I’ve been thinking about parenting a lot lately. There are phases or milestones that I got through with Ari that seem like a very distant memory. I can barely remember how I dealt with certain behaviors. I remember when Ari was a baby, I told myself I would absorb each moment. I wouldn’t forget. I could advise my friends when they became parents what to do, how to react, what to say. But now, I can’t remember a lot.

Parenting is like staying up all night for an exam. You’ll only have to take the test once, and it’s unlikely you’ll need the material again. I mean, once your kid isn’t two-years-old anymore, you won’t need to know how to deal with a two-year-old on a daily basis. Your brain can release that information and it can be absorbed by osmosis. But, maybe someday, you’ll have another kid or you’ll be a grandparent, and you’ll need to remember how two-year-olds act. Or perhaps your friend will need you to watch his/her kid for a few hours while he/she goes to the supermarket or the movies.

So, I’ve decided that while my memory is fresh, the best thing to do is write down how I dealt with things parenting-related at the moment.

I keep thinking about tantrums.

Many people have told me to ignore a kid when he/she tantrums. I’ve found this to work some of the time. Sometimes, however, ignoring the upset child can make the tantrum worse. Sometimes, the method that works best is distraction.

“Hey you! Are you crying for no reason? Look at this shiny red ball?”

It’s amazing how distraction can work when it works well. And it works on a broad age range too. I’ve seen it work well on two-year-olds and I’ve seen it work well on seven-year-olds.

What have you learned about being a parent that you want to remember?