Growing up, when I asked my parents what they wanted for Christmas, they always made a (sad) joke out of it. They knew my brothers and I didn’t have any money, so they didn’t bother asking for anything real, like a new car, or a box of Cuban cigars, or a new furniture set.
Instead, they used Santa the way someone might use a genie: by asking my brothers and me for things that were abstract, theoretical, and totally unattainable. Just to make a point. They’d make requests like, “for you and your brothers to get along” or “a little peace and quiet” or “for you to behave.” Just totally insane shit that would never happen in a million years.
Now that I’m a dad, nobody ever asks me what I want. But if they did? I’d reply exactly the same way as my mom and dad. Because I was wrong; they weren’t joking.
The intangible, imaginary stuff really is what parents want for Christmas.
My four-year-old’s commitment to being irrational is so absolute, it’s like living with Andy Kaufman. While he’s in character as Tony Clifton. I honestly can’t tell where the act ends and the real person begins. Or if there even is an act. Or a real person.
Children are little terminators. To paraphrase Kyle Reese, “They can’t be bargained with. They can’t be reasoned with. They don’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And they absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.” The only difference between my son and Arnold Schwarzenegger in that movie is that my son’s speech is more intelligible. And that Arnold loses. My son never loses.
Which is why I might start acting like a child at work.
I’m fairly well-educated. I went to college. I have almost two decades of experience in the professional world, and while I’m used to dealing with arrogant superiors and lazy peers and rude clients, nothing prepared me for dealing with a child.
Kids operate from an unrelatable place, often with no logical motivation or rationale for their behavior. They’re like something out of a horror movie; indefatigable, rarely-sated, and conscience-free. Kind of like your boss…or your clients…or your annoying coworker Karen!
I don’t care if you’re great at your job, and neither do your kids. Nothing you bring from work will help you at home. You can’t manage your children; they’re too unpredictable for that. But you can learn how to be a better manager from them.
I am in the middle of yet another trying fantasy football season. Two of them, actually, since I am participating in two leagues, like some kind of masochist. It’s been 12 weeks of misery, punctuated by occasional spurts of short-lived happiness.
Just like raising kids!
Seriously, parenting and fantasy football aren’t all that different (here’s what a fantasy parenting draft might look like!) There’s a lot of work, you have to pay a lot of attention, and nobody wants to hear about any of it.
I know, you think I’m an idiot. So I made a list!
Mom and Buried sent me a link to a parenting article, as moms do. After promising her I’d read it and then lying that I’d read it! (as dads do!), I quickly went back and actually read it. It was kind of difficult to focus, though, what with all the eye-rolling.
Parenting articles can be frustrating to read, despite the fact that they often contain some truly useful suggestions. All parenting advice is great in theory and in a vacuum; that’s why non-parents love dishing it out.
Of course, in real-life situations, with real-life sociopathic children and real-life at-the-end-of-their-rope parents, it’s not long before your best laid plans explode in your face.
Which is exactly what makes this kind of parenting advice so easy to mock.
This morning I went to the DMV.
I don’t even have to say anything else; you already know how my morning went. Add subway troubles and tax issues to that and you’ll have a decent idea of why my Friday is starting to feel like a Monday.
The good news is that when I get home there’s a decent chance my son will tell me he doesn’t want to be my friend anymore before spending a large chunk of the three hours before he goes to bed screaming and whining and being put in time-out.
Suddenly the DMV doesn’t seem so bad.
My son was born in the middle of September, so when his first Halloween came around, he was barely even a thing yet, let alone someone who might one day want to dress up as Thing. But that didn’t stop Mom and Buried from putting him in a little lion outfit and parading him around the neighborhood, to the delight of everyone because that shit is cute.
When his second Halloween came around, he went as a monkey. We initially tried a skeleton outfit but that did not go over well. To be honest, neither did the monkey, most of the time. But crying and screaming was kind of his thing back then. (Not that that’s changed much.) Last year was his third Halloween, and he was totally on board, chomping at the bit to be Jake the Neverland Pirate.
Finally, it was up to him to choose his costume. And it should always be from now on.
Parenting is the worst thing in the world and the worst part about it is how fast it goes by.
Such is the paradox every mom and dad must come to terms with as soon as their first child is born. The bad parts are plentiful, the good parts are transcendent, and everything is over before you know it. I bitch a lot about pretty much all of it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t also love it. Personally, if I can’t bitch about something, it might as well not even exist. Which makes every rant against the hassle of child-rearing just further evidence of how important it all is to me.
Which means this list of things I hate about parenting is actually kind of a love letter, if that helps you feel better.
Things are going to be quiet around here for the next week or so, because Dad and Buried is going on vacation!
I’m actually a little reluctant to call it a vacation, since I’m bringing my toddler along. Yes, I’m taking the week off from work, and from my blog (I’ll still be updating my Facebook page every now and then, so be sure to follow me there!), and I’ll be at the beach. But I don’t know how much relaxation will be happening, as it’s not exactly my son’s middle name.
His middle name is actually “GET THE F*** DOWN FROM THERE YOU’RE GOING TO KILL YOURSELF!”
For the third week this month, Mom and Buried is traveling and I’m on my own with my kid.
DON’T PANIC. We’re okay.
Sure, maybe the first time my wife went away I was all: what am I gonna do? But several weeks in and now I’m all: ain’t no thing but a chicken wing on a string. I’m a real-life dad, not a Seth Macfarlane character; I can handle it. Newsflash: it’s parenting, not the Thunderdome, and dads can do it just as well as moms.
I’d even venture to say we do it better.