Since I have been looking back at pictures some things the kids have taught me over the years have come to mind.
1. Never wash a kid covered in flour, because flour + water in hair equals Paper Mache , and a Paper Mache kid is not normally something you want.
2. If the kid or kids get really quiet, usually when you are in the bathroom, find them quick because something's in life are guarantees.One is that your children will always need you when you are in the bathroom. They could be playing nicely together or by themselves but as soon as you go to the bathroom the world is ending and they " NEED" you. So if for any reason they actually let you go alone, or maybe even get a shower, guarantee number two is happening they are into something or thinking of getting into something.
3. Know the way to the ER, drive it a few times, because when you really need to get there you will not be thinking about how to get there. You will be yelling at the kids in the back to keep pressure on it, or hold it still.
4. Nose and Ears for some reason kids love to stick things that do not belong in them into them. The nose is easier, the best way to get something out is to place your mouth over theirs and press your finger against the side of the nose that doesn't have a pea, bead, vitamin, pillow stuffing in it, and blow. It should come flying out. Ears that one is usually a trip to the doctor, and since they never tell you that they put something in there, you usually find out about it at the doctor's anyway. When you take them in for a check up and the doctor insists that your child has lost one of the tubes in his ear, and you have to insist that your child has never had tubes, and he shows you and you have to tell the doctor that looks like a perler bead.
5. It is OK to ban things from your home, your children will still grow up to be decent human beings with out perler bead crafts ( see number 4 ) , glitter, Brat dolls, gum ( for a period of time ), trampolines and anything else that you really just don't want to deal with.
6. In the summer keep a pair of shoes, clean shirt for each kid and diaper wipes in the van, because that trip to the ER is almost always going to happen just before dinner when they are the dirtiest and have no shoes on. And it's handy to have when you have a child that for some reason had two shoes when they left the house but only one when you get to the store.
7. Make rules that make sense to your home, like here we never throw or kick to third base ( see number 8 about windows), we only throw nerf balls in the upstairs hallway ( sometimes it's easier to give in a bit then to always say no)
8. Don't sweat the small stuff, correct them , teach them, ground them. But in the end paint will cover the names written on the walls, the pictures drawn, and even the red painted handprints (Blue's Clues anyone). Drywall can be patched, and windows replaced, and hair grows back.
9. Listen to them, there will be days they will have nothing to say and others when all they want to do is talk. Listen to them when they are young and they will still want to talk to you when they are teens. Mind you that there are days during the why stage when you might wish to leave it all and be a hermit, and times when they are teens that you wonder if you really needed to know that.
10. Give them hugs, when they are sweet little guys, when they are smelly teens, and if they don't come and hug you once a day go looking for them and give them a hug. I find it great that when I am in the high school and pass one of my teens in the hallway they will break away from their friends and give me a hug right there. Some kids may not like hugs, so even just sitting close is a good thing.
11. When you look out the door and count the number of teens that it looks like you will be feeding dinner to don't panic make more rice, potatoes or even an extra veggie or two. Just cut the meat pieces a little smaller.
12. Teach them to read, have them see you spend time reading, have books handy, read out loud to them, go to the library, read the same books your teens do so that you can discuss them. Find a " family" book, one that you read to all of them at that stage of life. For us that has been Dr.Suess for the non readers, Owl at Home and Father Bear for the early readers, and a favorite read aloud book has been Mother West Wind.
13. Lice happens to us all and the more children you have, and the more sports they play the higher the chance that some day you will get that call from the nurse. That makes your head itch, gives you an instant headache, and increases your house work. Grab some chocolate, a diet coke, the meds from the store and a movie that the kid likes. It's going to be a long night but your not alone.
Just a few if the things I don't want to forget, I am sure I will have more to add.