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Parents

37 Things You Should Know Before Having Your First Child

It's not an easy job, but it's so worth it.

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4. Your kid will go through way more Band-Aids than they actually need.

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If your kid gets the tiniest scratch? They need a Band-Aid. If they're bored? They need a Band-Aid. If you bought the Band-Aids with the Muppets on them? They need a Band-Aid. Eventually, you learn to hide a box for when they really, truly, actually need one.

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5. When your baby/toddler is acting up in public, people aren't judging you nearly as much as you think.

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Most people don't care or are parents themselves and understand. Sure, some are annoyed, but everyone? No way. Knowing this definitely helps your stress levels.

6. You should always — ALWAYS — make your kid go to the bathroom before you leave anywhere.

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And you can't just ask them once. It's a good rule of thumb to make your kid say they don't have to go at least five times before you get in the car.

8. If something is wrong with your kid, they're usually trying to tell you what it is — even before they can actually talk.

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If your baby is crying it's probably because they're wet, hungry, or tired. And while toddlers aren't very articulate, if you really listen to them you'll often find they're mumbling a word that communicates the problem.

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9. Your kid is watching you every day for cues on how to be a human.

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Basically, you need to be the person you want your kid to become. And if that means you have to make some improvements, hey, that isn't such a bad thing.

12. Staying fit becomes a whole lot harder.

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It's easy to convince yourself running around after your kid is exercise, but it doesn't really count as an aerobic activity. Staying fit can be done, of course, but you have to make it a priority.

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13. You will need to find the balance between getting sleep and personal time.

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After a long day with the kid it's easy to put off sleep — even when you're exhausted — to watch a movie, read a book, or socialize. But you need sleep as much as you need personal time. It's a juggle.

14. Little kids like to talk about boring stuff, but talking to them about it is a huge part of their development.

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Engaging your kid in discussions (about Caillou, for example) teaches them how to articulate themselves and that their voice matters.

16. There’s no quicker way to make sure your kid is listening than by fighting with your partner.

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They don't hear you when you tell them to put their shoes away, but they have a dog's hearing for when things get a little tense between you and your partner.

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17. Yelling at a kid to stop throwing a tantrum will only make them tantrum harder.

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Often, the best way to calm a kid is by remaining calm yourself. Sometimes, though, nothing works but letting the kid flail around until they tire themselves out.

18. Kids will ask for way more toys than they need.

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Instead of buying new toys, take some toys your kid has lost interest in and put them in a box in the closet. Later, when your kid is bored, you can pull out the box and let your kid go "toy shopping."

19. You can't take enough photos — and especially videos — of your kid.

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Before you had kids you thought, "What's the big difference between a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old?" But now that you're a parent you know the answer: a lot. Having video of each of these stages is priceless.

20. If your kid has a security blanket or toy, it's smart to order a spare online.

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This way, if your kid's beloved blankie goes missing, you can pull out the spare before your kid loses their mind.

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22. Kids have an amazing memory.

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When your kid is 4 or 5 they will shock you with what they remember. This makes sense, though — their brains are new computers that haven't been filled up with endless data like ours.

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25. Toddlers will scream when you're putting them in the high chair, but they usually chill out once you've got them secured in it.

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This isn't always the case, of course. When it's not, you need to know: ↓

26. Distraction is one of a parent's best weapons.

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Is your kid still freaking out in the high chair? Show them something shiny! Are they asking a question you'd rather not answer? Point out the dog across the street!

27. Your tolerance for gross things will grow exponentially.

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Before kids the idea of blowout diaper might have made you retch, but now it's just a day at the office. You'll even wipe your kid's nose with your hand if you have to.

28. You learn to put your kid first in life.

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Before kids (for the most part) you only had to worry about taking care of your own needs, but once you're a parent you have to take care of your kid's too, and usually before your own.

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29. If your kid cries when you leave them, they usually stop crying a minute or two after you're gone.

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It's easy to feel terrible imagining your kid crying all day in your absence, but they usually get over it pretty quick. Don't believe it? Ask the person watching your kid to send you a photo of your kid five minutes after you've gone.

30. Dealing with other parents can sometimes feel like high school all over again.

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Parents are supposed to be mature adults, but some can be judgmental and gossipy. It's important find a parent group that is supportive and on your team.

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33. Watching your kid interact with others when they don't know you're watching is pretty amazing.

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If you can, arrive at preschool early and peek through the window. It really is something to see your kid operating as an autonomous human being with their peers.

35. One of the most important things you can work on is patience.

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You need patience when you're trying to put your kid to bed, patience when you're potty training, patience when your kid is on your last nerve, and patience in a thousand other scenarios. The more patience you have, the better parent you'll be.

37. Kisses, hugs, and cuddles from your kid are at the very top of the best things in life.

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You've come to realize how important it is to savor these moments — and not just because older people never fail to tell you to enjoy it while it lasts.