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Do as the toddlers do

I am embarrassed to admit this, but up until recently I thought that our children were the additions to my husband and I's life, that we were supposed to adapt them to the rhythm of our lives. Surveying our house the other day, I realized how foolish this was. Who's calling the shots here? So I'm re-writing the game plan. As they say, when in Rome, do as the toddlers do.

1. Reason is not real.
Who cares if you need a nap because company is coming over later? Who cares if you are only crying because you are tired? Who cares if there isn't more after all? These "reasons" are not tangible things and therefore they do not exist.

2. Throwing is a form of communication.
Whether you are done with your meal or showing your brother a cool toy he can't touch, throwing is a great way to get your message across.

3. Use your body language.
Take this very literally. If you are feeling down, flail on the floor. If you are excited or happy, run in circles with your hands in the air. If you want something, throw the weight of your body in the direction of the desired object. Arching your back is the absolute best way to show your dissatisfaction or to simply liven up an otherwise boring afternoon.

4. Cleanliness is next to weakness.
Wiping your nose, changing your diaper, or willingly taking your clothes off before bathtime are all signs that you were too weak to run away. The only time a clean nose and fresh baby powder scent is appropriate is after an epic battle. In that case, they are badges of honor.

5. Safety isn't just fun; it's your job.
Books stacked on a case are a hazard. Drinks left willy-nilly on an end table are a hazard. Cell phones left emitting dangerous radiation on the couch are a hazard. Trash cans-- anywhere in the home-- are a hazard. Objects peaking over the edge of the counter are a hazard. It is your job to safely lay these objects out on the floor and thoroughly inspect them. Is that dog food or poison? There is only one way to find out.

6. Let your voice be heard.
Everywhere. Don't let the man silence you. Point and scream energetically at every balloon you see-- perhaps the others in your party haven't seen it yet. If you are being reprimanded, throw your head back and cry loudly, "YOU CANNOT KEEP ME DOWN!" Church is a wonderful place to really stretch your vocal cords; the acoustics are fabulous.

7. Control your own destiny.
Is your stroller heading to Gymboree or the Gates of Mordor? Are you zipping past shiny objects on the ground or interesting benches that need to be climbed on? Don't let them strap you in! These things should be avoided at all costs: carseats, strollers, high chairs (especially restaurant high chairs), and shopping carts. It is near to impossible to escape these things once the straps close around you.

8. Sharing is for others.
Always insist on sharing. Your friends need to learn to share their toys with you. Your siblings need to learn to share the wagon. Your parents need to learn to share their food. But remember this: the people you welcome into your home are lucky you are sharing your time and oxygen with them. They do not need to touch your things.

9. Persistance pays off.
So someone says no to you when you climb on the kitchen table. Will they say no if you do it again? And again? And again? And if they really don't want you playing with whatever is in that cabinet, would they continue to store it in that cabinet?

10. Exercise each and every day.
Pre-bedtime runs are important; make sure to sprint in the opposite direction of the house as your bedroom when bedtime is announced. As soon as you get out of the car, take off running; parking lots have ample space to stretch your legs. Another great place is the mall. You can get a lot of exercise in doing figure eights around shopping racks or dashing from store to store. The best work outs are random. Run full speed in one direction then quickly cut left or turn around completely. If anyone tries to stop you, pretend you are on a tread mill while you are in their arms; that form of exercise is known as "cardio" and can be just as beneficial. Note: never work out with anyone; you will get less of a work out. If you find you are running with your brother, break away. Your health is important.


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