November 2019

I’m sorry if you have a twelve year old who doesn’t like to bake. We do.

He wants his mom to lay by him every night. Not me. Not anyone else. His mom. Just his mom. “Enjoy it,” I say. “Love it. Soak it in.” Of course, if he’s smart he’ll realize for his entire life that his mom is super cool and want to hang out with her whenever possible. #two

Sometimes I almost feel bad about how much of our two-year old’s Halloween candy I’ve eaten, but then I remind myself: “He enjoyed a piece already, and he’ll enjoy another one next year, and in the meantime, I’ll enjoy 30 or 40 pieces and help him not get addicted to sugar.” Because that’s a hard addiction to break later on, I’ve heard.

When your two-year old informs you, in all seriousness and wearing the most innocent face ever, that he is taking his older sister’s computer to bed with him so he can watch a movie. “No Tarantino after 9pm though,” I said, almost as seriously.

First clue that you’ve been watching The Great British Baking Show together: your kids use words like claggy and prove to describe the quality of family meals. Or lack thereof.

There are days when you are racing to get out the door, because something either super important, or not super important is going on that you have to get too on time, and you have to get everyone out, and it’s especially difficult on some mornings, and it is inevitable that it is on one of these days that the toilet will clog, badly, right as you are at the edge of the cliff and can’t handle one more mishap. The toilet will clog. And you will pull up the reserves of energy, patience, and ability to do gross things very quickly that you didn’t know you had. And someday you will look back and feel that you accomplished something. Someday.

October 2019

“It’s bedtime!” I told him, and suddenly he became very interested in helping clean up his room; a task for which he had previously displayed the greatest disinterest in doing. “Okay,” I said. “But finish by midnight.”

Becca and I try to go on two dates a year, although sometimes not that many, but the one we never miss is the one where the kids go trick or treating and then we put them to bed and divvy up their candy while we watch television. They’re only a room or two away and have no idea what’s happening. Try to imagine a better date than that.

If you have ever proposed the notion that every parent should be allotted one public tantrum a week, then I might have been the one in the back raising my hand in quiet support. Who wants to go first? I’ll film. #rolemodels

I checked the rule book and my longtime belief was confirmed as common law: if an adult is holding a small child, or if there is a child of any age in the vicinity of that adult, and in this situation there happens to emanate a noxious or disturbing odor, then the child is required, one hundred percent of the time, ex post facto, to acknowledge their ownership over the malfeasant aroma. It is never the adult’s responsibility or fault; it is a given that children generally stink.

I would accurately grade myself a solid A when it comes to my ability to change a child’s diaper anywhere, anytime, in the midst of battlefield chaos and high stress environments. I would generously grade myself a D when it comes to quickly snapping all of the correct buttons on one of those adorable and stupidly designed onesies and then stuffing that same infant’s legs into jeans through the correct holes. By that point they’ve probably pooped their pants again so off the clothes come and I can get back to doing what I’m good at.

It’s a surprisingly emotional day the first time your 12-year old daughter walks in and asks if you have a Nine Inch Nails t-shirt she can borrow. Looks like it’s getting time to pull out my matching leather jacket. She’s gonna think I’m so cool.

There is nothing that makes a child need to immediately extract slimy material from their nose like introducing him to new friends for the first time.

To dress as Perseus or as Hermes for Halloween? That is the big conundrum for October when you’re nine years old.

September 2019

I told our two-year old this morning: “…you are special and unique, and there is no one else like you.” And then I realised I owed him a further explanation about parallel realities, multiverses, and the possibility of various versions of yourself existing in other worlds, and it was a good conversation; at the conclusion of which I told him again: “you are fairly special and unique, and even though there may be identical versions of you floating around other universes, I am so glad that we got you.” I felt better, ethically speaking, after that.

Why is “poo” considered a more polite way to say “poop” by so many parents? Does removing a single consonant really make the idea more elegant or even less gross? No. It is a perfectly symmetrical word and should stay that way as the best example of onomatopoeia ever. Join the movement. #punintended #poopnotpoo

July 2019

A lot of people ask me they’re a bad parent for letting their kids play Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance at very loud volumes for dance parties. My answer is consistent and it is this: you are a bad parent if you are not dancing along with them.

Surprisingly, I’ve found that most children do not consider sauerkraut to be an acceptable substitute when we’re out of ice cream.

A scenario: when you’ve dealt with enough mini-injuries and catastrophes for one day, and your sweet little child runs up crying and sobbing from another mishap and wants to bury his head in your shoulder for comfort, and you hold him at arms’ length while calmly requesting that he go wash his messy dirty food-filled face before using your clean shirt as a mop for the seventh time that day. I’m sure someday I’ll experience that scenario.

There are many different philosophies about naps during the childhood years, but I think they’re super important. I also think sometimes children should do them too.

The best cure for a child who says “playing outside is boring” is this: Number one, they should be outside more. Regardless of weather. Regardless of whether they’re grumbly about it or not. Kids are super good at figuring out how to move past boredom when you don’t jump in and save them from it. And number two, show them all the fun things you can do outside. Hint: it’s amazing what you can do with a ball…a couple chairs…some sticks…cardboard…a book…the list is infinite. But show them.

Skate parks are a public space - at least the publicly-funded ones are. So take your young kids there with their scooters and hot wheels and bikes and gliders and skateboards and stop complaining about teenagers. Introduce yourself and be nice. Many of them will be too.

If you have ever gotten into your children’s special snacks reserved for special occasions without their consent and then sneaked into an empty room behind a door to consume them illicitly, then…that is simply unpardonable and yes, I have done so, once or twice or thirty times.

What would it be like to wake up, sit down, and drink a hot cup of coffee slowly to completion, without interruption for diaper changing, conflict resolution arbitration, or general question-answering? I hope to find out someday.

Sometimes I imagine what it would be like to go a day without changing a three-weeks-dead-warthog-smelling diaper, and then my imagination implodes because some scenarios are too far-fetched to even realistically imagine.

I have worked at many physically demanding tasks and jobs, but none of them have been even close to as energy-draining as the emotional fatigue of working with fussy children through tough times.

The difference between a two-year old and a 12-year old being angry at you is that the former will run up angrily, demand that you hold them, and throw their arms around while they sweatily clutch you furiously and shriek in your ear. The other expresses displeasure in a different manner.

If you go to a public performance of anything with your children, it is not the performer’s job to educate your children on how to give respectful attention. It is your job. Our job.

How old should your child be before they drink coffee? I don’t know. I simply don’t know.

Sometimes I like to make other adults agree to a loyalty oath that they will preemptively take my side anytime I am in conflict with a young child. So far their loyalty rate is 0%. Sometimes I hate it when kids are cuter than adults. Not cool, not fair.

If you stick a piece of broccoli and a piece of chocolate in front of a kid, which one are they going to choose? How about a piece of broccoli and a piece of cauliflower? Think carefully about the choices you put before them. It’s your choice over what choices to give them.

One of my fave things about age two is the fight to figure out words. A constant stream of trying out new syllables and ways to verbally express ideas. Love it.