A Child’s Guide to the Art of Keeping Parents.

(Including how to destroy their house, sex life, and mental stability.)

1.) Cry.

From the moment you make your entrance into the world, crying is your main source of attention-seeking. Should they attempt to put you down on a surface – be it crib, Moses basket, rug or bed, CRY. This will ensure that they pick you back up almost immediately. Especially if they’re first-timers. Even the more hardcore ones will cave if you give it a few hiccups and chokey-style breaths in between bawling. If this seems not to work, try holding your breath too. You’ll soon be back in a lovely, comfortable pair of arms in no time.

2.) Sleep.

Do not do it. Enough said.

I could end there, but there may be further details you need, because sometimes even the tougher ones among us give in to a little shut-eye. If you must sleep, try your hardest to do it in the daytime. Do not close your eyes when it is dark. They’ll try to train you to do it the other way around, but pah, we spit milk on their ‘training’. And on their carpets, clothes and bedding.

It is particularly important to sleep as much as you can if visitors come bearing gifts for you. They will cuddle you and make weird yet soothing clucky sounds – and you’ll get lots of great comments about what a good little sleeper you must be. Mummy and Daddy will try to tell the visitor that you’re not, but no-one will believe them and they’ll look like big fat (especially Mummy) liars.

When you are put to bed at night you must try your hardest to escape from it. This is where your crying tactics are very useful indeed. Cry for hours if you must – they may be trying out a little ‘controlled crying’. Ha. All you need to do is make some eye contact. If you can get them (particularly Mummy) to look you in the eye, and then try a little smile at her, you’ll be back out of that cot pronto. Now here’s the really good bit. Listen up.

If you can get yourself into their bed – that’s right, in it, and right up between them, then you need never face a night alone again! Better yet, if you can do it not once but two nights or more in a row, you are home and dry. You’ll have developed a ‘routine’, and they’ll have made something that they refer to as a ‘rod for their own backs’. Heh heh.

Whilst we’re at it, we’d best mention sex. For some reason, they’ll assume that even though you’re in the same room as them, it’s ok for them to do it because you’re only little. Well your lungs ain’t little kiddo. If you sense them making a move on each other (you have a built-in radar for this kind of shit), then scream the place down. Anyway, if they’ve got time to have sex then they’ve got time to sleep, and you’ve been around long enough to ensure that they’re far more likely to choose the latter. You can scupper this too though – little do they realise until you come home from hospital that you make the same sounds, at the same volume, as a farmyard.

3.) Feeding.

The choice is yours. Mummy thinks it’s hers. It’s not.

Pretty soon after you make your grand entrance, Mummy may try to waggle a gigantic, engorged mammary in your face. Give it two or three days and that boob is going to be larger than your whole head. If you feel like taking to this breast-feeding malarkey then lovely. If not, then hey, where’s the harm – play around a little. Swat your head all over the place, refuse to suck on the damn thing, and dig your little gums in. If you keep this up, then there’s every chance that you’ll be switched to something known as The Bottle.

The Bottle is a joy to behold. Mummy and Daddy will spend the next couple of years having to tote a bag the size of Mummy’s bottom around with them. Sometimes one or other of them will leave something crucial (nappies perhaps) at home, and then Daddy will always get the blame. They’ll spend hours faffing about with formula dispensers and sterilisers and teats. But that’s ok – cry whilst they’re doing it and then you’ll definitely be half way to driving them nuts!

4.) Nappies.

When you’re really small you have no choice, you’ve got to be strapped in them. But fear not – once you’re slightly bigger you can start arching your back (also an excellent method of buggy-escape) and rolling around in them. Try hard to kick down as a pooey one comes off; you’ll be able to get a foot in one and also splatter a bit around the place. Sometimes you’ll even succeed in doing a poo so voluminous that it’ll squirt right up the back of your vest and they’ll be gagging over you as they try to work out how to get the vest off without pooing-up your hair.

Eventually you’ll be big enough to actually take your nappy off! Do it in your cot! Poo or wee straight after, then cry. They’ll come running, and you’ll be out and about in seconds. (If all else fails then just remember that one day Mummy and Daddy are going to be back in those things themselves anyway, just make sure you’re not about to have to change them. Get them in a home for God’s sake.)

5.) Weaning.

At about six months you’ll be trying some proper food, wahoo! It might be earlier, could be four months, and it might be something called Child Lead Weaning. No matter either way, ‘cos Mummy’s just following whichever trend is currently in baby-fashion. So smear that stuff all around your little chops, get some on the floor, mush it about, wipe some on Mum too. If you can manage to mash a banana up then so much the better – that stuff stains things black once it’s dried!!! Who knew?!

If wheetabix or porridge come your way then you’re in luck – that gloop dries like cement on furniture. Spread it about a little. They’ll need a chisel to get it back off.

6.) Car Seats.

As soon as you’re able, arch your back and do Spaghetti Limbs. They’ll never get you strapped in that bastard. And if they do, just squish a few raisins down the sides of it and try at least once to puke in the car. That smell will be around for years after.

7.) Going Out.

Soon after you’re born, Mummy and Daddy will try to take you out to places. No matter what, do not allow them to leave the building the first time they try. In fact, consider any mission that takes less than two attempts an outright failure. If Mummy ever makes the mistake of wearing black again, then get some snot on it. You haven’t lived until you’ve made your mother spend an entire day out in public in a state of blissful ignorance about the slug-trail flaking on her shoulder.

Sometimes, they’ll try to take you out to see their ‘friends’. When this occurs, whatever you do, against all the odds, do not allow them to finish a conversation. Let them start one, sure, what’s the harm in a little false reassurance? But once they really start to get into it, CRY. Fidget too. Get up on a lap – hell, get passed about a bit. Flop around, dig your elbows into them, and swat their face with your hands. If you see an opportunity to get down and let loose on a floor, take it! If you hear Mummy and Daddy say something similar to “I don’t know what’s got into them, they must be tired – s/he’s never usually like this” then you know you’re on to a winner.

8.) Nursery/Childcare.

We all have our own way of dealing with being separated from the oldsters. You may be glad to be free, or you may be glad but decide to make ’em pay anyway. (Remember ‘sleep training’? Same principle. Cry when they’re dropping you off, they’ll hang about and you can cling to their legs as your keyworker prises you off.) However, whether you decide to go gracefully or whether you put up a fight, remember the cardinal rule: be as good as gold when you’re there, no matter how you act at home, and make stuff. Loooooots of stuff! As many paintings and cut-up plastic cups, toilet rolls, and bits of wool, as you can possibly handle. Seriously, work that shit. ‘Cos when Mum or Dad come, they’re gonna have to take it home with them. And not only that, but they’re gonna have to stick it up in the house! Oh yeah! All that dry pasta with paint on is coming home baby!

9.) Christmas and Other Festivities.

Drag that tree down. At the very least ensure that all your homemade shit from nursery is at the front of the tree. Preferably losing glitter like Katie Price loses fiances. Check the tree in the morning too – you can bet your bottom dollar that Mum will have tried to sneak your washing-peg Mary and Joseph round to the back whilst you slept.

The best bit about Christmas is the toys. Some big fat guy will creep into your bedroom one night (creepy, right?) and leave a load of presents in the house. The very best thing you can do is play with them just for that day, then ignore them all and revert to being ‘bored’ and playing instead with either a scrap of gift wrap or a Peppa Pig soap. Hold out on those new toys for as long as you can, try not to break until mid-January before showing a vague, cursory interest.

10.) Siblings.

You may already have one or you may get one. Once you’re in a bedroom of your very own then Mummy and Daddy have not only got more time but they’re so riddled with amnesia from sleep-deprivation during your first few months that they’ll have forgotten just how bad it was. The trick to a new sibling is to be kind to that new arrival. Be adorable. Pose for pictures and pass his/her nappies to Mummy whilst blowing kisses for the camera. Keep this up for as long it takes her to proudly tell all her friends that you get along just fine with no envy or sibling rivalry whatsoever. Once she’s laid this down in stone, flip it round: pull some hair, snatch some toys, CRY. Most importantly: do it all in front of the aforementioned friends.

If you do ever feel a tad left out then don’t fret. Simply position yourself near a plug socket, lick a finger, and wait for Mum to spot you. She’ll drop that baby like a hot potato.

Once the baby is bigger you’ll actually be able to co-ordinate your missions. The key to this is fighting. Fight until Mum and Dad come into the room. Stop. Let them go back and – this is key – wait long enough for them to get back into whatever they were doing. Fight again. Repeat.

11.) Last but not Least: Never Forget that you have the Control.

Oh yes. They may think that they do (they’ll tell you that they’re ‘grown-ups’, they’ll tell you that they don’t enjoy telling you off. They may even try to spin the line that it’s ‘for your safety, not because Daddy’s a meanie who wants to spoil your fun’), but you have the control. You have the power. After all, what are they gonna do, sell you on ebay?? No! You’re theirs for keeps and vice versa. Until you reach 18 of course and then you can fleece them for all their cash, spend it vomiting in Kavos, and scare the shit out them with your choice of partner, career, and area to live in.

Long live the child in all of us!

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2 thoughts on “A Child’s Guide to the Art of Keeping Parents.

  1. Pretty exhausted living it 😉
    Clearly I’m mental though as I wouldn’t change it for the world… and probably also because we never once let the tiny scamps into our bed hahaha!

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