1. How to dress in weather-appropriate clothes. Yes, it’s true that it is raining and rain is water, but you still can’t wear your bathing suit to the library. Your winter coat is, as the name implies, for winter; You may not wear it when it’s over 90 degrees. And no, it’s doesn’t matter that you won’t wear anything else with it. I mean, you do know they won’t seat you at a restaurant if you’re not wearing panties . . . or pants, right?
2. How to look where you are walking. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. When you walk forward while looking backward you tend to walk into things. Like walls. Those permanent upright constructions that are UNMOVING. Or the alarm gates at Target. Then you look at me accusingly and squawk, “Mommy! Why did you let that wall hurt me??”
3. How to wipe your butt. The right way. You know, in the crack — not just on the cheeks. My least favorite imperative sentence is, “Mom, wipe my butt!”
4. How to whisper. Believe it or not, whispering does not mean to continue shouting but it a weird, horsey voice. No, no. Whispering means to speak with soft, hushed sounds using the breath. It does not mean to speak slower or to tip-toe while speaking. It does not mean to put your mouth on my ear and then screech, “CAN YOU HEAR ME???? I’M A-WHISPERIN’!”
5. Lobsters are not hamsters. Each and every time we go to the store you shout, “Look Mom! HAMSTERS!” and then point to the lobster tank. Each and every time I tell you they are lobsters. You narrow your eyes, shake your head and say, “No. No, those are hamsters, Mommy. Hamsters.” We even asked the guy at the fish counter and he said, “Lob-stahs.” As soon as we got a few feet away you said, “No, they’re hamsters. I know it!” I am not lying to you. It’s not a conspiracy to trick you. It’s the truth. And that truck that drives around playing songs? Yeah, it really doesn’t sell ice cream — it’s just there to make people happy with music.