No one wants my parenting advice. But like just about everyone else, I won’t stop giving it. The difference is, where most people celebrate their “expertise,” I revel in my ignorance.
I’ve had an advice section for a few weeks now, a page where I can field your question, queries, queests about how to best raise your kids. The difference between me and most advice columnists is that I don’t pretend to be an authority; I admit I don’t know shit about parenting. But at least I have kid.
Those people that don’t even have kids but insist on telling you how to handle yours? Wow.
I’m a Red Sox fan. I watched Game 6 and I endured as much of the pre-aughts misery as any other fan born in the 70s. I’m also a Dolphins fan, and while I got to watch Marino, there hasn’t been a lot to cheer about since. But I stick around; I continue to root for my teams.
I watched “Lost” all the way through, gritting my teeth through the meandering episodes of Seasons 2 and 3 and sticking it out to the end, and I have fond memories of the show, even after that terrible final episode. And I somehow still watch “The Killing,” even after last year’s season-long tease and this year’s consistently stupid storytelling.
I guess I’m a glutton for punishment. I take all the crap my favorite teams and TV shows have to give and I keep coming back for more. As a fan, you just have to take a lot of abuse.
But it’s nothing compared to what you endure as a parent.
This holiday weekend marks the beginning of the summer season. Everyone agrees that summer is fun, right? Of course, when you have a toddler, summer isn’t quite the same as it used to be.
Going to the pool is fraught with danger. Visiting a beach is a logistical nightmare. And you find yourself filling your summer with all manner of activities no self-respecting single, childless person would ever be caught dead participating in.
But life is full of compromises, and as a parent, making sacrifices is just part of the job description. So in advance of the weekend, and maybe to make yourself feel better about whatever you have planned, here’s a list a things I’ll be doing, almost none of which would happen if God were just.
A babbling toddler speaks in a language only those closest to him can understand, and often even they are giving it their best guess.
The third entry in the Decipherists series tackles that very situation, in which our son uses one almost-a-word type sound to mean multiple things. Or maybe just one meaning. We really have no idea. It seems like it’s a pretty all-purpose word for the kid, seeing as he uses it for a variety of items.
It took some time, and the process of elimination, but we think we’ve been able to suss it out.
Kids are bastards.
If the recent uproar over the age-old issue of bullying is any indication, it’s that children are not getting any less horrible than they were when we we kids, or when our parents were kids, or when the first parents ever were kids.
Kids are mean. We’ve always known this and it will never change. But I thought most of that started in high school, or at least junior high. My son’s not in any school yet, and though the group of friends he hangs out with are all nice little guys, the ones he doesn’t know, especially the slightly older kids, are already real jerks.
When I was a kid, I used to read the funny papers every morning. I loved “Garfield” (for some reason), as well as “The Far Side” and a few others. There was a brief period when I followed “Rose is Rose,” which was a light-hearted strip about a couple and their new baby.
Here’s why, from Wikipedia: From the comic’s debut in 1984 until the strip published on 9 August 1991, the character of Pasquale spoke only in a ‘phonetic baby talk.’
It was fun to try and decipher what the kid in the strip was saying, kind of like when I was in high school and helped my friend decipher Rush lyrics. It was a game. Now, suddenly, my life is like that comic strip, except it’s a little less fun.
And hopefully my son’s baby talk phase won’t last seven years.
When you have a young kid, a baby monitor is essential.
Even with our son nearly two and (knock on wood) past the danger zone of accidentally suffocating himself on a bumper or a stuffed animal, the monitor remains a crucial piece of equipment. It allows us to have peace of mind while our kid sleeps in the other room. We are able to have a drink(s), watch a movie, go to sleep, comfortable in the fact that if he wakes up or needs something, we’ll hear him through the monitor.
I don’t even use an alarm clock anymore, secure in the fact that my son will wake me up WELL BEFORE I need to get up for work. It’s foolproof.
Unless the monitor stops working. Then things can get scary.
My legion of advice seekers is growing.
Last week I needed to make up two questions. This week I got one real question and one piece of hatemail, which I am treating as a real question because I need this. I NEED THIS.
(Submit your questions here.)
This past weekend, on Mother’s Day, we took the Lieutenant to his second swim class of the year.
It’s his second year in such a class; his first went well so we were looking forward to this one. This year we’ve been twice, and it’s not going quite as well – a year older now, he is a lot more aware of what he’s doing and a lot more aggressive in letting us know when he doesn’t want to be doing it.
We assume he’ll be okay after a few sessions, but such expectations are being thwarted by the fact that the second class was cut short, by something out of Caddyshack.
Are there any candy bars that look like vomit?
Parents are a vocal bunch. So when a particularly provocative topic hits the news, they aren’t about to stay quiet. The funny thing is, while you’d think parents would be most aggressive when defending their kids, more often than not they are equally as loud, if not louder, when they feel the need to defend themselves.
Because not only are parents vocal, they are sensitive.
We got additional evidence on this front last week, with the TIME Magazine cover controversy.