Every new endeavor has its own batch of unknowns, "gotcha" bits of information that only the group members know. Parenting, it seems, has a whole host of these things.
All these have become part of my compendium of parenting insider knowledge:
- If pregnant and ill, expect suggestions of ginger root, B vitamins, peppermint tea, prescription drugs, and perfected diet plans. If they work for you, great, but focus on finding what works for you--I would recommend standing over the sink instead of the toilet: less kneeling/rising and potential use of the garbage disposal to boot!
- If nursing, you will not regret purchasing a breast pump. Period.
- With each kid you will be paranoid you'll screw this one up and They will revoke your parenting license. Every child takes time to know, and as the parent, you'll know them best the soonest. Give yourself grace and time to get to know them. Having a person inside your body for 9 months does not (unfortunately) give you immediate and complete knowledge.
- Buy multiples of the kid's special blanket/toy/security item. If you only have one, it will quickly become filthy (you'll never get it away long enough to wash it) and losing it is a catastrophe in the making.
- Even if the child is no longer napping, having them spend 30-60 minutes in "alone time" (not punishment; play time by themselves) during the day can be a sanity-saver for you and teach them the valuable skill of being able to amuse themselves.
- Potty training happens when it happens. If the kid is 18 mo and ready, great; if (s)he is 4 and only just starting to be interested, push off the perceived disapproval and go with the kid's timetable. After upwards of five attempts over the course of a year and a half that didn't work (with a LOT of accompanying frustration), it finally happened.
- Used clothing places are great places to find clothing items for kids, who always outgrow things quickly. I highly recommend using Resale Shopping as a starting point.
- Caveat to the above: it is unlikely in the extreme that you will find used clothing (pants in particular) for preschool and elementary school-age boys. They're hard enough on their clothing that it doesn't survive more than one kid. Either make it yourself (and make it to last) or buy several cheap items that you know will wear out.
- Teaching your kids that next developmental step is a two-edged sword. If they know how to walk before 12 months, you'll be chasing them a lot longer. If they know how to read, it's that much earlier you have to be sneaky about what you're reading/writing/consuming in hopes they won't recognize the label.