The ABC’s of Parenting Small Children

If you look in the children’s section of the library, you’re likely to find a number of “ABC’s of” books on myriad topics.  If this post were a book, I would probably include it in the adult non-fiction section.  I don’t think the kids would appreciate it very much.  But maybe they would.

I was tempted to make this an ABC’s of things to do with little kids and diapers, since so much of my time is spent thinking about diapers and their contents (see my “B is for”), but, much to your relief, I’m sure, I decided to go with the ABC’s of parenting small children in general.  

A is for Advice.  Everyone has their opinions and theories, and will probably share them with you.  Smile and nod, take what works for you and discard the rest (see, that was unsolicited advice right there!).

B is for Bowel Movements.  I never thought I would be paying so much attention to these, but they are IMPORTANT.  Too frequent, too infrequent, consistency, timing, and so on.  I think about them all the time.

C is for Crayons.  Coloring is a fantastic activity.  It helps develop fine motor skills, fosters creativity, is a great indoor activity.  And yes, provides the opportunity for ingestion of wax and paper.  I take my eye off them for half a minute, and I hear the baby saying “Yummy!”  What’s yummy?  The green crayon, apparently.  Ew.

D is for Diapers.  I change these all the time.  Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it takes some strategizing, sometimes it’s totally gross, sometimes it’s mercifully non-stinky.  Whatever the experience, I’m perpetually in a state of pre-, post- or smack dab in the middle of a diaper change.

E is for Eating.  Sometimes Little Man can go for disturbingly long stretches without eating anything substantial.  I’m not sure how he does it, but somehow he’s survived.  Thankfully, his brother picks up much of the slack, so I don’t feel like too much of a failure in this area of motherhood.

F is for Fingerprints.  Sticky, gooey ones.  All over everything.  Always.

G is for Green Foods.  I wish I could get my kids to eat more of these.  Honestly, I kind of stopped trying to openly feed them green veggies.  Too many smashed peas on the table (and carpet) for my liking.  However, I still plan on pureeing broccoli and including it in muffins or other baked goods.  Mwahahahaha.

H is for Hugs.  Sometimes, when my kids ask me for something, I tell them that if they want it, they have to give me a hug first.  I just can’t resist having more opportunities to squeeze those cute little guys.

I is for Independence.  This could also be for “I can do it!”  They may be under 3 feet tall, but they can do it on their own!  And I should let them.  Unless it’s dangerous, of course.  Duh.

J is for Jumping.  Usually on beds, though Little Man has discovered that if he climbs into his brother’s crib and holds onto the rail while jumping, he can get incredible height.  Disassembled couches are also good for jumping, and so is the floor, in a pinch.

K is for Kisses.  Sloppy toddler kisses, magical Mommy kisses (the ones that cure boo-boos), sweet sibling kisses.  Those are the moments that make all the frustrations seem completely irrelevant.

L is for Leftovers.  A/k/a what I eat for lunch and dinner, and sometimes breakfast.  I am forever scrounging the leftovers off my kids’ plates.

M is for Mommy!  Mommy!  Mommymommymommy!  It’s either painfully endearing or painfully aggravating.  Rarely in between.

N is for No.  Even though we made an effort to avoid using this word around Little Man, it was still one of the first words he learned.  Same with Really Little Man (though by then, we didn’t even try to avoid it).  It’s just so easy and satisfying to say – can we blame them for using it all the time?  No, no we can’t.

O is for Overwhelmed.  Little children are very demanding – physically, strategically, emotionally.  Many of my friends who are parenting small children have expressed feeling that they are at their wits’ end sometimes.  Good thing the hugs and kisses really do make up for a lot of it.

P is for Pacifiers.  It better be the right kind of pacifier, or wailing will ensue.  Also, make sure it’s the right number of pacifiers (for Really Little Man, he’ll take 2 for nap time and night time).  They can be called all sorts of things.  Little Man called his “fier.”  Really Little Man calls his “Papayoor.”  It’s adorable.

Q is for Quarreling.  Two boys, twenty months apart.  Enough said.

R is for Repeating.  They will repeat everything you say.  Especially those things you didn’t mean to say in front of them.  Little parrots, they are.

S is for Sippy Cups.  No matter how much I clean these things, they always end up scummy and gross.  I started getting the throw-away ones.  I can use them until they are nasty, and then not feel as much guilt for tossing them.  Well, as much financial guilt.  I’m sure it’s still not great for the environment.  That and all those diapers.  Sorry, earth.

T is for Toilet Training.  It’s not happening in this house yet.  Little Man is SO not interested.  But it looms on the horizon.  Looms.

U is for Umbrella Strollers.  Great for getting around in a pinch.  I love having a cheap-o one in the trunk that I can whip out if need be.  Of course, we occasionally have disputes over who gets to ride in it.  I vote for Mommy.  When do I get to sit in the stroller and be pushed around?   Don’t answer that.

V is for Vaccines.  Even though my husband was able to come to a number of our kids’ well-child visits, he always managed to evade being around for the giving-of-the-shots.  Sneaky.

W is for Wipes.  Usually used on those cute little bottoms, but also very handy for sticky finger, faces and other surfaces.  While I may be a fan, the kids usually aren’t.  Oh well.

X is for X-rays.  We tried once to get Little Man to cooperate for an x-ray.  Tried, and failed.  Miserably.  In retrospect, we totally did not prep him even remotely adequately for the understandably terrifying experience.  Our bad.  Now I’m just hoping he won’t actually need one.  Ever.

Y is for Yucky.  I don’t think I really need to elaborate on this one.  Parenting can be really yucky.  On so many levels.

Z is for Zzzzzzs.  Depending on the kid, these could be but a distant memory.  I certainly have a heightened appreciation for getting a good night’s sleep.

What are some of your Parenting ABC’s?  

25 thoughts on “The ABC’s of Parenting Small Children

  1. So cute!!! Also sippy cup tip: if they get gross all around the “sippy”spout or the insert that I like to call a “sippy” (confused yet?) use a q-tip to get all the grossness out and it’s clean as new :) Takes about 5 seconds as opposed to the 10 mins I tried cleaning it was various sponges, dishrags and other dishy contraptions.

    Or… by a dishwasher. hehu

    1. Ooo – q-tips sound very effective. I’ve used toothpicks, but they just seem to move some of the gunk around. What *is* that stuff? Where does it come from?

  2. Really great post, where were you when I had little kids and needed this? Probably with your own little sippy cup…

    I’ve forwarded this on to my daughter-in-law who has two little men of her own, and also to my daughter, who’s expecting her own little man at the moment.

    1. Haha, I probably was with my own zippy cup. I hope your daughter-in-law enjoys it, and b’sha’ah tovah for your daughter! So exciting!!

  3. I’ve missed you Rivki! This is great. FWIW, I consider toilet training (or “potty training” as they call it here) one of my least favorite stages of parenting. And i have 3 teens.

      1. Btw that wasn’t intended to scare you (hated when people did that to me) but rather to say, take heart, a mountain is before you, but it’s easier after that!

  4. I am not a parent of small children, but my sister is about to have one, and they live across the street, so I’ll keep these in mind. =)

  5. Wow, you have articulated my feelings exactly. I also have two boys 20 months apart. Good luck to us!!

  6. Brilliant and so incredibly cute :)
    Aren’t sloppy toddler/magical mummy kisses wonderful when you think your head is going to pop off after toddler has done something naughty? So hard to be mad. I’m such a sucker… ;)

  7. This was the best/nicest/funniest post I’ve ever read about parenting. Thanks for the hearty laughter.

    1. So glad this post hit the spot! And yes, be glad you don’t have to wean off the paci. Those things are addictive. All those endorphins that are released when they’re sucking them…

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