On Twitter, it is possible to create lists into which you can group and categorize the people you follow. As I’ve grown my presence there, I’ve seen myself added to more and more lists (you get notified when it happens).
Yesterday, I was added to one that was simply called “parents.”
And it made me a little sad.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
My son is out to get me. And I’m not just talking about the time he ordered a Big Mac at KFC.
As a kid, you have a tendency to see the adults in your life as the bad guys, especially when you’re a teenager. When you become a parent, it’s obvious that it’s the children that are the problem; dastardly little beasts who materialize in the middle of your already-in-progress life and proceed to wreak havoc.
Maybe one day my son will write a blog about how I’m the Big Bad in his life, but in my version of the story, I’m the superhero and he’s my nemesis.
In fact, there are a few famous villains from the pop culture rogues gallery that my kid has lately been bringing to mind.
In many ways, having kids is great.
I can’t think of a lot of examples right now, but I like interacting with the hot moms at the playground, and I’ll probably be able to get a dog out of this whole thing pretty soon, since my son is obsessed and my wife can’t tell him no. So those are some perks. Plus, kids change your perspective and make you a better person and shift your priorities and let you see outside yourself and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Those Z’s are purely figurative, by the way, because the flip-side to that “I’ve never been happier!” coin is that children also steal your sleep, drain your finances, shred your lifestyle, eliminate your free time and, I’m learning, increase your blood pressure.
When I lived in Boston and NYC, this weekend’s St. Paddy’s celebration was a big deal. But now, I live in the south – I’m not sure they’ve even heard of the Irish – AND I have a two-year-old. Day-drinking my way through St. Patrick’s Day is a lot harder with a toddler.
Even one who has got some Irish in him. (And has been there!)