Children don’t understand decorum.
They don’t know that society has rules. That society demands you behave in a certain way in certain places. It’s called being civilized.
Children are not civilized. My two-year-old might as well be a rabid animal most of the time.
Getting him to behave the way one is supposed to behave is impossible.
Everybody has that one friend for whom they’re constantly making excuses.
“He’s not normally like this” or “He’s cool once you get to know him” or “He’s got a weird sense of humor.”
After a while, though, it starts to become apparent that despite your friendship, that’s an awful lot of caveats. Maybe it’s time for the guy to start taking some of the blame for his own behavior.
Lately, that’s how I feel about my son.
Despite the fact that I could quote Cape Fear ALL DAY LONG and just pretend I’m having a conversation with my toddler —
“I can out-learn you. I can out-read you. I can out-think you. I can out-philosophize you. And I’m gonna outlast you! ”
— that’s not what the title of this post refers to.
This post is about Other Parents and the way they use their experiences to scare you.
Having kids is not for everyone. After reading my blog, some people might even say it’s not for me. (Some people even have, god bless ’em!)
There are moments when I wonder if it’s right for me, usually when my son is screaming about something and we’re out of beer. But those moments are fleeting.
I’ve always known I wanted to have kids, though I suppose it can be tough to know whether that was a true desire or the kind of checkpoint-based “maturity” and conformity Tyler Durden was so angry about (it’s just what you do). Fortunately, I knew I’d made the right choice when my son was born and I didn’t have even the slightest urge to split, and that choice is validated every day.
But it is a choice. And there’s nothing wrong with going the other way.
I remember when my son learned to say “No.” The moment haunts my dreams.
Much like the discovery of lying, when a child learns to say “no,” it’s another step on the road to having a teenager. Another step on the road from merely “keeping your offspring alive” to actually “raising a human being.” Another step on the road from having low blood pressure and a healthy head of hair to looking, and heart-attacking, like Roger Sterling.
As a new parent with grand ideas of how you’ll raise the perfect child and do everything right, you initially try to limit how often you say “no” in the hopes that your kid won’t pick up on its power and start wielding it himself. But he does. He certainly has in my house.
And now it’s no longer about avoiding no; it’s about reclaiming it. Because these days, the word is all his.
As you may or may not know, I tweet a lot. Most of my tweets are at my son’s expense, some are at my expense, and a handful are at my wife’s expense, much to her chagrin. Some are true, some are pure fiction, and some – perhaps most – are true-ish.
Like this one, which is among my most retweeted:
“The fact that I just angrily yelled ‘You’re not the boss of me!’ at my two-year-old is a pretty clear indication that he definitely is.”
I don’t believe I’ve ever yelled that at my son; at least not out loud. But it’s 100% true, just the same.