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10 Parenting Skills I Haven't Figured Out

1. How to decide when he's too sick for preschool? No fever, but a runny nose? A green runny nose? A cough? A persistent cough? Because otherwise he seems just fine to me. By which I mean: JUST AS WILD.

2. How to convince the two-year-old that the potty is her friend. She's doing awesome on the Number One front. We haven't had an accident all week. M&Ms and big puffy talk about Big Girls was enough to make that happen, but Number Two is an anxiety-filled event reserved for the Pull Up at nap time. Not wanting to shell out for therapy, I've let this go for what at least FEELS like a long time. Then today I attempted to explain a reward chart and discussed the doll aisle at Target in exquisite detail. But I don't think she got it and it seems like the best thing to do is just, well, keep waiting. 

3. How to respond when my kids say, "I miss Daddy when he's at work." Especially when he took an airplane to work on Monday and won't come back until Friday. 

4. How to give Third Baby a morning nap when the other two have staggered morning preschool classes. You're thinking it's a bit early to worry about this one. I suppose you're right.

5. How to not eat my kids' leftovers. I've figured out the picky eater thing: don't let it bother me! No problem there (not anymore). But picky eating = leftovers, and not yucky leftovers either. What kind of kids don't eat their French toast (with syrup!) (and powdered sugar!) in the mornings? MINE. Guess who eats it ALL? I think if I could just stop eating their leftover toast and PBJs and noodles with butter and parmesan, I'd lose an instant 10 pounds. 

6. How to keep my kids in shoes that fit. They have normal-sized feet that seem to grow at an average rate, but I am NEVER on top of when they need new shoes. They always seem fine! And the kids don't complain! But inevitably one of my friends or relatives will make some comment about "those shoes look so tight!" and I'm flummoxed all over again. Then I take them to the shoe store, and when I have their feet measured, it's always a size that seems enormous, maybe even two sizes above what they're currently wearing. Then again, sometimes I can stick multiple fingers in between the new shoe and the foot. THAT can't be right. Shoes are SO confounding. Between shoes and their growing collections of too-short pants and too-short long-sleeved t-shirts, my kids need a stylist AND a personal shopper. 

7. How to make friends with the other preschool moms. It would be nice to have this one figured out by now, seeing as how we're going to our first Preschool Friend Birthday Party on Friday. Gulp.

8. How to curb/limit/ration/dole out time in front of a screen. And I'm not even talking about the TV. Jack has had his own computer for a long time now (my old laptop) and now Molly is beginning to feel left out. All the computers in our house are equipped with preschool games and Jack even has a special keyboard attachment. Oh, and the smart phones are distributed for practically every reason, from staying in bed an extra ten minutes to stopping the whining in a grocery store. Part of me is super okay with this - I mean, their dad is an IT Guy and their mom is a Blogger, for heaven's sake. It's in their DNA. And one day I'll need them to program my tabletop surface computer! On the other hand... is this our version of afternoons spent in front of Super Mario Brothers? You can see why I might be reluctant to think so. 

9. How to get them to say "May I please have _________." It's imperative that I figure this out soon, because if I hear "I needa dwink of WATAH!" in an I Am The Prince Of The Entire Universe voice one more time, I'm shipping him to Outer Mongolia. 

10. How to keep a baby book. This is a little late, I know. I did well for a while. I saved their hospital mementoes and filled in all the blanks and wrote a few cute sayings in the margins. But I can't remember the last time I wrote in either book. Oh the shame! I have no idea how my own mother managed to fill FIVE baby books with bajillions of anecdotes, pictures, and stats. The best I can come up with is: she didn't have a blog. Will my kids accept a stack of printed out pages? 

What would YOU like to figure out?