**Updated below to add one more that I totally had a story for yet forgot to add! Thanks to the lovely Minivan speedracer for the reminder :)
Before I had kids, I was so smart. I knew exactly how to raise them according to every text book out there. As a matter of fact, I not only majored in education, I took enough psychology courses that I could tell you how detrimental your poor parenting skills were to your kids future. I made up all of these spectacular rules that I was sure to follow as soon as I reproduced. If I saw parents in restaurants or stores or even friends with kids, I'd mock their lack of parenting skills and assure anyone who'd listen that my rules would be followed to the letter the moment I became "Mom". THEN. Then, I had kids. Here's my list of rules and the realities that would bring tears to the eyes of 20 year old me.
Rule: No child of mine will ever have a pacifier. Parents who shove that thing in their kid's mouth are just being lazy and not paying enough attention to what their kid really needs.
Reality: After each kid used me for a pacifier, I was begging and promising ponies if they'd just take the dang binky. Even for a second.
Rule: No TV. Again, be a parent and use every single second of your day entertaining and feeding the young mind that you chose to bring into existence.
Reality: D-D-D-Dora, Dora the Explorer allows me to get a shower more often than days that start with T. Bring it on chica, and thanks for teaching my kids to say, "Ayudame!!" when they need me to do things for them. Or just to watch me giggle.
Rule: Um, like, my kids will never taste sugar. No cookies, candy, cake and other junk food will ever pass their little lips because it's just not good for them and will only rot their teeth and make them hyper.
Reality: Anyone want to come to my house for juice boxes and fruit snacks? And look! I have cookies!! What kind shall I get for you? Sister likes Oreos, Brother prefers chocolate chip. BUT WAIT! That's not all! Step into my pantry of despair and pick any sugar laden item of your choice (many in your choice of annoying character!)
Rule: My kid will never ever throw a tantrum in public. He or she will be well versed in how to behave themselves and not annoy people who are just trying to enjoy a good restaurant/bookstore/shopping mall.
Reality: "Hey Sister, while you're rolling around on the floor like your clothes are on fire because I said you can't have another stuffed animal to add to the already existing zoo in your room, I'm just gonna head on over to Gap, join me when you're done, k?"
Rule: Eating food off the floor? Gross. Not my sweeties. That ten second rule thing is ridiculous and makes me want to gag.
Reality: Brother dropped his hot dog on the floor at our local favorite restaurant and without hesitation, I picked it up, wiped it off with a napkin and handed it back to him. Looking up, I caught the horrified glance of a woman whose designer duds with no visible dirty handprints were a sure sign that she doesn't yet have kids. You just wait honey, you'll get it one day.
Oh yes, oh yes. The things I have learned. Or forgotten. Which is it? I think I'll be adding to this list as time goes on because almost every day I think of something that I now allow my kids to do that I once swore would never happen. This parenting thing, it ain't for textbooks.
Feel free to add your own in the comments section!