My son can talk, which is great. Less great is that he can’t seem to stop talking.
Seriously. My kid never stops babbling. But that’s okay. The trouble isn’t that he talks, or even what he says, since a lot of the things he says are cute. Because he says things he doesn’t understand, and it’s hilarious when kids say darnd things. I won’t brag and say my son says the darndEST things, because I’m not a braggart, and besides, that’s for Bill Cosby to decide. But Detective Munch definitely says some pretty darnd things.
The trouble begins when we listen.
For my latest Zombie Post, I wanted to check in on my own progress. It’s not looking good.
Almost a year ago, I wrote the post below, about my realization that raising a good kid means I’ll need to retrain myself. Being a good parent doesn’t mean you have to change your personality but it does mean you’ll probably need to change some of your behavior. I’m not just talking about the typical adjustments to your swearing and drinking and sleeping. I’m talking about the instinctual behavior you’re not even necessarily aware of, like how you react to things. Because our kids notice EVERYTHING.
I’m a little disappointed to admit that I haven’t exactly succeeded in this endeavor, at least not just yet. It’s no easy thing to alter thirty-plus years of ingrained behavior, but that’s exactly why it’s so important. I need to help my kid grow up on the right track so that when he’s my age and has a kid of his own, he won’t need to reprogram himself. Some things you learn you can’t unlearn, which is why it’s so important to learn the right things early.
So I’ve resurrected this old post to give myself a bit of a kick in the pants. Because I can teach the big things until the cows come home, but it’s the little things that sometimes leave the largest impression.
Original Post: Raising Sane: The Art of the Underreaction
Over the weekend, my son unleashed his first (real) swear word. (A few months ago he said “damn” a few times but that hardly counts).
My son’s chosen curse was “bitch!” And, oddly enough, he didn’t direct it at Jenny McCarthy or Andy Dalton or even that evil maid on “Downton Abbey”. In fact, as far as Mom and Buried and I could tell, he didn’t direct it at anyone. He just kind of said it. And it was pretty evident that he had no idea what it meant.
But it didn’t stop the Buried household from doing some soul-searching. Nobody wants to raise an asshole.
For some reason I occasionally catch the parody bug, like a younger, better-looking Weird Al.
Today, I happened upon the classic “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” poem, and decided to give it the old Dad and Buried spin.
It’s a bit of a lark, but after a weekend of traveling, shopping, family and general holiday stress, I’m in the mood for a lark. I hope you are too. But I don’t blame you if you’re not.
Whenever I get down about my performance as a dad, all I need to do is take a quick run around the Internet until I find a video like this, and my spirits are immediately lifted.
I’ll bet it’ll have even you semi-decent, borderline-involved dads out there feeling better about your own shitty parenting in no time.
I used to question my son’s commitment to good manners, and my own ability to teach them. I figured some of it is my kid’s fault – something I’m not shy about admitting – and some of it is mine and Mom and Buried’s (but mostly mine, of course).
It’s easy to agonize over how well you’re instilling this stuff, until you realize what toddlers already know:
Manners are bullshit.
I don’t think I became lazy until I was a teenager. My toddler, however, has mastered it at three.
Of course, it’s a very selective laziness. He’s off the wall with energy most of the time, i.e., when you’re trying to get through the security line at the airport and he decides he wants to pretend to be The Flash; but when it’s time for him to actually do something? He’s less active than most of the people who work security at the airport.
Of course, if I had someone willing to carry me around everywhere, I’m pretty sure I’d let my legs atrophy until they melted off, so who am I to talk?