Manners are important. Common courtesy is important. Especially to parents.
It’s gratifying when your kids display those traits, especially toddlers, since they are sociopaths. Nothing makes me more proud than when my son answers someone’s “Thank you,” with “You’re welcome,” or when he deploys an “excuse me” as he squeezes past someone on the stairs.
We stress that kind of simple politeness for a few reasons. For one thing, it’s a simple way to display our parenting skills. If your kid is polite, people automatically assume you’re doing something right. For another, we operate under the assumption that ingraining good manners into children at an early age will make it stick.
But does it?
It’s Halloween! Which seems like an appropriate time for a Zombie Post.
In browsing my blog archives, I realized I have countless posts about how terrifying it is to be a parent and how scary the job of raising a human being is. The post I’m resurrecting today is about how frightening kids themselves can be (I’ve also written more than one of those).
This one compares my increasingly independent toddler (two and a half, at the time I wrote it) with a poltergeist. Things get a lot more complicated once your kid can walk and talk and behave somewhat independently, especially when he suddenly starts moving things around the house, when until recently he couldn’t even move himself!
I wrote this post a mere eight months ago. Since then, my son has passed the Bar exam and filmed his own sex tape. Talk about SCARY!
Original Post: The Amityville Toddler
Trying times at the Buried household.
Even since the kid turned three, he’s been, to borrow a word usually reserved for younger ages, terrible. Mom and Buried is concerned that we’re doing something – or not doing something – to encourage – or not discourage – this behavior. I’m more apt to dismiss his latest paranormal activities as part and parcel with his development. Most kids are devil-spawn at this age.
So she frets and I rationalize:
“He’s a toddler!”
“He’s three years old!”
“It’s a phase!”
While I concede I’m not the perfect Dad (there’s only one perfect dad: Coach Taylor from “Friday Night Lights”) and that there are probably things we could be doing to curb his behavior, I think I’m right. He is a toddler. He is only three. It probably is a phase.
But what if it’s not?
Human beings suck. Especially parents. Having kids seems to bring out the worst in a lot of us. For example, when I had a kid I started making gross generalizations about huge swaths of people.
You know who doesn’t suck? Kids. I know, stop laughing; I hate them too. But hear me out.
Obviously, kids suck. They’re terrible. They’re loud and unruly and they don’t listen and they’re stupid and they’re exhausting and they smell. And that’s just MY kid. Don’t even get me started on other people’s.
But you know what else they are? Kind. Innocent. Without a judgmental bone in their bodies. And selfless.
Full disclosure: I’ve done it myself.
Years ago, in my cynical pre-fatherhood stage, I compared babies to pets. Unfavorably, because at least pets have, as I wrote at the time, “furry upside.”
I stand by that, as I enjoy my still cynical mid-fatherhood stage. In many ways, pets are more rewarding than babies. Obviously, babies evolve, and eventually having a child has advantages over owning a dog or a cat (don’t even talk to me about birds and fish and gerbils and hamsters). Eventually.
Right now, I have a toddler. And sometimes I might rather have a puppy.
Mom and Buried and I spent the weekend enjoying a local music festival. We knew from the start that Detective Munch wouldn’t be accompanying us to the many night-time shows, but – because we wanted him to experience some live music, which he loves – we took some of the daytime events.
On Saturday, we went to the less interesting (read: bluegrass) bands that were playing outside somewhere, rather than inside some dank dive bar my son couldn’t get into. It worked out okay; the kid got to dance and interact with dogs and strangers and we got to have a beer or two while doing our best to prevent our son from getting bit by disgruntled dogs and strangers.
It’s called compromise, and it’s part of being a parent. But on the eve of his third birthday, it’s time for my kid to start holding up his end of the bargain.
I recently came across a blog post in which a mother of four (three boys, one girl) addresses The Teenage Girl and begs them to stop being skanks.
That’s not quite how she says it, but that’s clearly what she means. Actually, what she means is something more like, “Boys can’t control themselves, so you have to stop tempting them.” Which sounds like something a Republican congressman would say.
Apparently, this point of view is reasonable to many people, judging by all the “likes” and “shares” and positive comments her post is getting. People agree with her loving message to today’s young females.
I wish I agreed, since it’s a convenient way to get out of some difficult parenting.
Here’s the problem with smart phones and tablets and all the other fun, exciting new technology that is taking over our lives. Well, the problem besides the fact that they are taking over our lives.
The very technology that makes them fun, exciting and cool to us also makes them fun and exciting and cool to our children.
Next thing you know, your kids are pawing at your most expensive possessions. And it’s giving you an ulcer.
First things first:
I am NOT advocating for a society in which our toddlers run around buck-naked all the time. That’s insane.
But I do have some ideas about children’s dress codes.
I’ve been a parent for just about three years (though I haven’t felt like one for that long). I repeatedly admit my total lack of parenting know-how, partially because there is no one right way to parent, partially because I have no idea what I’m doing.
And yet people keep asking me what to do.
Not on my advice page, unfortunately, but in real life.