1. Be ye not vexed with accidental spills ~ join the club. Messes validate thy motherhood.
2. Gird up thy loins, and hark ye; for verily, it is written: at some time all of thy children will destroy something of value to you.
Take ye especial care ye leave not the hack saw within reach of thy little boy. See that ye apologize to thy son all the days of his life for thy anger at the moment ye discovered his handiwork upon the face of thy brand new furniture, yea, upon no less than 5 pieces of furniture. Acknowledge liberally ye would happily deny all the furniture in the world for the chance to relive that one moment again with thy little son, when ye ought to have embraced him, and thanked him for "helping" you, because indeed he observed you using the saw and thought to do him likewise. Yea, ye will feel bitter remorse for frightening all the children with your great and terrible rage, yea, a day when ye lost control and failed thy calling. (I love you James - sorry Bi - thanks for crawling back in through your bedroom window to get baby
something to play with)
3. Celebrate the ordinary as if it were not; seek opportunity to have fun with that which is fundamental - and blessed be thy house and the happiness thereof.
4. If ye be not Organized, honor those that are - perchance they might visit thee and teach thee how to be so. Once having obtained, teach thy children how to organize, that their days may be free from needless searching but never finding, and their hearts devoid of anxiety.
5. Dismiss not the book thy child recommends to thee. But read the book, and thy life will be greatly rewarded. Thy children shall observe how ye do value their estimation in so much that ye do willingly read their 3rd grade book or their Junior in high school book. Ye may consider, 'Ah, I am monitoring what my child is learning,' however, in this ye do err. Ye should endeavor to read the book for no other reason than thy child hath requested it of thee. For in this wise, ye do share and share alike in the unabashed Joy of Discovery. In truth, these 'discoveries' will also be thy favorites, and will be anchors of little events which bonded you together.
6. Fret not when ye perceive thy child is frightened of a new experience that ye know is beneficial to them. Be patient, stay afar off. Take care to observe how other children in the same activity are responding. Be ye reasoning as an unbiased observer, and slow to assume it is too troubling for them to conquer.
7. If ye propose a family picnic, and the fruit of thy womb object with obnoxious noise and grotesque facial expression, carry on. Busy thy children in preparation, do ye not labour alone. Once ye are arrived at the park, and thy table is spread, they who once lamented will see fit to rejoice. Apply this principle to other experiences thy family may initially protest. Heed not the party-pooper, for they shall have their reward.
8. Seek not every whim and fancy of new baby accessory or popular toy. While much is cute, shockingly color-coordinated and seemingly desirable, behold, ye are sorely deceived. Surely it is wisdom ye do without much unnecessary purchasing of cumbersome products which do not reward thee for more than a few weeks, or products which are obviously ridiculous! If ye must obtain, be not disdainful of thrift shop fare. Or, if ye may borrow of another, so much the better.
9. Covet not the giant, SUV-like stroller. This behemoth is difficult to maneuver in a crowd, requireth the strength of Atlas to heft, and verily defeats the very purpose of being mobile with the young child! Seek ye instead a humble umbrella stroller, one with shade above, and storage below. Behold, it is exceedingly light and easy to wield. Yea, it doth accompany thee in the blink of an eye. It doth hold all thy necessities, and ye need not more than this. Honest.
10. Exhaust not thyself in yelling at thy second son to stop leaping like a monkey off furniture immediately after dinner every cursed night ~ save thy breath and leave him to his folly. It shall come to pass that one day he leap not far enough and break a toe. Behold, his passion for playing "lava" hath been completely healed and ye are free from his manic, frenetic episodes. (love you, Leiland!)
11. Beware the Ant Farm birthday present. It's brightly colored plastic pieces and silky white
sand are lovely, and the 2 week wait for live ants to be shipped from Hurricane, Utah, doth fill all with delicious anticipation. Hark ye; whilst the directions seem simple enough, and thy son followeth them with exactness, behold - all will go horribly wrong in a matter of seconds. Yea, the ants doth awake from their sleep with much energy, in so much that they fail to enter the container as promised, but do gush out and run quickly across the dining room table. "Fear not!" you say, believing the ants will stop at the table's edge, and ye can hope to retrieve them with cups and paper. Sadly, in this ye do err. The ants heed not the edge of the table, and do plummet to the extra long shag carpet below. With truly fierce screaming and hopping about, ye do fetch the vacuum, and such is the slaughter of more than half the colony. (sorry, Leiland)
12. Think not that thy children will suffer if they receive not their own bedroom, fully decorated and generously appointed with glorious things. Consider Rachel, how she had nought but a pack n'play for her bed in her brother's closet. Yea, she did lie down each night and gaze up at her brother's shirts hanging above her. In the morning, she did press her face against the mesh sides of her pen, and wait for the boys to arise. If they fetch her not, she did reach up and play happily with the hems of the shirts. Later, when she mastered escaping from the pen, she would wait patiently inches from Robin's or Asia's faces in the other room until such time as they did awake much afrighted.
13. Be ye welcoming to pets. There is an irreplaceable companionship between child and animal. If ye be adverse to noise or mess or anything that to thee justifies denying a pet, REPENT. Even a goldfish may teach thy child many valuable lessons in love and life. Complain not should they forget to feed the pet or do other duties assigned, but encourage them to empathize. Feed not the child until they feed their pet. Hide not the inevitable encounter with death fearing it too painful for the child; but send the children to find a box suitable for the deceased, to decorate it, and prepare it with care. Say ye appropriate thoughts at the grave site, and pray ye and sing together. For verily, in the Resurrection ye shall again see all that once lived with thee and shared thy house with thee, and thy joy will be great.
14. Be not dismayed if the children slog in the irrigation; no matter how terrible the deep mud thereof, or the mud thickly oozing through hair, into ears and slathered upon clothing and flinging mightily through the air. Just see that ye prepare a way they might hose themselves off before entering the house.
15. Embrace the making of Chore Lists. Yea, prepare ye several different methods. Write upon popsicle sticks, or colored index cards, or print out from thy computer. Offer fun options, like "Choose ye the chore music", or "Ye are in charge of the snack during a break that all may share and be refreshed". If ye have exceedingly tedious chores, such as the matching of socks from yon giant sock basket, render the task less odious by declaring, "Match ye as many socks as possible in 6 minutes. Set ye the timer." Consider the littler children who cannot accomplish what older children can; give ye only 3 or 4 sticks to choose for them. Tell the older children they must take 6 or more sticks. If they be working from a list, have them mark off each task as they go. Draw or paste ye funny pictures of what needs doing instead of writing it. Construct the chore directions in rhyme, or in a rhyme they must find words to complete. It is no crime to exact performance from thy offspring. Ignore protests. Yea, even do ye ignore their rolling eyes many years hence. Eventually, it shall come to pass one fine day that thy children suddenly realize they know how to do things, yea, and there is a reason WHY.
16. Welcome young chefs into thy kitchen. Listen not to the many mothers who protect the kitchen as if it were a polished sanctuary unto themselves, and deny the child inclusion therein. Behold, they are foolish. They have no experience tasting excellent brownies made by a child. They can have no reward in pancakes or cupcakes or cookies or spaghetti or burritos or even shish-kabobs prepared by very young children. They have not the fun of trying to fish out the errant egg shell from batter, or watching the egg slide down the cupboard in an attempted escape!
Be not jealous should a child display talent beyond thine own; rather, rejoice with them in their accomplishment! For behold, it is a skill ye righteously desire they obtain. Even so shall ye assign them turns planning a menu, shopping and cooking meals during the Summer. If there be a massive mess to clean up; thrust ye all into the fray - making scrubbing a festive toil set to popular music.