The Fast and the Furious

It’s one of the cliches of parenting that kids grow up fast. One minute you’re dreading dealing with diapers, the next you’re teaching them how to drive their flying cars (these have gotta happen eventually, right?).

Not only is everyone aware of this belief, pretty much everyone accepts it as well, whether they have kids themselves or not. Of course, once someone does have kids it’s no longer just a belief; it becomes immediately apparent that the cliche is 100% true. So much so that that terrible sitcom convention – wherein an older couple suddenly decides they want a new baby, usually after the mom is exposed to someone else’s kid (and always because the show needs an infusion of cute) – suddenly makes perfect sense.

Except Oliver. That kid sucked.

Oliver, back then

But still, it’s true. Even Oliver got old too fast. Just ask his bank account.

My wife is already sad that our son, who’s only a year and a half, is not a baby anymore.

And even I, someone who used to rage against any child under five years old (“Wake me when he can hold a conversation!”), found the baby portion of the production a lot less harrowing than I expected. I liked having a baby and now I don’t have one anymore; sometimes I too miss some of the baby-related stuff that comes with having a baby. Of course, we had the benefit of a well-behaved, laid back, sleeptastic, Gerber-level-of-cute type kid. Not everyone gets that. So I try not to complain too much.

And I certainly don’t need to hear about it non-stop. Unfortunately, there is nothing Other Parents like to tell strange parents more than “It all goes by so fast!” Except maybe “Wow, he’s a big one!”

I’ve written before about the hell that is Other Parents; engage them at your own risk. But in the case of the old “it goes so fast!” chestnut, they barely need an opening. They don’t need to know how old your kid is (which makes judging size a lot easier); all they need to see is a kid and a parent and it’s on.

I’m not an idiot; I know there’s a lot I can learn from Other Parents. They have valuable experience, much of which would probably prove helpful to me as I progress through my first run at this parenting thing. But more often than the ways in which Other Parents choose to communicate are obnoxious, condescending and in this case, though they probably don’t mean to drive a knife in with the whole “it goes by so fast!” nonsense, even a little hurtful.

I don’t need you to tell me that my kid is gonna be 15 before I know it. I already realize that, and having it beaten into me by a complete stranger is not fun.

Oliver today

Yes, it moves too fast and I’m truly sorry that your adorable little baby is now a 34-year-old oxy dealer living out of your garage. But that was then, this is now, and some parts of parenting need to be experienced to be appreciated. Especially the shitty ones.

So keep it to yourself. If you must, you can always just have another kid of your own to dull the pain.

But at least let me get sad at my own pace.

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One thought on “The Fast and the Furious

  1. And I’m sorry but as much fun as the last 8.5 yrs of parenting have gone they did not zip by but shogged along sometimes at a frustratingly Slow pace. As we age our perception of time speeds so all I take away from this unwelcomed advice is that the speaker must be old or not have been paying much attention at the time!

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