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Wild Child

Mar 09, 2016 11:36AM ● Published by Bryan Scott

By Peri Kinder

Toddlers and raccoons are eerily similar. They eat food off the floor, have nuclear levels of energy, and they’re very clever, without having a shred of common sense. When I learned my daughter was expecting her first child this spring, I thought she should practice by raising a raccoon. Here’s my advice.

When holding your little raccoon for the first time, you’ll be awestruck. You’ll touch her tiny fingers, gaze into her dark brown eyes and sniff her furry head. She’ll cuddle into you and all will be right with the world—for about seven minutes. Then she’ll get hungry, and stay hungry for nine years.

As you’re breastfeeding, you’ll feel that wonderful bond between the two of you, the love flowing and “$#*&!!!” Do not punch your baby raccoon in the face when she bites you.

As your little raccoon goes from crawling to running away from you at the store while stuffing candy in her mouth, you’ll wonder if you’ll ever stop being tired or ever spend another moment not worrying. The answer is no. 

All your clothes will be smeared with peanut butter, yogurt and snot. You’ll wear them anyway. When she shaves the dog or colors the tub with Sharpies, take it in stride.

One day, you’ll rock little raccoon to sleep and place her gently in her crib. You’ll be relieved you can use the bathroom alone for the first time in days. Before you get comfortable, little raccoon has tunneled out of the crib and is frantically clawing at the door, shoving her fingers under the door and doing her best to chew through the door to get to you.

Bath time will be a wet lesson in patience. Wrestle little raccoon into the tub, distracting her with toys as you lather her furry body. Keep her calm as the shampoo drips into her eyes and she shrieks while crawling up your arm, soaking your last semi-clean T-shirt.

In the middle of the night, you’ll be anxious about little raccoon. You’ll sneak into her room like a ninja, to make sure she’s safe. As you tiptoe back to bed and step on a wooden block and slam your hip on the doorknob, you can’t swear, because not only will little raccoon wake up with an ear-splitting scream, but she’ll use the swear word exclusively for eight months.

Little raccoon will love to make cookies. She’ll push the chair to the counter, climb up next to you and turn the mixer on full blast, shooting sugar and eggs everywhere. She’ll screech and jump onto your chest (whether you’re ready or not) and grab your hair so she won’t fall. Your hair will eventually grow back.

Strap little raccoon into a stroller with a broken wheel and steer through a crowded mall with one hand, carrying a 25-pound diaper bag. When she escapes and scampers away, ignore the judging glances from childless women.

Prepare yourself. You’ll leave little raccoon playing cheerfully, only to come back three minutes later to find she’s disappeared. You’ll search every room, closet and drawer to no avail. Immediately after you hysterically call the police, little raccoon will come stumbling down the hall after napping under the towels in the laundry basket. You won’t know whether to scream, laugh or cry; so you’ll do all three.

But even with toys flushed in the toilet, melted crayons in the dryer and the layer of stickiness that coats your entire house, you’ll love little raccoon more than you ever imagined. And one day, when she has her own little raccoon, you can pass your hard-earned advice along to her.

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