When I started this blog, I simply wanted to share parenting experiences from the male perspective. Then I wanted to relate cute and funny stories about the antics of children. We all know them well. Kids are all around us and a super important part of life. You are lucky if you have had a child in your life, whether your own, a relative, or a neighbor kid. The family in America is sacred. A marriage isn’t complete until you have a son and/or a daughter.

As time goes on and more things happen in our family, I realize that my blog is a personal journal, just for me, which puts all the milestones of childhood into a written time capsule for posterity. Maybe they will read it when they are teenagers, challenging every rule in sight. I hope I am deft enough to make the toddler years come alive. I want them to see how it was as well as how joyful. We will see. I would have appreciated a diary from my father when I was a teen. I would have learned a lot. I now know the facts and I am imparting them to you.

Today I want to talk about surviving childhood and what it takes for a parent to succeed. First there are the personality traits that are required: stoicism, patience, imagination, cleverness, perseverance, strength of mind, and knowledge of at least one or two ballgames. Tots need stuff to play with and for most, it means tons of toys and a small tricycle. I used cups and saucers for diversion and the kids often liked things from the kitchen better than the toy store. They couldn’t use enough crayons, paints and brushes, and magic markers. I only bought the kind that wash off. When I was young, I decorated the sofa and now I know better than to encourage this.

Surviving toddlerhood means thousands of trips to the grocery store and the park. You find a jungle gym or a softball field and do your best to entertain and amuse. Show the little ones how the game is played. From the point of view of the home front, parents survive with lots of handiwipes, heavy-duty paper towels, Windex, and cleanser. You need bubble bath and scented soap and super soft terry towels. I love to wrap the little bodies in dry comfort. To clean the ever-present mess, get a sturdy upright vacuum cleaner with a big bag – one that will last for years and years. Use a web site like The Vacuum Challenge to help you find the right one for your home. You never stop cleaning, or you and your wife that is. I have practically worn out the living room carpet. Soon we will uncover the wood floors.

Toddlerhood means teaching the ABCs, inspiring art projects, helping the kids learn to read, and making new rules about TV, video games, and cell phones. It is so amazing to see a four-year-old manipulate the most complex phone. They can sneak on the Internet and download games. Who taught them to enter the numbers of my credit card?