I’m a reasonable guy. I like to be noticed as much as the next person who has a blog and a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Believe me, I know how strong the pull of social media is; I struggle with it every day.
Luckily, when it comes to Dad and Buried-related stuff, I have a bit of an out: I write in character and I keep my D&B accounts mostly separate from my personal ones. But even there I don’t broadcast every moment of my life. Case in point, my non-D&B Facebook wall is almost entirely links to the Onion. Which is where you’d expect to find some of the outlandish pregnancy announcements that have been all over the internet lately.
I hate pregnancy announcements, and not just the ones with the terrifying 3-D sonograms.
I wouldn’t expect you to understand. If you’re not from here, it must seem alien to you.
Around these parts we do things differently, and if you’re not born and raised in this culture, you’re probably never going to get it. We eat different foods, we use different slang, we wear different clothes, and yes, we discipline our children differently.
So I can’t condemn Adrian Peterson for what he did. It’s a part of his culture.
Look, I don’t know if vaccines cause autism. Or Guillian-Barre Syndrome. Or seizures. I don’t think they do, but I could be wrong.
Believe me, I like a good conspiracy as much as the next person, and I hate Big Pharma as much as the next person, and I am probably more cynical than most people. And I believe there are plenty of smart, well-educated, equally cynical, equally sane people who have good reason to think vaccinations have harmed their children in a variety of ways. I don’t know if they’re right. I’m not a scientist, I haven’t done the experiments. Maybe they have (they haven’t).
But for me, right and wrong isn’t the point. For me, it comes down to risk.
The other day, during a particularly stressful endurance test at the dinner table, Mom and Buried chided me for getting so frustrated at Detective Munch’s eating (or lack thereof) habits. She told me that I needed to step back and realize that as hard as parenting can be, it’s pretty tough to be a three-year-old too.
My inadequacy as a father notwithstanding – although I would argue that no parent should be judged by their reaction to a toddler’s dinnertime hi-jinks – that’s some bullshit right there.
There’s nothing parents enjoy more than judging other parents.
Don’t believe me? Go post a picture of your toddler in his car seat and see how long it takes for someone to question the way he’s strapped in.
Nobody knows better for your child than some other child’s mom or dad and nobody is quicker to let you know.
Especially when it comes to names.
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.
It’s not just for “deviants” anymore.
Thanks to Hollywood and liberals and HBO (probably), the behavior has gone mainstream. We’re all associated with it. We all have that relative or coworker or classmate. A favorite actor or musician. Even a favorite athlete! Hell, I bet some of you even experimented with it in college. (I was too scared of catching something.)
It’s amazing to think that, as recently as a decade ago, people into this kind of thing were still being shamed, stigmatized and stereotyped by the behavior. They were once even discriminated against – though my hesitation at using the word “once” belies the fact that, in 2014, they somehow still are discriminated against, in both closed-minded inner circles and wide-open public forums, but their presence and their prominence and their confidence! have never been stronger.
A reader recently asked me whether such people are suited to be parents, and I chuckled. It’s absurd that it’s even a question, in this day and age. Aren’t we past this shallow, judgmental bullshit yet?
Sorry, bigots, but having a tattoo (or two) just isn’t a big deal.
Newsflash: Kids are stressful. They disrupt your life, and the lives of the people around them, even when they’re on their absolute best behavior.
That’s why we parents often prefer to hang out with other parents. Not only so we can bitch about the stress to someone who has had similar experiences, but because when there are other kids around, your kid has something to do rather than keep pulling your arm and causing you to spill your drink.
Also because your own kid’s bad behavior is less noticeable when he’s part of a team. There’s strength in numbers. For parents, numbers provide solidarity.
For our children, they provide camouflage. Especially at parties.