18 years, 40 weeks prior: Hope and pray God blesses you with a child.
18 years prior: Be blessed with a baby girl/little sister for your 3 year old son.
17 years prior: Wean baby off of bottle onto sippy cup. Baby bottles are not included in most college food plans.
16 years prior: Wean toddler off sippy cup to cup with lid and straw. Cups with lids and straws are widely available in most college food plans.
15 years prior: Do not giggle the first time she drops her spoon and says, “&%^$#@”. It will only encourage her. Smile sweetly when strangers adore your child: “She is THE most beautiful little girl I’ve ever seen. She must look like her father.”
14 years prior: Enroll in region’s best Pre-K program, where she will learn important higher educational skills such as standing in line, waiting her turn, being away from Mommy for more than 3 hours at a time and biting others is bad.
13 years prior: Enroll in region’s premiere elementary school where she’ll learn important higher educational skills such as ABC’s, 123′s, cutting and pasting, coloring within the lines, counting lunch money, waiting her turn, being away from Mommy more than 7 hours at a time and biting others is still bad. Mommy will learn to maneuver school drop off and pick up lines and take a third job to pay the tuition.
12 years prior: Be thrilled when your mother in law buys more pearls for your daughter’s add-a-pearl necklace (even though she now has more than yours which was started over 30 year ago, ahem). She’ll need these in any reputable sorority house.
11 years prior: Learn key phrases to avoid at all costs if you wish to refrain from scarring your child for life; such as: “What’s wrong with the crayons we bought last year?” or “But saddle shoes are a timeless classic!”
10 years prior: By now you should have buried and replaced, without your daughter’s knowledge, a minimum of 8 dwarf hamsters named Betsy.
9 years prior: When she asks why Betsy won’t come out of the toilet paper tube for the 2nd day in a row, tell the truth. Dump your one good pair of dress shoes out of their protective box and hold your first backyard family funeral. Realize Fido is getting up in years. Consider buying a puppy.
Tune in next week for the conclusion of “How to Prepare a Girl for College” www.karenrinehart.net