I wrote the post I’ve resurrected below one year ago.
It’s a charming little trifle about my son’s increasingly bad behavior. Little did I know that what I thought, last May, was the onset of the terrible twos – though I even admit in the post that I might be a tad premature in that assessment – was nothing but a tiny preview of the hell to come, and of the abuse Mom and Buried and I were yet to face.
Now, a year later and a good three months into the real terrible deal, this post would probably make me laugh if I weren’t usually already crying.
I thought things were bad when I wrote this week’s Zombie Post, and today things are infinitely worse. And there’s no end in sight. Parenting FTW!
Original Post – Parent Abuse: Parenting’s Dirty Little Secret
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.
In an effort to really sell the “terrible” in “terrible twos”, my son has become a very selfish, defiant and lazy guy. Lately, trying to get my son to do anything usually results in him screaming for five minutes.
We’re dealing with this stage as best we can, all the while reminding ourselves that it is just a stage (and if it’s not, there’s always military school) and all the while self-medicating ourselves into being excited that he’s learning how to express himself and grow more independent and have opinions, if you can call “no!” and “mine!” opinions.
He knows what he wants and he knows what he doesn’t want, and never the twain shall meet.
Since time-outs are so ineffective and cages and tranquilizers are frowned upon, we’ve had to resort to other methods to attempt to control the beast.
This post isn’t about uplift, as I have none to offer. It’s not about expertise, as I’m no expert. I’m merely a normal parent, a relatively new one at that, and it’s at times like this that I most feel the weight of that responsibility.
I have a two-year-old son. He isn’t yet able to comprehend an event like yesterday’s bombings, let alone formulate questions about it, but seeing the footage would undoubtedly scare him (especially since he’s too young to understand whatever explanation we might offer for the event). Which makes watching the news nearly impossible.
As with most everything else, a complicated situation is complicated even further by my responsibilities as a father.
I love Boston. I attended Boston College and lingered in the city for another decade after graduation, in Brookline, Southie and the South End – not more than a ten-minute walk from where the bombs exploded. It’s a great town, home to many close friends and the setting of some of my favorite memories, a handful of which were actually made on Marathon Mondays, watching the race from the Pizzeria Uno on Boylston Street – shocking close to the finish line – keeping track of the Red Sox game while cheering on the runners. It’s truly a shame that this tragedy will now be associated with what has always been one of the best days of Spring in New England.
Even without a personal connection, tragedies like this used to be easier – somehow – before I had a child.
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.)
When I was a kid, my biggest fear was being kidnapped. I mean, who wouldn’t want this little heartthrob cooling up their house?
As I grew up and that terrifying two-part episode of Diff’rent Strokes faded from my memory, the whole kidnapping fear evaporated. Other anxieties emerged and receded through the years until I became quite fearless… provided I’d had ten beers and you agreed to no punches to the face or groin.
Then I had a kid. And I became fearmore.
And so it begins.
To be honest, it probably should’ve started already, but Dad and Buried has been a little pee-shy, as in: I don’t want to help my son pee. I’ve been dreading this whole stage in my son’s development. Not because it signifies him getting older, but because I’m clueless. And it signifies him getting more inconvenient.
Now, with summer approaching, and a new preschool looming in the fall, it’s time: my son needs to be potty trained.
As the stay-at-home parent, it trickles down to me to fulfill this duty.
A lot of things have changed since I became a father. I drink less, I curse less, I sleep less…
Of course, many of those things likely would have been changing anyway, by virtue of age and
maturity age. So my son doesn’t get all the blame, not in those instances.
He does, however, get all the blame for the alarming shift in my pop culture habits.
Altering the media you consume because you are a parent might seem like a minor thing to some people, especially pretentious snobs who don’t own computers and don’t watch TV, and obnoxious jerks who pretend they don’t own a computer or watch TV. But for me, it’s a big deal.