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34 Months Ago, I Would've Laughed

How many times have you been out and about and witnessed another family doing something with their children that made you think to yourself, "How could they do that? I would never!"

Well, here's the progress report on some parenting tactics that, if you had told me 34 months ago I would be doing, I would have laughed:

From a tiny taste of ice cream to one or two cheese crackers

While Christmas shopping two years ago, my husband and I looked on in shock as a mother of two gave her baby a lick of ice cream!

That, of course, was before I had my second son, Justin, who so desperately wants to eat anything and everything, you can't help but feel guilty about not sharing with him.

So, I learned that a lick of ice cream here and there doesn't hurt a baby. (At least I'm not plopping him down in front of the TV with an entire carton...)

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Thirty-five-plus months ago, I would have chuckled if I saw a child out in public in full costume, or wearing only various pieces of one, and it wasn't Halloween — or even the month of October. That, of course, was before I had children, or at least children who could talk back.

Power Rangers are fashionable year-round.

When Lucas waged a recent weeklong campaign, incessantly harassing me for a red Power Ranger costume, I finally broke down and ordered him one.

We agreed that he could wear the cape out of the house, but thankfully, so far, he's only asked for the mask.

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When Lucas was born, Husband and I agreed that he would not watch TV until he was 2 years old. If we wanted to watch, we would turn Lucas so his back was to the set. I made an exception when he was 10 months old in order to show him baby sign language videos. While his close friends were getting acquainted with Noggin for up to an hour, Lucas was allowed one 25-minute instructional video a day.

Then Justin came along. Husband and I, in theory, agreed that Justin would also watch no TV until age 2. But that was before I knew what life was like with two children, one of whom is a toddler who loves his allotted TV time.

And so, at a mere 10 months, Justin is intimately familiar with Franklin, Little Bear, and Caillou, not to mention baby sign language.

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I had often heard and read about parents becoming stressed out because they had failed to institute good bedtime habits from the start. Not going to be a problem here! As an infant, Lucas was a fabulous sleeper and we followed a perfect bedtime routine. But that was before he turned 2 and transitioned into his big boy bed, with room for Husband AND me to lie down with him. We quickly learned that lying in bed in the evening with Lucas was one of our favorite family activities. We would talk about the day, tell fabulously outrageous stories, giggle, and snuggle.

Lucas, Daddy, and Justin all enjoy a good bedtime story — well, maybe not Justin

But now, one year later, we are still lying down with Lucas — and must stay there until he falls asleep.

I am sure as Justin and Lucas continue to grow up, there will be many more "I would never!" situations that suddenly won't seem so bad.

Lesson learned: Never say "never"!