Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Compleat Book of Advice for Today's Child and Her Balloon

The sheer ingenuity of today's children makes parenting a terrific challenge. As numerous surveys have shown, most parents have either "no idea" or a "foggy idea" of what to tell their children 86% of the time. Take Nicole and I--the question we most often ask our daughter is "what are you doing?"--if we don't even know what she's up to when we're watching her, how can we possibly give her all the advice she needs?

When we do give advice, it is often in the form of sentences sadly under-represented in parenting books, such as "it's hard to wash the table when there's a balloon wrapped around your finger" and "don't spin your plate when there's that much rice on it."

This problem is not limited to us. A close friend confirmed that some of the most important advice she gave to her son was, "If you don't know what it is, you shouldn't stick it in the video slot."

In order to better prepare both parents and children for situations such as these, I've decided to compile a complete list of advice for children. Ideally, parents would discuss a few lines such as those above with their children each night, so as to head off problems in advance.

If you have found yourself putting together extremely unusual or bizarre sentences in your interactions with children, please put them in the comments section below so that we can make this book as comprehensive as possible.


  1. "We do not put our lunch down our pants."

  2. If you don't know what it is, don't put it in your mouth.


  3. I just noticed that you spelled it "compleat." Was that intentional?

  4. "Please don't put your foot on my ear."

    "Don't wear cleaning cloths on your hair."

  5. Nicole to Kira: "In the bathroom! I don't want you flicking toothpaste onto our bed."

    Nicole to Elijah: "You're not going to get food out of that sheet."

    Such sentences can only arise out of MadLibs or parenthood.

  6. Oh, and another from a friend to her daughter: "You can't go to the dollar store in a dirty princess dress."

  7. James to Kira (very kindly): "Go ahead and go cry in your room. Our room is not the crying room."

  8. Just finished reading the book "No bike riding in the house--without a helmet." That line is from the author's chapter on ludicrous things parents say. I suspect she'd love those in this comment thread.

    Aunt Sheila

  9. Last night I overheard the author of this blog tell his two year old son, in all sincerity, "We do not put batman in other people's faces."


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