Monday, May 30, 2016

Why You Are Different and Everything Else Is the Same After Baby #4

If you have a big family or are just morbidly curious about people who do, you're going to love Crystal from So-So Mom. As the mom of  seven, she knows what she's talking about, and her guest post today about having a large family is hilariously accurate, in every way.

Have you ever heard the saying "Once you have four, you might as well have more?" I'm a firm believer that it's true.

For me, having a first, second, and third child were all unique events with different accompanying challenges that changed me in a variety of ways. After that, the fourth through seventh babies came along with relatively little fanfare.

I got to wondering why and here's what I came up with to explain why I became such a different mom after number four and everything stayed the same from there on out.

Why You Are Different and Everything Else Is the Same After Baby #4 -- Ever heard the saying "Once you have 4, you might as well have more?" Well, I'm a believer, and here's why.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

You Are Different Because:


You no longer equate your child's natural development with your personal success. You've experienced wildly differing paces at which your first few children learned to crawl, walk, talk, and defecate in the appropriate place. You are now fully aware that your hard work in these areas is completely irrelevant to the child's mastery of them. This realization has helped you triumph over massive amounts of mommy-guilt if they did not do these things according to the milestone charts or massive amounts of hubris if your eldest was 'advanced.'

You now realize that some kids are drastically more difficult than others. Odds are that your discipline style has produced at least one calm, quiet angel and at least one tantrum-throwing maniac by number four. When your kid misbehaves in public, you can confidently look a disapproving stranger in the eye and say, "It's not me, it's him! I have seen what I'm doing here turn out very well in the past." This has helped you overcome worrying about what other people think and blaming yourself for your child's every flaw. You also no longer believe that the woman who is raising the child that hit yours at playgroup a few years back is the worst mother on Earth.

You've witnessed anecdotal evidence refuting scientific study after scientific study on a myriad of parenting issues. Maybe the child who watched the least TV has the most difficulty with attention issues or that breastfed baby has a ridiculous number of ear infections compared to the bottle-fed one. And everyone has seen that stuffing a baby with fruits and veggies for two years does not make them immune from preferring junk food from the moment they get the first taste. This has given you more confidence to just raise your kids the way you want and not fret about what is supposedly best for them according to science at the moment.

You have seen a number of monumental concerns turn out perfectly fine. That horribly naughty preschooler did not end up in military school and you would truly enjoy just one moment of silence from that very late-talker turned tween. Your brain is busy with the new big kid issues that are coming up as the older children grow, so dealing with the little kid stuff feels comfortable and easy — comparatively. For example, you know that the two-year-old ought to be saying more words by now, but it is pretty low on the list of concerns most days when you have two teens headed off to prom for the first time. This has helped you not sweat the small stuff, the medium stuff, or even the big stuff, just the 'new territory' stuff.

Everything Is the Same Because:


The older children begin to notice a pattern. A new baby is no longer a monumental, rare event in their eyes. It's just something that happens every couple of years, like the Olympics. Once a baby turns two, you will likely hear, "So, when are we getting a new baby? This one is getting old."

Your idea of 'good mothering' no longer changes. Your standards gradually decline with each of the first three children. After the fourth child, your standards flatline for subsequent children. There is simply nowhere else to go.

Your older children are now in school which creates a monotonous routine. You have no choice but to fit a new baby into that routine, rather than alter the routine for the new baby. The arrival of a number five or six has a negligible impact on your daily life compared to the tumultuous events surrounding the births of your first, second, or third child.

They wear and use all the same stuff. You have most likely experienced at least one child of each gender by the time you get to number four, so you have hand-me-downs at the ready for either gender and little money available to get new things.

The years begin to bleed together in your mind. It is easy to remember specifics about two or three children, but once there are more, stories you tell about your kids have lost their individuality. You no longer specify a name and just begin with, "One of mine,..." because you aren't 100% sure which one the story is about.


If this post has convinced you that you should go ahead and just have ten kids now, I must warn you 'everything' was an overstatement.

Two things keep changing like the size of a snowball rolling down a hill: laundry and expenses. These two items seem to increase exponentially each time a new baby is added to the family!

About the Author:
Crystal Foose mothers seven kids, ranging in age from 2-17, and lives out in the middle of nowhere Colorado. She is a conservative Christian who aims to hone the craft of giving advice without pretending to have this whole mom thing figured out on her blog So-So Mom. She can also be found on her So-So Mom Facebook page.

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Friday, May 27, 2016

7 Quick Takes about Questionable Google Searches, What to Call Your Tiger, and Why I'm Not on Instagram

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?

1


What's your favorite piece of baby gear? You know, the thing you discovered and were like, "How could anyone ever have a baby without this?"

For us, it just may be the baby straightjacket.

I learned from Google that it's actually called a swaddler (and in retrospect it may not have been a great idea to Google "baby straightjacket" because it makes my search history look so incriminating).

It's got these great Velcro tabs to keep the swaddle nice and tight. My baby's arms just freak him out too much.

2


A friend dropped off a gift for the baby, and how cute is this little guy?

7 Quick Takes about Questionable Google Searches, What to Call Your Tiger, and Why I'm Not on Instagram  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

The 2-year-old immediately started carrying him around and calling him "Belcome" (rhymes with "welcome") for some reason, and the name stuck.

In fact, I just overheard one of the older kids asking, "Hey, where's Belcome?"

I'm excited about this because my children have always been so matter-of-fact when naming their stuffed animals. Every single one of them is called "Color + Species." For example, say hello to one of our oldest and most well-loved stuffed animals, Pink Bear:

Pink Bear: first in a very long line of the most boringly-named stuffed animals ever.

"Belcome" could be the beginning of something.

3


Sometimes there are events in the life of a mom of 6 kids that are almost too weird to believe. For two hours on Wednesday evening, I was completely alone.

Usually in order to get some of this fabled "me time," I have to consult my almanac for the alignment of no less than 3 planets and schedule everything a month in advance.

But this time it happened completely spontaneously.

One of our kids is on a school trip, one was at art class, and Phillip drove one to soccer practice and took the other two to play at the playground next to the soccer field. I was left at home with just the baby, and he was asleep!

I literally did not know what to do with myself. I may have eaten a bunch of Reddi-wip straight out of the can. There was no right and wrong in that moment.

4


This past Sunday was my birthday, but honestly it's been so crazy around here with having a baby and visitors and Phillip getting a new job and the usual end-of-school madness that I don't think any of us remembered until the night before.

Actually, I know we didn't because Phillip looked absolutely horrified when I realized and announced at 9 PM on Saturday night that tomorrow was my birthday.

"I'm sorry I forgot," he said.

I shrugged. "That's okay, I forgot yours."

"Yeah, but I needed that!"

(For how that happened and Phillip's prophetic statement about it, see Take #3 here.)

So I think he's a little sad that he gave up his Get Out of Jail Free card so soon, but it wasn't like he totally blew it. We've been into desserts in a mug lately so he made me a personal-sized birthday cake and all was forgiven.

5


My birthday treat (see previous take) was delicious but when I went to take a picture it turned out looking awful.

7 Quick Takes about Questionable Google Searches, What to Call Your Tiger, and Why I'm Not on Instagram  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

When I expressed my frustration, Phillip pointed out that real food bloggers take an hour setting up the shoot, plus they wait for the perfect lighting and use a $1,500 camera.

As opposed to what we were doing, which was trying to snap a quick shot while nursing the baby on the couch after the kids' bedtime with a point-and-shoot camera that was a lightning deal on Amazon 5 years ago.

Makes sense, I guess.

6


In other bad food photography news this week, please meet acorn squash feta cheese casserole.

7 Quick Takes about Questionable Google Searches, What to Call Your Tiger, and Why I'm Not on Instagram  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Try to contain your enthusiasm.

You're right, it does look like fake plastic vomit. It looked even more like it before I smoothed it out in the casserole dish.

Unfortunately, I couldn't blame these pictures on poor lighting. It really did look like puke, and only tasted slightly better than it looked.

7


Question of the week from my 10-year-old: Why do they have commercials for car dealerships on the radio? You're probably listening to it in the car, which means you already have one.

Never thought about that before, but the child has a point.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

How To Survive a Road Trip with Kids

This post contains affiliate links. If you buy anything through one of these links, the price stays the same to you but I get a small commission.

Summertime is approaching, and usually for our family, summer means at least one road trip.

With the closest grandparent living 1,400 miles away and not wanting to regularly purchase a billion dollars' worth of airline tickets for our family of 8, we've become unofficial experts at packing our van with kids, luggage, and noise and driving for days.

For the most part, these are good memories. You just need a lot of car activities to keep the kids from attacking each other or turning feral. Here are our favorites.

How to Survive a Road Trip with Kids -- All of the best car trip activities for kids, from a family of 8 who does it every summer. This is a must-read if you're considering a road trip this summer.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Best Books for Kids on Road Trips


For our kids who are voracious readers, finding books to keep them occupied isn't hard. We can throw any old novel back at their seats and not hear a peep from them for hours. But our younger kids who can't yet read are harder. Some of our favorite road trip books for pre-readers are:
These are all books that don't require reading: they're just looking at pictures and searching for hidden objects. Older and younger kids can even work together if they're sitting next to each other.

What about kids who are allergic to reading? The ones who can read but get bored with it after 10 seconds? We like joke books and books of tongue twisters. The best part is the kids like reading and laughing about them with each other in the back, so we get a break up front.

Oh, and then there's this Minecraft novella series if your kid's into that (trust me, I do not want to talk about it. I can't stand Minecraft, but my kids are crazy about it.)

More Road Trip Activities for Kids


Let even the biggest bookworms read for too long, though, and you'll get some very cranky kids with headaches. And possibly vomit in the backseat of the car (don't ask me how I know that.) So you need plenty of other stuff to do. My favorites are:

  • Peel and stick foam tile mosaics. Ordinarily, I hate crafts. They're generally messy and the end result is a bulky piece of junk I'd rather throw out. But I love these things. They create no mess and keep kids busy for hours, and the finished product is a cute picture that doesn't take up much space. My all-time favorite kit is the Make Mosaic Masterpieces kit because it comes with so many pictures and you can't tell before starting what each one is going to be (so it's more of a challenge for the big kids.)

  • Mad Libs. Oh my gosh, my kids love Mad Libs. They will do them ad nauseum without getting tired of them (but after a while, we do have to invoke the "you can only say 'toilet' and 'underwear' once" rule.) Sometimes we go around the car with everyone taking turns, and sometimes two of the kids just do them quietly with each other in the back.

  • Friendship bracelet making kits. You know how said I hate crafts? Well, we dust off the unused craft kits they've gotten for their birthdays and Christmas when it's time for a road trip. Last time, the kids had fun with the Klutz friendship bracelet kit that comes with embroidery floss and instructions for making 10 different kinds of bracelets. I brought a clipboard and some tape as a working surface for each of them.

  • Dry erase activity books. There are lots of dry erase books out there depending on the ages and interests of your kid. I'm amazed at how many times our preschooler can do this book and it never gets old for her. (Even our older kids are entertained by it, at least for a while.)

  • Adult coloring books. Adult coloring books are the best thing ever invented. Just as kids start to grow out of "regular" coloring, hit them with some adult coloring books and colored pencils and they suddenly love it again. My girls like the Mandala ones, and this Harry Potter one is also a favorite.

  • Brain Quest cards. Brain Quest is a deck of cards with hundreds of age-appropriate brain teaser questions (with answers on the back) for virtually every grade level, every subject. (FYI, buy one level up to keep your kids challenged, otherwise the cards are kind of easy.) And can I just say, as a parent, that I love how the cards are stuck together with a little rivet so I'm not picking each one up off the floor after every use?

  • Magnet toys and a cookie sheet. We always bring along a cookie sheet for the younger kids because they make a convenient flat surface for coloring and the lip on the sides keeps their markers or crayons from rolling away. They're also great for magnet toys; my older ones really like this Magnetic Poetry set for kids and all of them keep occupied for a while making things with some magnetic shape tiles like these (we picked ours up at a yard sale.) 


Best Kids' Audiobooks for Road Trips


Audiobooks are the best things ever invented for long car trips, but it's hard to find something everybody will like.

Either the preschooler thinks the big kids' stories are boring, or the older kids are exasperated by listening to a "baby story." And then there's me: some of the kids' favorite audiobooks have made me want to gouge out my eyeballs with a tire pressure gauge.

We've listened to dozens and dozens of stories on CD, and the best ones to interest everyone in the car of every age, hands down, have always been anything by Roald Dahl (Fantastic Mr. Fox and The BFG have been our personal favorites.)

Nighttime Activities for Kids on Road Trips


My favorite nighttime road trip activity for kids is sleeping, but sometimes it gets dark before they're quite ready for that.

We hit the jackpot one time when we ordered this pack of 100 glow sticks. It comes with plastic connectors to make all sorts of shapes, and the kids had a blast with them. Of course they would've blown through the whole container in 5 minutes if we'd let them, but we paced them by passing back a few more pieces every once in a while.

We also being along a pack of party favor flashlights. They can do light shows on the ceiling or use them to read by in the dark. (Which will hopefully help them calm down enough to finally go to sleep.)


We've been taking family road trips for a decade now, and these are our best activity ideas for long car rides. Are you planning any road trips this summer? What's your best tip?

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Sunday, May 22, 2016

34 Things I Know for Sure

Today is my birthday: I'm 34.

34 Things I Know for Sure -- Life teaches you certain lessons in 34 years. Like never to sit down on your the toilet in your kids' bathroom without looking first.  {posted @ Unremarkable Filres}
I'm the taller one.

I've learned a lot in my 34 years, including avoiding comparing yourself to others (it's rarely productive and almost always depressing) and how to arbitrate disputes between two preschoolers over who has more (you just break their snacks into an equal number of pieces, voilรก!)

While it's not an exhaustive list, here are 34 other life truths I've discovered in the last 34 years:
  1. Don't overtweeze your eyebrows. One day, they won't come back.
  2. The longer you're married, the better it gets. There's just something magical about being able to discuss your bowel habits with someone who is still attracted to you (and vice versa.)
  3. As you get older, you start discussing things like your bowel habits.
  4. Preventative maintenance on your house and car is not a waste of time.
  5. Drink more water.
  6. The things that make you happiest (sleep, exercise, scripture reading) are often the things you try to squeeze in if there's time after you've done everything else. This is obviously backward.
  7. Never let a preschooler go in a bathroom stall alone unless you're prepared to crawl under the door and get them afterward.
  8. Kegels sound like a joke but they actually do work. 
  9. In hindsight, everything takes on a rose-colored hue. Everything seems simpler "back then."
  10. You never feel old, even when you're an age you once thought was old.
  11. It's impossible to go on Pinterest for just a minute.
  12. Working all day with your hands makes you tired and satisfied; working all day on the computer makes you tired and cranky. Do something in the real world every day.
  13. Kids are mostly oblivious to social niceties and protocol. And they don't flush.
  14. It takes a billion hours to knit a sock. And then you have to knit the other one. Only knit socks for someone you really like.
  15. Don't judge the parenting of people with kids older than yours. You have no idea.
  16. Cheap garbage bags aren't worth it.
  17. Most of the music you loved as a teenager was really terrible.
  18. Left to their own devices, kids will find a way to shower for forty-five minutes, use all the shampoo, and still not get clean.
  19. Sadly, you'll never have as much free time or money as you do in high school.
  20. Fast food really isn't that good.
  21. Kids couldn't care less about what decorations are at their birthday party.
  22. Home improvement projects take twice and long and cost three times as much as you think they will.
  23. Watching your kids play together is the most fun you'll ever have.
  24. Every marriage has hard days, months, or even years.
  25. If you can listen to an impassioned 15-minute monologue about Minecraft without running away screaming, you can do anything.
  26. Baby wipes are more useful in any situation than Swiss Army knives and duct tape combined.
  27. You'll always wonder if you're doing it 'right,' even after you realize that there's not just one 'right' way to do most things.
  28. Other kids' poop and bodily fluids are grosser than your own kid's poop and bodily fluids. They just are.
  29. No matter how organized you are, your house has a random junk drawer. And it's not big enough.
  30. Few things in life require more patience than maintaining your composure when the person you once taught to use a spoon rolls their eyes at you and acts like you know nothing.
  31. Every night after dinner, you will wash more dishes than you own and sweep up more food than you made. I don't know how this works, I only know that it happens.
  32. The trick of loving motherhood is recognizing that every stage can best be described as "too much of a good thing" and enjoying it while it lasts.
  33. Warm homemade bread tastes better than storebought bread by a factor of infinity.
  34. For the rest of my life, punk kids will be saying to me, "Woah, you were born in the 1900s??" And I'm okay with that.

Okay, your turn. You don't have to tell me how old you are, but what's something you know for sure?

34 Things I Know for Sure -- Life teaches you certain lessons in 34 years. Like never to sit down on your the toilet in your kids' bathroom without looking first.  {posted @ Unremarkable Filres}

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Friday, May 20, 2016

7 Quick Takes about Tips for CIA Operatives, Career Moves, and Things Not to Buy If You're a Nudist

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! That's the last 7 days in 7 quick takes. How was your week?

1


Over the past week, I've discovered what might be a really effective form of torture. In Phase One, you subject your victim to several successive nights of sleep deprivation.

When they're good and tired to the point of hallucinations, it's time to move on to Phase Two: making them try to line up the snaps on the sleeper of a screaming baby at 2 AM.

Repeat every night.

I swear, if my baby were doing this as a form of "enhanced interrogation," I would've cracked and told him anything he wanted to know days ago.

Unfortunately he doesn't want information, he just wants milk and to never be put down, ever.

2


We've had good days and bad days, so I really don't know what to say when someone asks "How's it going with the baby so far?"

Some days I feel fine, and other days I'm so exhausted I can feel my body shutting down all nonessential functions (vocabulary, ability to count, etc.)

I'll tell you what, though, I don't trust people who say after the third baby it's no big deal to add more. It's a deal. It is definitely at least a medium-sized deal.

3


In a turn of events that is still sort of puzzling even to us, Phillip decided to get a new job. (We like to group all our major life changes together on the calendar for maximum stress.) He signed the offer on Monday and is really excited about it. He'll even have a better commute.

The funny part is that just after he applied to this new job, he noticed that a woman on our church's email list had an address with that company. He asked if she worked there, and she replied that she did and he could call her to talk about the company if he wanted to.

Then he Googled her and it turns out she was being modest. Not only does she work there, she's the director. We had no idea.

4


Since I spend entirely too much time on the computer using a dining room table chair that can't be good for my posture, my dad and stepmom got me a proper desk chair for my upcoming birthday.

We were researching various kinds of office furniture and decided on this fine model:

7 Quick Takes about Tips for CIA Operatives, Career Moves, and Things Not to Buy If You're a Nudist {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

It got really good reviews, even from this guy:

7 Quick Takes about Tips for CIA Operatives, Career Moves, and Things Not to Buy If You're a Nudist {posted @ Unremarkable Files}


The emoji at the end of his second point really made my purchase decision for me, I think.

5


Did you know they make chocolate Twizzlers?

They don't really taste like chocolate. More like Cocoa Puffs. And then they've got the chewy Twizzler consistency.

So basically they're as natural as picking the cacao pods right off the tree. I think I'll be eating them for the health benefits, much like it's good for you to eat a square of unsweetened dark chocolate a day.

6


Our babies are always born with a lot of hair, and it's usually a little longer in the back than at the top.

At first it's not that noticeable, but eventually there always comes a day when the light hits just right and we realize the truth: our baby has a mullet.

Or, as my brother-in-law likes to call it, "business in the front, party in the back." That day has come.

7


We went on a walk and about a quarter mile from home, my daughter had a big visit from the bloody nose fairy. Normally that would be no problem, but I'd forgotten the cardinal rule of parenting (perhaps the cardinal rule of life) which is: never go anywhere without baby wipes.

I don't care if your kids have been out of diapers for a decade, you should still have a package of wipes in your purse or car. You just never know when you're going to need them.

Other than their intended purpose, how have YOU used baby wipes to save the day?

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

5 Instagram Posts You Won't See from Me

Our guest post today comes from Katy at Experienced Bad Mom, talking all about Instagram. Friends, I still thought Valencia was just another too-classy-for-me neighborhood in California, so just count your blessings that it's her telling you about this stuff and not me. 


Are you on Instagram? I admit I was pretty much dragged onto it kicking and screaming.

That said, there's a part of me that enjoys my (sporadic) posts on Instagram. Posting a picture there is somehow different than tweeting it, pinning it, or sharing it on Facebook. Plus, it's got those cool filters to play with.

There are 5 common Instagram posts that you will never see from me, though. Just a warning in case you are going to follow me (pretty please) and were really hoping for these types of photos. Nope. Nada. Never.

Indeed, I present the 5 types of Instagram posts you won't see from me:

5 Instagram Posts You Won't See from Me -- Are you on Instagram? Great! Let's be buds. But if you're looking for these 5 kinds of posts, look elsewhere, my friend.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

  1. The naked selfie. A few months ago, Kim Kardashian posted a naked picture of herself on her Instagram account and people were talking. They were talking so much that even I, who doesn't pay attention to Kim Kardashian, heard about it. So let me be clear: you will never see a naked selfie of me on my Instagram account. I like my clothes and I have no desire to be naked, take pictures of myself being naked, and then post pictures of my nakedness, even with those fancy Instagram filters. 
  2. Car seat selfies. Numerous friends and family members have posted pictures of themselves sitting in the driver's seat of their car. How do you take a picture of yourself there? Why do you take a picture of yourself there? This must be some special voodoo magic that only Millennials know how to do and want to do. You know what I like to do when I'm sitting in the driver's seat of my car? Drive my car. 
  3. Gourmet meals. There are some extravagant, finely crafted meals out there. Foi gras with rich balsamic glaze. Tarte flambee with creme fraiche, goat cheese, grand cru gruyere and onion. However, my meals are neither extravagant nor finely crafted. They usually consist of Kraft blue box mac and cheese or turkey hot dogs. 
  4. Stylish outfits. The last time I was on trend was probably 1993 and anyone who remembers the 90s knows that was not a good look. Nowadays I wear business casual to work (boring) and comfy stuff at home (boring). Vogue has never called me for a quote about fashion. Their loss.
  5. Any pictures of me. I'm one of those moms. The one who takes the picture and isn't in it. I'm not bitter and it doesn't bother me at all. It's just the way it it. Plus, it seems like the only pictures of people I see on Instagram anymore are the naked selfies or the car seat selfies and I already covered my stance on those.

There you have it, the 5 Instagram posts you won't see on my account. What will you see? I only post a couple times a week and it's usually pictures of my cat, Scooter, and my kids — if they'll let me. They're cute (especially the cat) in my unbiased opinion.

Sometimes I post solely to think up original #hashtags to go with my pictures. #sofun #followme #whyareweusingsomanyhashtagsanyway  

About the Author:
Katy M. Clark writes a lighthearted blog, Experienced Bad Mom, where she embraces her imperfections as a mom. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram (OF COURSE!).




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Monday, May 16, 2016

6 Ways Preschoolers Are Just Like Telemarketers

This was originally published as a guest post at Perfection Pending. After you're done reading here, go check out Perfection Pending for more writing that's funny, insightful, and always real.

The general consensus about telemarketers is, shall we say, not that great.

I know because I worked in a call center during college, and one thing I never expected is to look at my preschooler a decade later and have flashbacks of that short-lived career.

In fact, some of the similarities between my 3-year-old and my long-ago co-workers are just uncanny.

6 Ways Preschoolers Are Just Like Telemarketers --  One thing I never expected about mothering a preschooler is that it would give me flashbacks to the days I worked in a call center during college. Like how she won't take 'no' for an answer and always bugs me at mealtime...  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}


1. They never fail to demand your attention when you're making dinner. Preschoolers are always clingy attention-mongers, but they really step up their game during dinner prep. In all my years of mothering (I have 5 children) I don't think I've ever managed to make dinner without burning it because I had to solve a meltdown, dress a Barbie, bandage an invisible injury, or Google "how to remove smashed Play-do from hair."

2. They rarely let you get a word in edgewise. Whether she's alone or with others, my preschooler maintains a constant running commentary that may or may not include made-up songs about various bodily functions. If I'm really quick, I can sometimes get in an "uh-huh" before she launches into another 10-minute monologue.

3. They pester you to buy stuff you don't want. From checkout aisle candy to the cute gerbils they saw at Petco to the stuffed animal that would make #237 in their collection, preschoolers beg you to buy things you have no desire to own pretty much every moment they're awake. If you inadvertently walk past Build-A-Bear at the mall, heaven help us all.

4. They can't take a hint. Subtly suggesting you're busy or that it's not a good time right now will go nowhere with your preschooler. Even if you make it really obvious by, say, locking yourself in the bathroom with a Snickers bar, your child will be right there sticking his fingers under the door and asking to come in. You need to be incredibly direct when dealing with a preschooler, but unfortunately...

5. They won't take no for an answer. When a preschooler asks, "Can I _____?" don't think for a second that a simple 'no' will end the conversation. She knows what she wants and she'll keep on asking like her paycheck depends on it until your 'no' turns into a 'yes.' Every explanation you give for why you can't accommodate her request will be immediately countered.

6. They'll be back. You know how if you hang up on a telemarketer they'll just call again tomorrow? Your preschooler also won't give up until he's tried and tried again. He may retreat to plan his next attack (to the untrained eye this looks like playing Duplos,) but he'll be back. Probably tomorrow night at dinnertime, with yogurt on his face and ready to play that temper tantrum card he's been saving all afternoon.

Good luck with your little telemarketer today, moms. And don't even ask about being put on the "do not whine" list. I tried that. It doesn't exist.

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