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.
Over the weekend, professional golfer Rory McIlroy won the Open Championship. In the process he netted $1.66 million.
His father, meanwhile, scored big himself, having placed a bet in 2005 that his son would win the Open Championship by 2015. Daddy McIlroy collected (approximately) $171,000 merely for having confidence in his son’s golfing ability.
Which got me thinking…
What would I bet on my own son to accomplish within the next 10 years?
Many people don’t like giving advice, but not me. I don’t like giving directions (the only person who has a worse sense of direction than me is Mr. Magoo) but I love giving advice. Especially when it’s unsolicited. Which, unfortunately, it’s not. Because I asked you to ask me questions.
Despite having no training or authority or expertise in any arena aside from Movie Pong and The Kevin Bacon Game, I think I’m pretty good at the advice game. I’m a good listener and have given some friends some pretty good objective advice in the past, helpful, thoughtful advice that has (presumably) improved their relationships and (obviously) elevated my status in their lives.
But that’s not what I do here, with my “Parental Advisories”. No, here I play God with other people’s families.
Come and join me!
I’m a single parent* this week.
My wife is out-of-town, so I’ll be watching my threenager without her assistance for a good ten days. I’ll be responsible for feeding him and getting him dressed and getting him to bed and giving him his bath and telling him no and weathering his tantrums and telling him no and weathering his tantrums and telling him no and…
I’m not nervous about being alone with my son for a week; even though I’m not a stay-at-home dad anymore, I’m alone with my son all the time. I’m his dad and dads are parents too, contrary to popular opinion. The occasional bout of single parenting is part of the job, and I’m used to it.
But just because I can do it doesn’t mean I want to.
If you’ve read my blog before, you might not expect me to write a post about my favorite moments as a father. (Even though I already have.)
After all, most of my posts are about the stuff that sucks about being a dad. But that’s all strategy. Like the Cassius Clay of the dad bloggersphere, I lull readers to sleep with angry complaints about my son and parenting and toddlers, only to suddenly sting like a sentimental bee!
Admit it: the optimistic, sappy stuff carries a lot more weight when it comes from a pessimistic, cynical jerk like me. So I parcel it out at key moments, to ambush you and your tear ducts. Usually I reserve the sap for my son’s birthday, like this embarrassment from a few years back. But as Father’s Day approaches, my friends at Oral-B and Life of Dad asked me to write something about the #PowerofDad, so I thought I’d grit my teeth (get it? Teeth? ORAL-B!) and get ‘er done.
So here comes a bunch of crap I like about being a dad. None of which includes brushing my son’s teeth because holy Jesus that’s a nightmare.
About a year and a half ago, we moved to North Carolina. It was fun while it lasted but, as of tomorrow, we’ll be back in Brooklyn.
I guess, despite being a Red Sox fan, I’m a Yankee at my core. But, more importantly, Mom and Buried and I are city folk, and Raleigh just didn’t satisfy that part of us. So we’ve come to the end of the (tobacco) road.
It’s (not that) hard to say goodbye.
When I was a kid, The Karate Kid was one of my favorite movies. If I’m totally honest, it still is. I see it listed in the channel guide and there’s no way I’m not watching the tournament.
Growing up, I was so enamored with the uplifting tale of Daniel LaRusso’s war against the neo-Nazi community of Southern California that my parents thought I might want to take karate classes. And I would have, if I hadn’t been so terrified of landing in a Cobra Kai-type school with a Vietnam-traumatized sensei who would force me to be racist and do push-ups on my knuckles.
Come on, I was like eight years old. Which I thought was a little young for martial arts. Except almost 30 years later, my son is taking them, and he’s three.
One of the joys of being an adult is the ability to make your own decisions. To decide what you want to do, how you want to spend your time, and who you want to spend it with.
And then you have kids, and pretty much all of your autonomy goes out the window.
Thankfully, and startlingly, one of the side-effects of becoming a parent is that you change – you don’t have to change everything, not if you don’t want to, but you will inevitably change, at least a little. Your lifestyle will shift and your priorities will be re-ordered and, suddenly, the people you most want to spend your time with are your kids, and the things you want to do are what they want to do.
Most of the time.
My family is the victim of poor planning.
Like everyone else, we participate in the standard holiday season that begins in November and ends in January.Unlike everyone else, we also have a few more holidays thrown into that fall/winter zone. And I.m not talking about All Saints’ Day or Pitchers and Catchers day.
My wife’s birthday is in early November. My son’s birthday is in mid-September and happens to land on the day before our wedding anniversary, and my own birthday hits just a week before that, although, let’s be honest, my birthday is meaningless. Throw in my wife’s beloved Halloween and the Hallmark hell of Valentine’s Day, and from September until mid-February my life is a calendar-choked spending spree of forced romance and legitimately meaningful milestones that leaves me both physically and financially spent.
Like I said, poor planning. And this long winter is just making it worse.
Raising kids often feels like a contact sport. Or an endurance test. Or both. It’s actually more like 50 different sports all wrapped up in one. In short, it’s like the Olympics.
Maybe it’s not cross-country skiing, and it’s definitely not a biathlon (guns don’t kill people, terrible gun laws allow people to easily kill by other people with guns), but it’s certainly something of a a marathon. It might even be curling, but I don’t understand curling, so we’re sticking with marathon, and maybe some ice dancing (I don’t understand that either).
I’ve never participated in the Olympic games, but I have seen them on TV. A lot. They’re always on. And after years of being a spectator, I’ve come to the conclusion that watching the Olympics is not that different from having kids.
In what ways, you say? Funny you should ask.