The front lines of parenting |

The front lines of parenting

It turns out that whole “use it or lose it” philosophy is correct.

Apparently firsthand experiences are the best for building dendrites in the brain and, scientifically speaking, dendrites are the little tree-branch-thingys that keep you from losing your mind. That’s about as scientific as we get here because when you’re a sleep-deprived mom or dad there are really very few tree-branch-thingys getting much action (or anything else for that matter).

According to science, once we’ve learned something new we need to re-stimulate the brain through reflection, doing, teaching, etc., in order to retain it.

This is all great information for early education but I like to personalize things, so forget the kids, let’s talk about me.

As a mom I learn a lot of lessons throughout the year and some of these are hard-earned. So, I’ve decided to write down all the things I’ve learned as a parent (a woefully short list), in the hope of actually retaining this information for later use.

Oh, sure, there’s the big stuff like learning that shin guards are mandatory for soccer or that head wounds just naturally gush more than any other part of the body. But here are a few lesser-knowns:

After-school activities, praise and carpooling are best in moderation.

Don’t even try to make homemade macaroni & cheese once they’ve had the box.

A bad day can be better with a Slurpee.

A good day can be great with a Slurpee.

Slurpees cost just 89 cents.

Kindergarten rocks.

Couch-cushion forts rock.

Don’t say yes when you mean no, don’t say no when you can say maybe, and don’t say I promise unless you do.

7-year-olds can ski faster than their moms.

Burping is always hilarious.

Burping the alphabet? Forget about it!

Listening to Mozart while pregnant is no guarantee your kid won’t like Eminem later.

It’s hard to keep a straight face while listening to kids do a comparison analysis of Ding-Dongs, Twinkies and Ho-Hos.

Don’t come home till you’re certain the baby sitter has put the kids to sleep.

Kids have a knack for waking moms up at 3:00 a.m. just as the Brad Pitt dream is getting good.

Football pads and black paint under the eyes make a fourth-grader look tough, but jammies with feet in them remind you how little he still is.

A piggy-back ride from your big brother makes everything seem more fun.

It’s never a good idea to let a 5-year-old girl dress like Britney Spears.

Don’t ever be the first one to stop holding hands as you walk into school.

And last but not least: Those little tree-branch-thingys better be strong because I don’t want to forget one minute of this.

Charla Belinski teaches the parenting course “Redirecting Children’s Behavior.” Her column appears once a month in The Aspen Times.

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