7 Truths You Should Tell Your Boys And Girls In Middle School

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Middle school can be exciting and terror-inducing. For the youngster, middle school is a whole new experience. There is the challenge of staying organized, managing lockers, dressing down for PE, changing classrooms, and more homework. Yet, there are also new kinds of relationships to be formed and strengthened; youngsters begin to exercise more discretion in their choice of friends and activities. Altogether, it can be difficult for parents to help their child deal with this stage. Yet offering youngsters words that will help them face the reality of the situation they find themselves in will help them pass through this stage successfully.

These are some truths you need to tell your boys and girls who are in middle school:

“You are great and no one should make you feel otherwise”

Let no one tell you who you are and who you are not, whether they are your teachers or bullies. Understand that you have demonstrated strength already by waking up and going to school every day. You have shown you can adapt and that you are willing to learn. There may be challenges now but at the other side of the door, there are so many exciting things that await you.

“Let your sense of success come from within”

Let no one mislead you with gratuitous accolades or flattery. You may be popular because you are great at sports, because you are gorgeous, or because you have lovely grades, but that does not quantify who you are and who you will become. It is easy to become misguided by the noise and distraction of wanting to be noticed in school, but like everything in life, this stage will soon pass.

“Always be aware of your environment”

It is difficult to know who has your interests at heart and who doesn’t. There will be a lot of people who come into your world with all sorts of claims. Listen to their opinion and observe their actions, but be careful whose company you choose and whose advice you listen to. Always be aware of your environment and what you can take from it.

“It takes time to reach your peak”

Even great minds like Einstein and Steve Jobs were not the most popular or most knowledgeable person in school. Becoming who you are meant to be is a gradual process. You may not be the admirable person you think you should be now, but don’t worry or be nervous about it. It takes time for the oak tree to establish its roots. Take your time and enjoy the process.

“Learn to be unique”

Many of your friends love to tailor their lives, appearance, and identity to what seems to be the latest trend. But this method won’t necessarily lead to success. Trying to be what you are not can end in tears. So try and make sure you approach life methodically, rather than mechanically. Learn to be unique and explain who you are to the world around you honestly- but never let the outside world define you.

“Be careful in the way you approach relationships”

Many people you meet in middle school you may never see again. Yet, learn to appreciate your relationships and give as much as you can to sustain them. The truth is that you don’t know how much your actions or words may influence the people around you- for better or worse. A kind thing you say to someone could stay with them always, serving as inspiration when they need to bounce back from dark times.

“Real friendships are not defined by technology”

We have so much sitting in between our friendships these days. There is social media, smartphones, chat apps- and it can be difficult to be able to really measure our friendships. Learn to reflect on your friendships. How much are you willing to give to the friendship and what do you really want from it? This kind of introspection offers value that goes beyond what technology has to offer.

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7 Ways to Think and Stay Young

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The old saying goes, “You’re only as young as you feel.” But we live in a tough world. How can we possibly keep a youthful outlook on life when we have bills to pay, mouths to feed, and a roof to keep over our heads? While it’s true that we’ll certainly never be able to relive the carefree days of our childhood, we can live our lives to their fullest potential, and in doing so stay as fresh and invigorated as we were when we were young.

1. Keep good friends around

Keeping good company will keep you socially happy and healthy throughout your life. On the other hand, nothing will drag you down more than socializing with people who hold you back from your full potential. Ironically, surrounding yourself with people who are intent on moving forward in life will keep you energized and make you feel as if you’re always in your prime. It’s when you find yourself surrounded by toxic friends who live in the past that you realize you’re not getting any younger, and you’ll start to feel as if the best days of your life have passed you by.

2. Continue learning

Saying someone is “old-fashioned” is just a nice way of saying their behind the times. If you get into the mindset that you’re “too old” to learn something (like how to use Windows 10 or an iPhone), you’ll certainly feel that you’re past your prime. We live in a world in which education and knowledge is literally at our fingertips, and it’s never been easier to pick up a new skill or hobby. Make it a habit to learn something new every day, and you’ll continue feeling sharp and ready to take on the world. Soon enough, you’ll be showing your children tips and tricks on the iPhone 6!

3. Enjoy the little things

When we were kids, we jumped in puddles, rolled down hills, and ate snowflakes falling from the sky. I’m not saying you, as a grown adult, should do these things habitually (except eating snowflakes; you’re never too old for that). But you should never overlook the small things in life. Celebrate your good hair days. Feel victorious when you hit every green light on the way home from work. Actively look for things to enjoy in your life; no matter how much may be going wrong, there will always be something to smile about if you look hard enough.

4. Exercise

Nothing will make you feel old more than not being able to physically do something you were able to do when you were younger. The saying “it’s like riding a bike” is a misnomer; if you haven’t ridden a bike in years, you might remember how to keep your balance on it, but you probably won’t make it more than a mile or two before you start to feel the burn. Do your best to get to the gym as much as possible, especially as you get older. Your body will continue to get more and more fragile as you age, but you can still stay in as good a shape as you possibly can.

5. Keep laughing

You’re never too old to get a case of the giggles. Just watch any sitcom outtake clips on YouTube for proof of that. What’s the point of living if you’re going to take life too seriously? Just because you have obligations in life that you might not really want to take care of doesn’t mean you can’t have fun along the way. Like I said before, look for the little things in life to enjoy, and don’t suppress the raw emotion that a hysterical situation elicits within you. Never let yourself get to a point that you can’t let go and fall into hysterics every once in a while.

6. Don’t take guilt trips

Everyone makes mistakes. Constantly harping on yourself for missteps you’ve made in the past will drag you down and keep you from attaining your full potential. And when this happens, you lose precious moments of your life that you’ll never get back. Of course, this leads to a vicious cycle in which you continue to look back on your past in a negative way, and in turn become depressed about your future. You should definitely learn from your past mistakes, but don’t let these mistakes ruin your future as well.

7. Remember when you were young, and pass it on

When my father and grandfather tell stories of their youth, I see a twinkle in their eye showing they remember these days that happened forty to sixty years ago as if they were yesterday. It’s not so much that they’re pining for their youth, but that they’ve carried these cherished memories with them for so long and are able to bring them back to life by relaying them to me and my sister. You don’t want to tell these “back in my day” stories as if you’re disgruntled at how things have changed, but instead you want to pass on the fun activities you did as a child so a new generation can experience them as well. When you see your kids and grandchildren enjoying a pastime you remember enjoying back in your youth, you’ll instantly be transported back to the time in your life when stickball and fishing was all you had to worry about.

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10 Great Hacks To Make You Sleep Better

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Sleep is important to your success. This is why it becomes amusing to know that many are not getting as much sleep as they need. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the U.S., 40 million people suffer from chronic long term sleep disorders annually. It seems people are struggling to find sleep. To address such an issue here are some hacks that can prove useful.

1. Improve your breathing

What is popularly known as the “The 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise,” has been proven to promote better sleep. What this breathing exercise does for you is to regulate your breath.

According to Dr. Andrew Weil on his website, “Breathing strongly influences physiology and thought processes, including moods. By simply focusing your attention on your breathing and without doing anything to change it, you can move in the direction of relaxation.”

What this sleep hack does is silence your mind and eases it from distracting thoughts.

2. Take a warm bath before sleeping

A bath helps to cool your body temperature and embrace sleep. Once you come out from a bath a message is sent to your brain that you are ready for sleep. Although scientists cannot explain this phenomenon it appears, that having such a bath mimics our body temperature.

3. Keep your feet outside your blanket

You can sleep faster if you keep one or both feet outside of your blanket. Since our biological rhythms and temperatures fluctuate throughout the day, this hack seems ideal because when your body temperature starts to drop before you fall asleep, a cooler temperature will also help it induce sleepiness. The feeling you get from having your feet outside your blanket and embracing cooler temperature is similar to having a warm bath before you go to bed.

4. Avoid bright light before sleeping

Blue light from TVs, smartphones and computers can suppress the production of melatonin in the body. What may be stopping you from getting that sleep you need may be the screens you are staring at. You could try and dim the lights from your screens or wear amber tinted glasses to reduce the effects of such light.

5. Eat a decent meal of small, carb-filled supper before bed

Eating a small portion of food that is rich in carbohydrates can induce a good night sleep according to research. So try some bowl of cereal or a slice of toast before you go to bed.

6. Improve the darkness in your room

Light ticks the brain that it is time to be active and get things done. However the opposite becomes the case when light is reduced in the room. Your bedroom should not have any lights on whether from a TV or any electronic device if you want to get some sleep.

7. Improve the smell in your room

According to an article by Wall Street Journal sprinkling lavender oil on bedclothes could lull you to sleep. According to researchers at the University of Miami School of Medicine, the aroma in lavender has been shown “to slow down heart rate, slow blood pressure and put you in a parasympathetic state, which is a relaxed state.”

8. Have a list

Listing your problems and penning down possible solutions for them could help you get  the problem out of your head and focus on sleep. According to a study, this action makes you more relaxed for bed.

9. Use the 90 minute rule

Our brains completes several 90 minute cycles through different stages. So if you want to know the ideal time for sleeping take several counts of 90 minutes backwards to the ideal and appropriate time to sleep. For example waking up at 7 am should mean that you sleep around 10pm or 11:30 pm.

10. Avoid smoking before bedtime

Many smokers believe smoking keeps them relaxed. However since nicotine is a stimulant this may not be the best method to get sleep. Just like coffee you should expect to wake up several times throughout the night.

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10 Crazy Paradoxes That Will Blow Your Mind

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A paradox is a premise that contradicts itself. It’s a situation that seems to defy logic by producing an inconsistency that goes against common sense. Most logical paradoxes are known to be invalid arguments. However, they are still valuable for promoting critical thinking and sometimes proving a point by contradiction. Teasing your mind and question everything you think you know makes for great intellectual activity. Indeed, the closer you examine things, the more you’ll start to discover paradoxes all around you.

Here are some of the most fascinating paradoxes you should know about. These will boggle your mind every time you read or think about them. Enjoy!

1. Likely to exist means likely to be found, but where is everybody?

A mind-blowing paradox comes from the apparent contradiction that exists between the high probability of extraterrestrial civilizations being out there somewhere, and our lack of alien contact or evidence.

In a universe of infinite space, the odds of life existing on a planet other than Earth are pretty high. However, no confirmed signs of intelligence have been spotted outside Earth, either in our galaxy or in the more than 80 billion other galaxies of the observable universe.

Hence physicists Enrico Fermi’s famous question: “Where is everybody?”

2. Does an object that has all its components replaced remain the same object?

This is a classic paradox drawn from the ancient Greeks’ original Ship of Theseus Paradox. It was famously described by Plutarch to get at the contradictions of identity. It goes like this:

You have an old wooden ship. You remove a plank from the ship one at a time and replace it with a new plank. You do this with every piece until the old ship is completely replaced. Is it still the same ship? If you construct a new ship out of the old pieces you took off the first ship, which one is the original ship?

A newer version of this paradox that drives the contradictions of identity closer to home replaces the “ship” with the “brain”. If you somehow quickly replaced parts of your brain material with identical clones and made a separate brain with the old brain material, would that be you too? Would you still be you?

3. Time travel (if possible) would result in some extremely strange situations.

Consider the following version of the popular science fiction themed Bootstrap Paradox, involving time travel and bringing an object or information back in time:

A stranger appears out of nowhere and hands you a strange device. The stranger then runs away and you never see them again. You discover the device handed to you is a time machine. After holding it for a while, you get bored. Instead of getting rid of it, you figure: “Hey, why not give it to myself?” So you go back in time and give yourself the device hence starting the whole cycle again.

Where did the device come from?

4. Can you travel back in time and prevent yourself from being born?

Another famous example of a time travel paradox is the Grandfather Paradox. In this mind blowing scenario, someone travels back in time and kills their own grandfather to prevent their own birth.

Think about this: A girl goes back in time and kills her grandfather before he has a chance to meet her grandmother and sire her father. Since her grandfather is dead, the girl was never born.

If she were never born, how could she kill her grandfather?

5. Can an omnipotent being defy the laws of logic and be both omnipotent and not omnipotent?

This version of the Omnipotent Being Paradox arises from the simple but strange exclamation: “Let God Almighty create a stone, which he himself is not capable of lifting!”

Can God be omnipotent and not at the same time? How does free will even exist if God is omniscient?

These are just some of the many paradoxes that arise when you try to apply logic to definitions of God or an almighty being.

6. If destiny designed a master plan which defines everything that is to happen, isn’t it useless to go to a doctor, for example?

According to this Lazy-bones Paradox, if you are ill and it is your destiny to regain health, then you will regain your health whether you visit a doctor or not.

If it is your destiny not to regain health, then seeing a doctor can’t help you. This is a paradox that might arise if you reject the notion of an omnipotent God or a supreme being who’s in charge.

How would you question this premise or supposition?

7. A heterological word is a word that does not describe itself. Does “heterological” describe itself?

For example, “verb” is a heterological word since it is not a verb (as opposed to “noun,” which is itself a noun). Similarly, “long” is a heterological word since it is not a long word (as opposed to “short,” which is actually a short word). So then, is “heterological” a heterological word?

This is one of many self-referential paradoxes that have kept mathematicians and logicians up at night.

If “heterological” were a word that didn’t describe itself, then it would describe itself. However, if it did describe itself, then it would not be a word that described itself.

8. If someone says “I always lie,” are they telling the truth? Or are they lying?

The great stoical logician Chrysippos came up with a paradox popularly known as the Liar Paradox. It tells of a Cretan who sails to Greece. Upon arriving, he is greeted by Greek men on the shore and says, “All Cretans are liars.” Did he speak the truth, or did he lie? A week later, the Cretan sails to Greece again and says, “All Cretans are liars and all I say is the truth.”

The Greeks were truly puzzled. None were more confused than the grammarian and critic Philetus of Cos, who is said to have died of exhaustion while attempting to resolve the paradox.

Maybe we should just let this one go unsolved then? No?

9. A barber shaves everyone who does not shave himself, but no one else. Who shaves the barber?

This paradox is similar to the Liar Paradox. It was formulated by English logician, mathematician, and philosopher Bertrand Russell to emphasize the importance of establishing careful rules when creating sets. His Set Theoretic Paradox would lay the groundwork for 20th-century mathematics.

It goes like this: There is only one barber in town. The barber (who is a man) shaves only those men who do not shave themselves, but no one else.

Who shaves the barber? Does he shave himself?

10. What happens when an unstoppable object faces an immovable object?

An ancient story is told of a man who was walking through a market when he came across a merchant. The merchant advertised two of his wares boldly: “This spear can pierce any shield!” and “This shield can block any spear!”

The man contemplates these opposing statements for a moment. He then walks up to the merchant and asks, “What happens when you pierce the shield with the spear?” The merchant had no answer to this question.

A more recent account of an unstoppable object facing an immovable object involves a bullet and armor. Imagine there is a bullet which can shoot through any barrier. There is also some absolutely bullet-proof armor which no object can penetrate.

What will happen if such a bullet hits such an armor?

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10 Things Only Saxophone Players Would Understand

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This article is dedicated to my fellow musicians who play saxophone, and more specifically to those who view it as their life. The reasons why we started playing saxophone are endless, ranging from because we loved the sound that it created, to just because we admired how shiny it was. Whether you started playing saxophone 50 years ago or yesterday, you are a part of this exclusive group.

Here are ten common things that saxophone players can relate to:

1. You Have Attempted To Play ‘Careless Whisper’

This song is most commonly recognized more by its tune than its title. Every single one of us has either tried to play it or has listened to the song and thought to ourselves that that is what we sound like when we play. We are used to people asking us to play it for them. We are also used to people asking us if we have watched the Sexy Sax Man play ‘Careless Whisper’ as a prank on YouTube. The answer is: yes, and I never want to watch that video again.

2. You Have a Hard Time Standing Still While Playing

When I play saxophone for performances, I never sit. Standing is more professional-looking, but it also gives me the freedom to really get into my music. Saxophone players never stand still while playing. We move from side to side, and sometimes bend forward if it’s a really high note or we want to emphasize a note. We are entranced by the music we play, and our passion for those moments shine through when we perform.

3. You Have Nightmares About Playing Six Flats

Saxophone players don’t play flats very often. I mean, we mostly never play flats unless we are playing in F major or B flat major keys. We are most comfortable playing sharps. Since we don’t have much experience playing in those wasteland keys, when we look at a key signature and spot more than two flats, we get a most uneasy feeling in our gut. But since we usually don’t play flats, most commonly that scenario only occurs during a nightmare.

4. You Need Space

When I played the baritone sax, I had a story to tell for every dent I had punctured in that thing. Although I tell the stories in a humorous light, every time I have bumped my saxophone on something I have died a little inside. For those of you who play the smaller saxophones (soprano and alto), you understand that when I say you need space, I mean that you need space so that nothing ever touches a key on your precious saxophone. But for those of you who play the beast saxophones (tenor and specifically baritone) you understand that as meaning, “If I don’t have space, I can’t move.” Fellow band members who don’t take you seriously when you say this, will probably take you seriously after you have died a little inside.

5. You Have a Large Lung Capacity

Depending on how high of a number your reed is, the air that you blow into your saxophone varies. Even if you are still on a Rico two and a half, you are still going to have to give it a generous amount of your carbon dioxide. To make it through a song, musicians learn how to breathe from their diaphragm. Although that helps, the song ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ is going to be the death of me (the saxophone holds tied whole notes for the majority of the song)!

6. Your Cork Grease Gets Mistaken for Chap Stick

Does this scenario sound familiar? You say, “Mom, I need chap stick.” Mom says, “I just saw some in your room.” You reply saying, “Uh, that’s cork grease.” Or how about when you reach your hand back behind you for your chap stick during band practice, and accidentally grab the cork grease and carelessly rub it all over your lips. It’s OK; they look a lot alike.

7. Your Reed Defines Your Day

Having a reed crack ruins your day. Reeds are expensive, plus it takes time to break another one in. The taste of a new reed is not appealing either. To be honest, reeds are the main reason I have trust issues. When a reed squeaks, that means it basically just gave me permission to hate it. Also, saying, “No, I don’t have any reeds left,” to a reed-less saxophone player is the biggest lie ever.

8. Your Relationship Status With Your Neck Strap Is Complicated

Your neck strap doesn’t always have your back. We all have been punched in the chin while adjusting our neck strap. Plus your next strap really does leave a mark on you. After playing, we all feel self-conscious about how red our neck looks- not to mention that neck strap tan line from marching band practice. But at the end of the day, your neck strap sometimes manages to stay with you. Like when you put your saxophone away and realize that you never took the neck strap off. If you don’t admit to doing that, you are lying.

9. You Are Louder Than Everyone Else

Your band director is always reminding you to play quieter so everyone can hear the clarinets. That doesn’t make any sense to us, because we always claim that we have the melody. Since high numbered reeds take more air, it is really difficult to balance your air input and volume. Maybe the reason why saxophones cannot participate in orchestras is because playing soft is not our forte.

10. Your Own Spit Drips on You

Walking out of the bathroom with toilet paper attached to your shoe may actually not be as embarrassing as walking around school with a wet spot on your pants. Although usually the spit drains out of the bell of the saxophone (spit valve for baritone sax), unfortunately it sometimes manages to leak through the lower key buttons. This phenomenon happens unexpectedly, and cannot be prevented.

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7 Things You Should Keep In Mind to Bring Sunshine to Your Life Every Day

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When you wake up, what kind of mood are you in? How strong are you on the inside?

Take a deep breath and awake to the beautiful promises the world has in store for you. You need not despair or be afraid. Every moment, every hour, is meant to be cherished and to be fulfilling. Here are 7 things to keep in mind to bring sunshine to your life every day:

There is an opportunity to start all over again

“The only joy in the world is to begin.” – Cesare Pavese

Life is more of a marathon than a sprint. You have the opportunity to start your race again every morning. This fresh start that is presented to you allows you to have the chance to get everything beautiful that you desire in life.

You have a responsibility to define your journey

“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.” – Winnie the Pooh

It is not about what others think of you, but what you think of yourself. Your body and mind belongs to you. Embrace your being and appreciate what is yours. Rather than live another person’s life, live yours. This is the responsibility you have to yourself.

Your relationships should be defined by you

“Two things you will never have to chase: True friends & true love.” ― Mandy Hale

You are an average of your closest relationships. Learn to choose and identify relationships that are suitable for the identity that you want to have. Such relationships will help to propel you towards your desired success, rather than take you away from it.

Your happiness is about what is within- not what you’re without

“It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.” – Dale Carnegie

People chase dreams, money, and love. Rather than seek what joy already exists in their soul, they seek fulfillment and satisfaction from what is afar. Learn to be content and happy with everything you have, and watch your self-esteem and courage soar. Happiness is a state of mind- not what can be found in obtaining any particular possession.

How much belief you have in yourself is what determines your vision

“You are essentially who you create yourself to be and all that occurs in your life is the result of your own making.”― Stephen Richards

What makes the eagle an incredible predator is its vision. But at the core of an eagle’s life is its ability to fly and soar. Learn to fly above the odds and the challenges that life will deal you. Do not be afraid. Believe in yourself. Sure, you will make mistakes. But mistakes will only ultimately strengthen your conviction that you are headed in the right direction.

Never lose touch with the present

“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.” – Epictetus

Many people get consumed by what will happen tomorrow. They wonder what it will be like in days or years to come. The truth is that each moment is the only ‘now’ we have; we can either appreciate it- when it occurs- or throw it away. What is in the present is yours to control. It is yours to appreciate, enjoy, and fall in love with.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” ― Abraham Lincoln

There are a lot of things that are out of our control. Getting worked up over the small things will never really make much of a difference. So next time you find yourself enraged by that lady who caught you off on the highway, let her be. There is no point in getting worked up or stressed out over things that are ultimately insignificant.

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Things That Only Parents Of Threenagers Can Relate To

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You might think you are out of the clear after year two, but beware that you may be entering a similar phase that is like the terrible twos, only heightened. The new term “threenagers” is a way of accurately labeling a toddler that is going through their third year with the attitude of a teen. And you thought you had at least a decade until you had to deal with a teenager…. Here are some signs that you are dealing with your very own threenager:

1. You hear a resounding “no” anytime you ask them to do something

From a request to wash their hands for dinner to cleaning up their toys, the N-O word seems to be on repeat at all times in your house. The only time that you hear a yes is when it has to do with the TV or chocolate. Go figure.

2. You have come to realize it is their way or the highway

When your child finally gets around to the chore that you requested them do, they will only do it their way. Forget any suggestions on how important it is to carefully pour their cereal, since they will not listen and, as predicted, it ends up mostly on the floor.

3. You have to help them with multiple daily wardrobe changes

Suddenly your tot seems to have strong opinions about what they want to wear and it changes hourly. Getting out the door in the morning is a constant struggle, because just when you think they found an outfit they like, they will change their mind again.

4. You have a few main dishes on rotation

For breakfast it is always Cheerios, for lunch it is either PB&J or turkey (both without the crusts), and for dinner only chicken nuggets or spaghetti is acceptable for your toddler’s palette. You tried once to suggest lasagna, but that did not go over very well at all.

5. You realize naptime is non-existent

You long for the days that your toddler used to fall asleep, as if on cue, at the same time every day. You wonder if it was all just a dream as you watch your child have their daily meltdowns that now replace their rest time.

6. You are constantly being talked out of time-outs

You never realized how convincing your tot can be until they began to talk themselves out of spending some quiet time in their room. It is hard to constantly say no to their sweet faces, especially when they say “you are the best parent in the whole world.”

7. You have to let them do everything themselves

The new-found independence of a toddler can be downright exhausting, but sometimes you just have to let it go and let them do it for themselves without assisting them first.

8. You have developed a effective game plan for dealing with meltdowns anywhere

Shopping markets, friend’s houses, and the kitchen floor are all places that you have learned to fine tune your reaction to temper tantrums. You have also developed a tolerance for high-pitched screaming, though it is clear in public that everyone around you has not.

9. You have gotten in shape from chasing them around all day

There are have been times when you feel that you have not stopped being in motion since you woke up in the morning. Your toddler seems to have endless energy and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

10. You have pulled out bribes more than usual

You know bribing your child with chocolate or an extra hour of TV time is not ideal, but sometimes when you are at your wit’s end, you do what you need to do.

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