In Part I of "Life Lessons", I mentioned that I forwarded an email on to a guy at work, child 3 of 9 (6 boys and 3 girls), saying I'd like to hear some Life Lessons from his mom. He responded (and gave me permission to post here):
Subject: RE: RAISING BOYS
I just forwarded it to my mom, we'll see if she responds with something. I can start it now (these are all true stories that I just happen to remember from growing up):
1) You can successfully drive a station wagon 8 miles with 3 children of less than 10 years of age strapped to the roof.
2) You shouldn't let children play with the garage door.
3) Your pets will always be named after superhero cartoons on TV, if you don't keep your kids in check when naming them.
4) Don’t let your 8-year-old cook in the kitchen by themselves. Even if they can't reach the oven controls, they can still use the microwave to try to cook eggs and bake cookies in. If they somehow produce something, don't eat it.
5) A 3 year old can successfully back a pickup truck out of the driveway all by themselves, but they can also back it all the way across the street, through a fence and into a neighbor's yard. Having 2 older siblings in the car with him (and I'm talking about me, James, as the 3 year old), and no car keys won't even make a bit of a difference.
6) You can fall really far out of a tree, without even getting hurt.
7) Gerbils die when dropped from small heights, even when it's done by accident.
8) Kids love fire. They love making it, and they love seeing things burn. Some don't get caught by their parents when they learn the devastating fact that newspaper burns really fast, while others get caught burning baseballs.
9) When you move a big log in the back yard that has a yellow jacket nest in it, it doesn't matter who actually moved the log, or whether or not you knew there was a yellow jacket nest there, everyone around gets stung... even mom.
10) Santa won't get you what you want, unless you tell mom and dad. If it's expensive, you still won't get it. The key (as a 5 year old) is to pay attention to the price tag.
11) You can open hard boiled eggs just about any way you want... on the ceiling, on the floor, on someone's head. They taste the same any way you do it.
12) Don't put the dart board up next to the window... you're just asking for trouble. In fact, don't put a dart board up at all. Yes, darts will actually stick right into glass and stay there.
13) Kids can get a snake bite without even knowing it.
14) Make sure you have a plunger by every toilet in the house. Sometimes you never know what actually got flushed down... so keep valuables out of reach and get to know your plumber really well, because you'll be seeing a lot of him.
15) It's ok if your kids eat Lego's. It's inevitable. But stepping on them in the middle of the night stinks for parents.
16) Regarding "Super glue is forever"...add to that: "Don't let your kids use it as chapstick"
17) Tampons can be used as rockets (this one is from my wife's side of the family). In fact, from a second story window, you can safely protect and cover the entire lawn with 1 box.
18) Kids don't know the difference between "good dogs" and "bad dogs." Either the child will be afraid of every dog they see, or they'll insist on sticking their hands and/or head into every dog's mouth. Some children are just strange, I guess.
19) If you have a home alarm system, even if it's disabled, if your children play with it, the cops WILL come. This is especially bad if the parents are gone and there's just a babysitter.
20) The same 9 year old, who can beat their parents at chess, will still try to build a raft out of shipping crates and float out to the middle of a sewage pond and proceed to sink. Without even wearing a life vest!
21) Younger siblings will do anything with older siblings, including floating out with them on an unsafe raft and sinking in the middle of a sewage pond.
22) When you have a lot of children, expect that some of them will be surprised when you have a baby all of a sudden. They might not even realize you're pregnant.
23) Dogs can have babies while running uphill. They won't even tell you first to warn you that they're also pregnant.
24) If you let your kids play with BB guns, they WILL shoot each other.
25) Kids like electricity. They will look for forks and things to shove into any outlet they can find. If you have a neighbor with an electrified fence (for horses), this is a plus for your children.
26) If kids play long enough, someone will get hurt. When that happens, there is usually someone to blame. A chase typically ensues. The person chasing is usually the last one to get hurt, and the person being chased is usually the one who "did it." The position of each in the sequence can change often, since the angriest usually runs faster, and then that child becomes the one running away. This can go on for several minutes as they slowly beat each other up.
27) 9 children + 1 computer = broken computer.
28) Taking a road trip as young teenagers can be a lot of fun, but expect to get grounded if you just leave notes for your parents, and don't tell them first that they're going... and taking one of the cars.
I'm out of ideas for now, and the list is beginning to get lengthy.
Later, his mom did respond with a memory of her own, as well as his sister. More in the next blog post.