Being a parent is like running a hotel for rowdy rock stars. Here’s 50 things Richard Ferrer has learned since he and his wife Jenny checked their own little Courtney Love and Keith Richards in for 18 years of bed ‘n’ board.
1 Kids aren’t the worst bosses, they’re just a bit erratic. You never really know where you stand.
2 Even in a world of make believe, the shop runs out of carrots. (That’s Brexit for you).
3 The basis for every magic trick is: “Close your eyes.”
4 One minute you’re asleep, the next you’re in a mariachi band.
5 If you lie down, someone will bounce on you.
6 Five words to strike fear when you’ve just cleaned the kitchen: “And now we mix it!”
7 There’s clear correlation between playing nicely, eating cupcakes and it all kicking off.
8 One should serve mini-cereal boxes like fine wine. “Would sir like to sample the bear one?”
9 Toddlers prefer holding cheese to eating it.
10 You can never think enough about wet floors.
11 Every now and then you’ll learn something. Did you know monkeys eat bananas with the skin on?
12 Don’t give a three-year-old jelly on the day they learn to clap.
13 Everyone’s liberal until it comes to their daughter’s hair.
14 Precisely explain the difference between a lie in and a lion.
15 Play time involves getting things out, showing them to an adult, then chucking them on the floor like a clueless removal man.
16 Playing I Spy with a three-year-old the answer tends to be ‘Car’, even something beginning with B.
17 Peppa Pig’s Miss Gazelle is clearly on the take. That school roof always needs fixing.
18 You’ll spend all weekend looking for the other shoe.
19 If you’re hiding and nobody is looking for you, you’re squatting.
20 Twentysomethings have a weed guy. Parents have a balloon guy.
21 Three-year-olds only break off from tantrums to give instructions.
22 They say please and thank you to Siri and Alexa, not mum and dad.
23 The grammatically correct spelling of bum is “bumbum”.
24 Other parents: don’t write your child’s name so prominently on Wellington boots. It’s embarrassing when my child rewears them.
25 Monday morning is the new Friday night.
26 Real cars/trains/planes can talk.
27 TV is the third and most popular parent.
28 A dental appointment is a chance for a nice lie down.
29 Dolls and cuddly toys are like recast Neighbours characters. Lose baby Anna at London Zoo and she’ll turn up the next day as a zebra.
30 Mini Milk is a gateway to full-on Haagen Dazs.
31 Three-year-olds rewrite history like David Irving. I didn’t want that cutlass. I wanted a different cutlass!
32 The meanest thing you can say to a two-year-old: “You don’t like ice cream.”
33 Three-year-old boys are world class mansplainers.
34 If you cook food that looks like an animal, cut it humanely.
35 Three-year-olds don’t realise it’s more tiring to wave your elbows around when running.
36 A two-year-old’s first encounter with mortality is a melting snowman.
37 Save the dates in the parents’ What’sApp group get rapidly out of hand. I’ve sent one for daughter’s 21st birthday party in 2035.
38 Kids magazines with free toys and Playboy have one thing in common – nobody reads the articles.
39 Row, Row, Row Your Boat should come with a health and safety warning.
40 X is for Excellent.
41 Want kids to brush their teeth? Show them a picture of Shane McGowan.
42 Thank heaven for the healing power of stickers.
43 Hearing “I don’t love daddy any more” during a mandatory hair wash hurts, but there’s consolation in the words “any” and “more”. He loved me once.
44 However high-end your holiday, you’re never more than a second away from a stinky nappy.
45 Laminating a list makes it God’s law.
46 The first rule of soft play – always talk about soft play.
47 You spend all day wishing they were asleep and all night gazing at pictures of them.
48 They call it a “cup of chino”. Which makes perfect sense.
49 Do not, under any circumstances, invite Demetrius to your three-year-old’s birthday party. He’ll eat all the cake and be sick on the cat.
50 Nothing’s lovelier than being in the middle of three people holding hands.
• Illustrations by Paul Solomons