to the bathroom with them on the flight.
I’ve learned not to believe the headline “Recipes Even the Pickiest Eaters Will Love.”
I’ve learned that it’s called the “witching hour” because it’s the time of day when you want to cast a spell on your children.
I’ve learned that putting your kid down for a nap makes the doorbell ring.
I’ve learned that little kids are really good at detecting chocolate breath on others.
I’ve learned that the more kids you have, the more believable the premise of Home Alone becomes.
I’ve learned that asking your kids to wash your car is a good idea only if you specify that they must not open the door and stick a hose inside.
I’ve learned that kids go through a lot of phases. And so do their parents.
I’ve learned to hide the Sharpies.
I’ve learned that the biggest difference between little kids and older ones is that little kids don’t want to leave you alone, and big ones want you to leave them alone.
I’ve learned that parks, museums, libraries and playgrounds become infinitely more fun the moment an adult says it’s time to leave.
I’ve learned that the fastest way to upset a toddler is to press the elevator button first.
I’ve learned where the bathrooms are located in all of the grocery stores in my town.
I’ve learned you don’t have to go to Las Vegas to gamble. You can just ask a 3-year-old to “hold it.”
I’ve learned how to tell the difference between an “I’m-hurt” cry and an “I-want-you-to-think-I’m-hurt” cry.
I’ve learned that the opposite of get-rich-quick is having kids.
I’ve learned there might not be crying in baseball, but there’s plenty of it in T-ball.
I’ve learned it may take a village — but it does not take strangers in the grocery store who want to give you unsolicited advice.
I’ve learned to sip and sit carefully on April Fools’ Day. (and I will NEVER eat oreo’s any more)
I’ve learned that there are few things more suspicious than children playing quietly.
I’ve learned that reading a letter from school about lice makes my head itch.
I’ve learned — like most people — that I actually know very little about parenting.
But to my kids, I’ve learned that is not what’s important.
I’ve learned that the capacity to love is infinite.