We all joke about how there’s no instruction manual for parenting, and we desperately wish there was. The closest thing is the internet – that all-powerful, dispenser of knowledge we look to for all our parenting questions.

We think: I wish someone had warned me that parenting would be so hard. And really, everyone warns us, but just like we don’t read the disclaimers we see in fine print, or listen as they’re listed on commercials, we’re probably not paying attention.

But assuming that we did read disclaimers, wouldn’t it be nice if children came with some? Since they don’t, I’ve compiled my own list of disclaimers that I believe apply to children, as much as they apply to the products with which they’re actually associated.

Maybe if I had a list like this prior to having kids, I would’ve thought much more seriously about using protection. 

1 | Warning: May explode or leak

Leakage from multiple orifices at any time, mostly when you least expect it. Leakage may end up in your face.

2 | May be messier than appears at first glance

Aren’t newborns so adorable? Then they grow, and make messes so disastrous a hurricane would be envious.

3 | Loud noise; may cause hearing loss

No wonder I can’t hear – it’s a direct result of having screaming kids.

4 | Do not disturb

Or breathe, or make any sudden movements near a sleeping baby. It will wake up and scream. See #3 above.

5 | No substitutions, no exchanges, no refunds 

Sorry, you’re stuck with the kid you created. 

6 | Handle with care 

Little bodies, little emotions, and little minds require non-stop care.

7 | Price and selection may vary

Ain’t that the truth?

8 | Slow children ahead

Slow to wake, slow to get their shoes on, slow to put away their toys, slow to eat their broccoli. 

9 | Actual results may vary

No guarantees, sucker. Enjoy your monster! Er, I mean creation.

10 | Proceed with caution

Also, proceed with trepidation, anxiety, and low finances.

11 | Small parts included.

Babies are small. Don’t lose them!

12 | Do not expose to rain

Or they might turn into Gremlins. Never mind, they already are Gremlins.

13 | No purchase necessary

You pay in blood, my friend. You pay in sweat and tears. The other costs are your freedom, your sanity, and your sex life.

14 | Batteries not included

No batteries for this model. Kids are fueled by consuming insane amounts of food and their parents broken dreams.

15 | Keep away from fire or flame

Kids will burn your life to the ground. 

16 | Subject to change without notice

Without warning, and just when you think you have a handle on them, kids turn into a completely different person – mood swings and all.

17 | Reproduction strictly prohibited

I wish I had been given this disclaimer before baby making.

18 | See label for further instructions

You wish! Ha! 

19 | If defects are discovered, do not attempt to fix them yourself

That’s what therapy is for, folks!

20 | Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental

Is it? I though it was DNA. Or maybe it’s just bad luck.