Maybe If They Taught This in the Parenting Books, I’d Buy One

Her pumped up kicks

When you become a mother, there are skills you’re expected to bring with you. How to keep a baby fed, dry, comforted.

You need to know how to hand over your heart without giving short shrift to the other important people in your life.

And then there’s the day you realize it’s not enough. It’s days like the one I had Saturday, as I sat with a brand new set of winter boots in my hand, purchased Friday in a fabulous Black Friday sale.

On Friday, they were the boots that made my daughter smother me with kisses. On Saturday, they were the boots that sent her into hysterics as the new puppy tore the laces to shreds.

They were the boots that left me sitting on the corner of the couch with a pair of tweezers, a clamp, and the lighter we use for the grill as I tried to solder back together the “cool” sparkly laces that made these boots “the ones.”

These are the parenting skills no one tells you that you will need.

  • The ability to work through the searing pain of having burned the delicate pad of your thumb so that your child might stop crying (and you won’t have to shell out $30 for the no longer on sale “cool” boots of the season).
  • The ability to thread a straw through the top of a juice pack (not the juice box – trick to that one is entirely different) without poking through to the other side.
  • The knowledge of how much bubble bath is “just enough.”
  • The appropriate proportions for peanut butter and jelly.
  • The “right” kind of bread to buy and how, precisely, to slice it into triangles.
  • The trick to getting them to eat pepperoni pizza (in our house it’s calling it “salami pizza”).
  • How to hide the onions in the sauce for the macaroni and cheese so she will eat it but it still tastes good to adults.

Maybe if the parenting books taught us any of that, we’d finally have a parenting book worth buying.

But then, it’s nice feeling like you and only you know how to be your kid’s hero. Even if your thumb is still aching days later.

What would you add to the list? 

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  1. There was also a great babysitter, a guy I went to school with who watched my sisters, who at one point had to repair my one sister's (who was 9) Cabbage Patch doll who's head cracked against a support beam while the baby sister (who was 8) was holding it. He taped it up, wrapped like a mummy's head, and covered with bandaids to make the elder happy. This is semi-comparable. Awesome fix up both times.

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