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Anything you wish you had known?


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knowing what I know now that I wish I'd had paid more attention my jr & sr years in HS. My life at least financially would be allot better off then it is. Kinda let those (epically my jr year) years go in my life....



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I had 10 nieces and nephews ranging from 3 to 14 when my first was born. I got most of my reality checks long before my first was born.



I already knew it, but it's important for a lot of new parents to realize: Don't get hung up on having to have everything new for your first child (or any child). Hand me downs, consignment, goodwill, yard sales will save you a ton of money, especially in the early years when children outgrow their clothing after wearing something once or twice. Most of the clothing will be like new until you hit the 4T range. Let family and friends give you clothign as gifts if you want new. Or if you see something wicked cute. Otherwise, rely on friends and family to pass on clothing, or look at other places to find used clothes. Kids cost an arm and a leg and then some, especially if you use formula. Save your money wherever you can.


Craig's list is a great resource for baby gear - swings, strollers, etc.


That being said, buy a new car seat. In fact, buy two. It helps if you are a two car family because then you don't have to worry about swapping out, and if the inevitable barf in the car happens, you have the other car seat ready as backup. We found how unbelievably useful this was because the padding can't go in the dryer and takes a day or two to dry thoroughly. Also, if you are using one of the stroller front facing car seats, get a base for each car in the house, and one for grandma.


If you can afford it, buy a lifetime crib. They convert from crib, to toddler bed, to full size bed, and you will never need to buy anything other than mattresses and linens (and crib/toddler bed is the same size). They cost more up front than a crib, but if you cost out the three bed frames, you save money in the long run.


We found this out after the second baby, fortunately for the first we got an inlaw's old pump. If you plan to breast feed and will have to work, and thus pump breast milk, a lot of insurance plans will cover the cost of a breast pump. Talk to your Ob/Gyn and Pediatrician. There is a very specific script that you have to follow with the medical supply company in order for the insurance to cover it. They will usually refer you to a place they work with that will also prompt you as you go. Good breast pumps are REALLY expensive.



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Some that come to mind:

  • You probably won't really understand how your life changes, but that's okay. In fact, it's probably better that way.
  • Two or three car seats (one for grandparents?) or at least a base for each car really helps.
  • I wish that I had discovered the "patented magic daddy jiggle" 6 months before I did. Was near 90% reliable in getting Nathan to go to sleep once I did.
  • Probably idiosyncratic, but it was near miraculous once I discovered that if I let Nathan sleep on my chest rather than in his crib for naps, his nap time went from 30-45 min to 2 hrs. And he was much less cranky.
  • Wasn't around when we needed it, but one of my coworkers found out that Amazon will send you diapers in bulk *AND* give you Amazon Prime to boot (Amazon Mom program).
  • There won't be a big flashing neon sign that says "THIS IS THE LAST TIME" for some shared activity (like playing horsey, some favorite made up game, etc). But, at some point, it'll dawn upon you that you don't play/do XXX anymore, and you'll miss it. So enjoy what you have when you can.
  • A wet palette works wonders for interruptions.



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Not a parent myself, but being the oldest of five [with a 28-year-spread between us...yikes!] has taught me a few things.


- Eventually, they will hit the rebellious stage. This is nothing personal. They still love you, you're still important to them. When they hit this stage, it means they don't want to be seen as a kid anymore, but don't know how to not be seen as a kid, and the first instinct is to cut off everything they did as a kid. If you can recognize that it's time and foster that transition, you'll save yourself a lot of headaches, grief, and a few years of wondering why they don't like you anymore.


- If you go along with the above but the actual parent(s) do(es)n't, prepare for one mother of a feud...I speak from experience here, treating my sister as an adult long before mom did. At best, they'll be jealous that they're not the central figure to the kid's life. At worst, they'll hate your guts.


- The worst thing you can do for a child's future is assume they're helpless or stupid just because they're young. Inexperienced, yes, stupid, no. The difference between 'No, you're too little to do that, go do something else' and finding creative but less/not dangerous ways to be involved is the difference between someone that will shy away from new challenges or take them head-on. Every potential "you can't" is a potential to teach.


- I'm forever thankful to my father for the above. Early on, he never gave me a blanket 'no, because I say so that's why' due to danger. He took the time to explain why. 'The stove might still be hot even if it's not glowing. *He holds my 4-year-old hand over a recently-off, but dark, burner* Don't touch it until you know for sure it's not hot', for example. Because of it, by age 6 I was able [and trusted] to do simple cooking, built models with an hobby knife, and grew up to be unafraid of learning by doing.


- The best thing you can do for a child's discipline is to be consistent. A child's job is to test their boundaries. A parent's job is to make sure they stay intact.


- Likewise, a toddler's job is to try and get themselves killed exploring their world. A parent's job is to make sure they fail at this task (without denying exploration).


- Cuts, scrapes, bruises, sickness, and tears are inevitable...and as much as it might hurt to admit, a good thing. I'm not saying to let your toddlers play Hansel & Gretel or eat piles of poo, but as much as we want to we can't put our children in an impervious little bubble. Not only is it impossible, but it's very, very bad for them. Being sheltered hampers their adult lives. Getting sick builds a hardy immune system. Eating (ultimately harmless) things they shouldn't builds a hardy digestive tract. Cuts, scrapes, and bruises hone the body's injury responses. Forcing a kid to live in a bubble, soaking the toys in bleach twice a day, etc, it's a one-two punch against humanity. "Kills 99% of germs" means 1% of germs survive...and the more times you wipe out the 99% of the weak ones, the more you're accelerating the creation of 'superbugs'. It's simple evolution...we're trying to commit genocide against them, they're trying to survive by adapting to what we throw at them. So the bugs get stronger...but since we're not exposed to them, we're not building defenses to fight back when we do eventually get sick.

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You need less than half of what Babies 'R Us will try to convince you is a necessity.


Cloth diaper services are pricey, but totally worth it.


If you're nursing, take advantage of the lactation consultant at the hospital.


Teething Tablets are awesome. Orajel ends up all over the baby's face and your hand.


Dr. Brown's bottles are the BEST!!


You can never have too many onesies.

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Grandparents are awesome...or at least the kids will think so. Do you remember how strict they were with you? Well, to quote Bill Cosby, they're now old and want to get into heaven. They will spoil the grandkids rotten given half a chance, and if you ever let the kids visit Grandma, they will be fed sugary sweets to make them hyper, have been given toys that make lots of noise or a mess in the carpets, and will have been told at least a dozen stories about really goofy things you did when you were a kid living at home.


THAT is how the "Moms' Curse" works.

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Have grandchildren first - they're lots more fun! ;-) And the Mom's Curse really works - my eldest offspring who was definitely Miss Melodrama of the 1980's has a drama queen of her own in her middle son.


But on the more realistic side:


Your life will change in ways you never thought possible, and there really isn't any way to understand that until it happens.


Young children aren't stupid, they just lack the knowledge and vocabulary to communicate what's going on in their heads. Treat your child like a foreign dignitary with limited English skills. "I'm sorry, I don't understand what you are trying to tell me. Can you say that again?" Said daughter above has had great success with teaching her boys baby sign language when they were less than a year old - made communication for simple things much easier.


Don't wish their infancy and babyhood away. I spent a lot of time with my girls saying, "Oh, I can't wait until she's (fill in the blank - sleeps through the night, walking, talking, etc.)" They grow and change so fast - you blink and they aren't babies any more. When I had my son, I spent more time savoring his babyhood, and just enjoying him at whatever stage he was in.


Raise your children to be independent. Let them start making choices early on - do you want to wear the red shirt or the blue shirt today? Do you want eggs or cereal for breakfast? And when they say, "I want to live with you and Daddy forever," you say back, "That's nice, sweetie, and I really appreciate that. But someday you will be a grownup and want to get married and have a family, and want to live in a house of your own."


But the three most important things to remember about kids: you can't make them eat, you can't make them sleep, and you can't make them go to the bathroom.

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Don't talk down to your kids. They will learn to speak how you speak to them. Everyone always marvels at our boys' vocabularies at such a young age. We simply talk to them like we talk to each other.


Don't give in to their fussiness when they don't want to try a new food. They eat it, or go hungry. One night without much to eat won't hurt them in the slightest and next time they'll know you mean it. My wife's favorite saying when one of the kids turns his nose up at what we're having for supper, "Daddy isn't a short order cook." Neither of our boys are fussy eaters now.

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our rule on new foods is that they have to have one bite, then if they don't like it, they don't have to eat it - we generally make sure that there is plenty of everything else going on the plate so that if they don't like something, there's still plenty to eat.

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