I don’t consider myself the superstitious type. I occasionally knock some wood and usually try to say “rabbit rabbit” at the start of every month, but that’s about it.
Of course, that was before I became a dad.
These days I might as well be Shirley Maclaine for all the bullshit I find myself believing. There’s just NO WAY a filthy anarchist monkey like Curious George gets invited to that many parties, but I just keep playing along.
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.
The day after Mother’s Day, it’s almost time for MotherBoy Day.
“I have lupus.”
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.
A few weeks back, after abandoning potty training due to the onset of trauma, Mom and Buried and I took a quick run to Target.
While there, we decided to buy some off-brand diapers to get us through the next few weeks, enough time for Detective Munch to emerge from his PTSD (Potty Traumatic Stress Disorder) and get back on the potty train.
The cheapo diapers turned out to not be the best idea, as they were cheapo for a reason: they leaked worse than Julian Assange.
Which got me thinking. Maybe I shouldn’t shortchange my son.
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.
There are certain environments in which it’s not healthy for children to grow up: brothels, crack houses, religious cults, tour buses, Staten Island, etc.But you don’t have to be a pimp or Tommy Lee to create a negative atmosphere for your kids. Sometimes you just have to be in a bad mood.
It’s impossible to be a human being in this day and age and not get pissed off once in a while. But unless you’re the unbalanced coach of a college basketball team or my old college roommate, you probably know how to handle your anger. At least, you think you do, until you have a toddler.
I don’t care how mild-mannered you are, occasionally you’re gonna get mad. Maybe not at your child, but probably in his vicinity, and often about stuff he does.
Then you’ll really find out how good your anger management really is. (Not Charlie Sheen’s “Anger Management,” or even Adam Sandler’s. They’re both terrible.)