Last week I wrote a lighthearted piece about my wife’s obsession with Halloween. And I posted this terrifying clip from “Twin Peaks,” featuring a character I truly consider to be the most frightening creation of all time.
Those posts were meant to be fun, and so is Halloween. Being scared is fun (unless you’re my wife or my Indian friend or my older brother Mark) and eating candy is fun and dressing up is fun (especially if you’re my wife or my Indian friend). And having a little kid with whom to experience Halloween makes all of those things even more enjoyable.
Obviously, today actually is Halloween, and while this post may be violating the generally accepted tenor of the holiday, it seems an appropriate time to discuss one of the toughest aspects of being a parent.
It’s completely and utterly terrifying.
Halloween is my wife’s favorite holiday, besides Christmas and her birthday and her anniversary and date nights and Independence Day and New Year’s. (She loves holidays.) No one escapes her wrath, i.e., wearing a costume. Not even our young son.
Last year we forced him into a lion outfit. He wasn’t even two months old and about the only things he could do were cry and shit, yet it was 100% clear to everyone involved that wearing a lion costume was NOT something he was enthusiastic about.
It doesn’t matter, though. We’re more than used to hearing him cry. Besides, on Halloween the constant screaming just blends right in! So my wife is at it again.
Last week, the debut clip was from Road House. It was less than 10 seconds of absurdity and violence from one of the most absurd (elite bouncers!) and violent (jugular rips!) movies of the 80s. This week, in honor of Halloween, I’m taking a different tack.
Actually, it’s not any kind of competition at all. But that doesn’t stop some parents from treating it like one.
Last week I wrote a post about the self-loathing I felt upon stating my son’s age in months. The first comment I received was a joke (I hope) about how my son I should get my son checked out because he’s not yet walking on his own.
Parenting is hard. Taking care of a baby is inconvenient, sophisticated business, especially when it’s your first. Everyone needs some help, a little advice, some points of reference to be reassured they’re not doing it wrong, and that information typically comes from three places: the grandparents, other parents in the same situation, and books/the internet.
The problem is that while such sources can be very helpful, they are double-edged swords. And the constant comparisons and check-marking are a primary reason why.
This entire blog is dedicated to my attempt at staving off the inevitability of becoming something I hate:
One of those people who is known as a parent first and a person second. One of those people who can’t seem to talk about anything except kids and kid-related stuff. One of those people who goes to bed at 8pm because parenting is so tiring, who stops having fun (read: drinking) because parenting is so all-consuming; who stops eating peanuts because his kid is allergic and might die. One of those people who only listens to kids music, who only watches children’s programming or who only hangs out with other parents.
Or one of those people who relays his child’s age in months. Today, I failed.
I do and say a lot of inappropriate things around my son, things I convince myself are okay since he’s barely 1 and there’s a) zero chance he’ll remember them and b) little chance they’ll impact him in the long-run.
But I know that these things will only become MORE inappropriate as he grows in age and understanding just as I know I won’t be able to stop doing and saying most of them for the foreseeable future.
So, with today’s debut of a new feature, I am going to try and get some of the best examples out of my system, one week at a time.
I’m dying to say that to my son. If only he could talk back, so I could harshly put him down. The ability to use verbal abuse is one of the many privileges of being a parent and I’m looking forward to – pun intended – abusing it.
The irony is that when he’s a teenager he’ll turn the tables on me with never-ending sarcasm and constant disrespectfulness; but that’s when I bust out the PHYSICAL ABUSE, Good Will Hunting-style. If there’s anything Papa Hunting knew how to do, it was how to beat the genius into somebody, whether he used a belt, stick or wrench.
But back to my son. He isn’t talking back just yet, but he is talking, at least a little. Or maybe it’s more like “talk.”
So there’s this new show called “Up All Night” which is about a couple adjusting to the change in lifestyle brought on by having a baby. Amazingly original premise! I was intrigued, mostly because I like Will Arnett (mostly because I love GOB), so MomandBuried and I gave it a shot.
The show has had some moments, but one thing in particular has been bugging me. In two of the three episodes that have aired, the couple has called a babysitter after 10pm (or so), in order to go out for some impromptu partying. I know this is a TV show and all, but come on. The show is about how parenting cramps your lifestyle, except so far it hasn’t seemed to cramp theirs one bit. Also, I’m not really convinced they actually like their child.
I’m all for partying, but impromptu anything doesn’t really work when you have a kid, especially in the middle of the night. And I’m sorry, but in what reality are babysitters A) available at a moment’s notice and B) available at 10pm? We struggle to get babysitters a week in advance, and even when we have one all booked up well in advance, it doesn’t always work out. This past weekend we had a babysitter arranged for the middle of the day on Saturday. She showed up almost 90 minutes late, totally scuttling our plans for the afternoon/evening.
The idea that someone can arrange a babysitter after 8pm, with no advance warning, strikes me as almost as absurd as the size of the apartments everyone lived in on “Friends.” Monica and Rachel’s bathroom was bigger than my entire apartment. And I live in Brooklyn!