Everything I have learned since becoming a Mom, I learned the hard way, and I like to think that I am a better parent for it. Although I believe that we all need to stumble on our own from time to time, I would still like to offer up one piece of advice in order to save you from making this one simple mistake that all parents inevitably end up making:
Don’t ever, EVER smell your child’s mittens, especially not during that awful snow/slush/mud period at the beginning of spring. You might think that your precious snuggle bug would never be so bold as to stick their entire mitten-clad hand into a mud puddle, but trust me, they will. Is it brown? Is it wet? Is it disgusting? Your child will touch it. Hell, they will probably roll around in it. Then they will bring their frighteningly rotten mittens home and dump them into a corner to dry out (or not, because do mittens ever really dry?).
Your child will wear these mittens day after day until one day you will peer at them suspiciously and wonder if it might be time to give them a quick wash. You might even be tempted to give them a sniff, just to be sure, but for the love of God, do NOT put your nose anywhere near them! Instead, imagine that something feral and foul has crawled up inside your child’s mittens, drowned itself in a puddle of sour tuna juice, then died a slow and horrible death. Listen, just grab your hazmat suit and hustle those suckers straight to the washing machine. Wash them. Burn them. Do whatever you feel is best, but just DON’T SMELL THEM!!