1.  Start your shopping early. If you’re organized enough to have a list, and actually remember it when you go to the store, your baby may decide to grab it out of your hands, rip it into pieces and stick it in his mouth before you’ve had time to say mashed potatoes.  With the list decimated, and you standing their like a stooge trying to remember what was on it, he may very well let out a never-ending-earth-shattering scream  because he wants out of his car seat NOW!!!  Which will have the other holiday shoppers speed dialling children’s aid…at which point your choices are to a) leave your child in the car seat and continue speed shopping, ignoring the screaming and getting out of the store as fast as humanly possible (in which case you’ll probably forget something). b). Try pushing a cart, and shopping with your now happy as can be  20 pound 5 month old in your arms, doing power squats and yoga poses as you reach down for that last carton of eggs (in which case you’ll be so tired, you’ll probably forget something). c) Leave your shopping cart, and run out of the store in shame and come back without your kid when your partner is home to baby-sit.

2.  Clean everything off your counters, and I mean EVERYTHING.  If you think its out of reach….its not. You’ll learn this the hard way by first a squeal of delight, then clattering, then having to comfort your little one when the noise that he made scared him.

3.  Always set your timer…that comforting (see #2) could take 15 minutes. That quick diaper change could be the meanest thing you’ve ever seen. Your smoke alarm will remind you that that Pumpkin Pie that should have been golden brown is now black as night.

4.  Keep our baby away from the food.  Projectile vomit does and will happen.  Your guests might think its cottage cheese, but you’ll know the truth! (For all the Hamels out there…is this the true origin of our favourite “Irishman’s Puke” side dish?)                                                                                          Max is 5 months and 1 week.

5.  The jolly jumper can be your best friend…or your worst enemy…especially when your kid goes from jumping happily away to deciding that he desperately wants out during that critical moment when you’ve got  pie dough all over your hands.

6. 5 month olds (at least mine) can be incredibly determined, bossy and flexible with go-go gadget limbs that extend and reach to incredible lengths. Even when the go-go gadget arms don’t work, the toys that are within his reach can be used as missiles, projectiles and slingshots….you’d be amazed at how accurate 5 month olds can be. I repeat EVERYTHING OFF THE COUNTERS!

7.  Take advantage of those oh so precious nap times.  You’ll accomplish in 15 minutes what would normally take you hours.  You’ll feel like a supermom on speed.

8.  Have fun!  The kitchen is a world of new tastes, touches and smells for your baby!  Worse case scenario have a good pizza joint number and a nice bottle of wine on hand.  Chances are your guests are actually more excited about seeing how much your baby has grown and his newest tricks than your pumpkin pie and dried out Turkey anyways!

Do you have any lessons to share to help me  and other mommas and poppas tackle this weekend?