As a dad, I second-guess myself often...
Should I have just read "one more" story, as my son requested, or was it right to insist that it was time to go to sleep, despite the tears that provoked?
What the hell was I thinking when I made that joke about "not putting your bombom (bottom) in my face!" one time during the bedtime, getting-into-pajamas madness, thereby establishing a rich vein of "bombom" humor in our house which no doubt will bring disapproval upon my boys when they test it out at their preschools?
Am I too harsh on the first-born, blaming him for fights with his brother, just because he is more verbal?
Is it selfish of me to try to get my children to watch football on TV on Sunday afternoons, when I know they would be better stimulated if we did something else?
...The truth is, you never play your perfect game.
So the second-guessing is pretty useless. Just as in sports, however, it is useful in one way: if you actually learn from your mistakes.
So this post is an attempt to list some of the mistakes which I have learned from so far:
1. Never begin to remove a diaper without first checking that wipes are ready at hand.
2. Never look away from a child when you are standing next to him on the sidewalk of a busy street, even for a moment to adjust his seat inside the car or pick up that dropped boot. (Get him or her to hold onto your leg so that you can feel the contact at all times.)
3. Go out and purchase rubber sheets for your child's bed before you start toilet training him or her.
4. Never shout at your spouse in front of the children. You will spend the rest of the day regrettting it, even after the children (and your spouse) move on.
5. Always double check if you are using children's Motrin or infant Motrin (I never made this mistake, but I had to include this anyway since it terrifies me every time).
6. Never advise your wife on breastfeeding issues (accept that you have no idea what you're talking about -- I did, and now I feel better).
7. Believe the counterintuitive instruction in that Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child book, which says that the earlier to bed, the longer your child will sleep.
8. Always call the pediatrician immediately if it is Friday and you think your child might be getting an ear infection (which could take you into the weekend after the doctor's office closes).
9. Never make hasty judgments about your child's behavior patterns without considering that they will entirely change in another week. (The development phases come and go so quickly!)
10. Always listen to your child when he or she resists a school or other program -- he or she knows better than you.
Any others leap to mind?