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.
Having kids is not for everyone. After reading my blog, some people might even say it’s not for me. (Some people even have, god bless ‘em!)
There are moments when I wonder if it’s right for me, usually when my son is screaming about something and we’re out of beer. But those moments are fleeting.
I’ve always known I wanted to have kids, though I suppose it can be tough to know whether that was a true desire or the kind of checkpoint-based “maturity” and conformity Tyler Durden was so angry about (it’s just what you do). Fortunately, I knew I’d made the right choice when my son was born and I didn’t have even the slightest urge to split, and that choice is validated every day.
But it is a choice. And there’s nothing wrong with going the other way.
I remember when my son learned to say “No.” The moment haunts my dreams.
Much like the discovery of lying, when a child learns to say “no,” it’s another step on the road to having a teenager. Another step on the road from merely “keeping your offspring alive” to actually “raising a human being.” Another step on the road from having low blood pressure and a healthy head of hair to looking, and heart-attacking, like Roger Sterling.
As a new parent with grand ideas of how you’ll raise the perfect child and do everything right, you initially try to limit how often you say “no” in the hopes that your kid won’t pick up on its power and start wielding it himself. But he does. He certainly has in my house.
And now it’s no longer about avoiding no; it’s about reclaiming it. Because these days, the word is all his.
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.
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.
“My son loves to argue! He’s like a little lawyer!”
“My kid loves animals so much, I bet he’s gonna be a veterinarian.”
“My daughter is such a ham! She has actress written all over her.”
Ugh. Shut up.
Today, the same-sex marriage issue hits the Supreme Court.
Lately it seems that the tide has turned and that gay people may finally be granted the constitutional right to marry, but there are still – obviously – pockets of resistance everywhere you look, from Prop 8 in California to Amendment One in North Carolina.
From Slate.com: “The struggle to protect family values from homosexuality is starting to feel a bit lonely. In the last five years, eight states have extended marriage rights to same-sex couples. After years of winning ballot measure fights, gay-marriage opponents went 0-for-4 in November. Scores of Republican luminaries have signed a brief urging the Supreme Court to declare a constitutional right to marriage regardless of sexual orientation. And two weeks ago, for the first time, a sitting Republican senator, Rob Portman of Ohio, endorsed same-sex marriage. Behind these developments lurks an ominous trend: Gay marriage, once a fringe idea, is now backed by a majority or plurality in nearly every poll.”
Much of this was bolstered by President Obama’s public endorsement a little less than a year ago, and back then I wrote about what the President’s support might mean for the future of the country, and how it could affect my son as he grows up here.
As a show of support for same-sex marriage and equal rights everywhere, I’ve resurrected that original post below:
Original Post: What Does Obama’s Announcement Mean for My Son?