Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Parenting Tip Wednesday

Our bathroom reading basket is filled with magazines like Parenting, and Parents, and Parenting For Parents With Children Who Have Parents. I don’t understand this because my wife is a great parent, and like all good husbands, I will often take the time (usually when I’m in the bathroom) to tell her she’s a great parent:

“Honeeeeeeee? Why do we subscribe to all these parenting magazines? You’re a great parent.”

“Thanks, I know.”

“So…why are we spending the money again?”

“Because I’m a great parent.”

“We buy them because you’re a great parent?”

“Because I’m a great parent.”

I’ve never understood women. Point is, being a guy with a need to read while otherwise occupied, I’ve become somewhat of a parenting magazine guru. For those of you who don’t know, they’re basically women’s magazines (with the obligatory articles about sex and why men are stupid) and for the most part they’re well written by writers, usually mothers, who know what they’re talking about. (Except the part about men being stupid.) However, there are always one or two articles per issue written by “experts” who don’t seem to know “shit” about “anything.” These articles always have titles like “6 Ways To Keep Your Toddler Safe From Choking Hazards.” And at first you’re excited, because who hasn’t rushed to the emergency room while their spouse was out of town because the two year-old accidentally ingested Boots the Monkey's easily breakable tail? But after wading through eighty-two pages of perfumey ads for Hamburger Helper and nursing bras, you discover that five of those six solutions aren’t really solutions but cleverly worded filler, and the sixth one only an idiot would try and it would never work anyway and you know because you’re the idiot who tried it.

So, from time to time, I’ll be offering real parenting tips, as a public service, to counteract any foolishness you may have been subjected to by one of the experts. These are practical, field-tested techniques that will only enhance your child rearing abilities, and you’d be wise to learn them.

Today’s Tip: Their best weapon is your best weapon.

Let’s face it. Kids can be annoying. And nothing’s more annoying than that illogical abomination known as Opposite Day. You know how it is:

“Daddy, can I have ice cream?”


“Ha-ha! Today’s Opposite Day!”

This is where those other parenting experts will tell you to curb your frustration and consider your child’s disregard for parental authority as an opportunity for her to grow as a person, and rather than discouraging your child, you might try joining her in the creative wordplay process and together explore the convoluted wonders of circular logic. Look, fuck that. You do that, and you’ll end up with this:

“Ha-ha! Today’s Opposite Day!”

“Don’t start that sh—I mean, alright sweetie. I’m curbing my frustration. We can play Opposite Day. Or, I should say, we can’t play Opposite—

“Ice cream! Ice cream! Woooo-hoooo! Ice cream!”

“No, no. Don’t climb up there, please. I mean, yes. Yes, climb up—NO! Don’t really do it!”

And you’ll have the same conversation tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that, and you’ll be insane before the magazine’s next issue hits the stands. There’s only one way to end the Opposite Day bullshit, and it’s the same method you used when you were seven: retaliatory annoyance.

“Ha-ha! Today’s Opposite Day!”

“You know, sweetie, by saying it’s Opposite Day, you’re really saying it’s not Opposite Day.”

“Okay… It's not Opposite Day. Ha-ha!”

“Oh good. I’m glad it’s not Opposite Day.”

“Daaaa-deee! It is Opposite Day.”

“Which means it’s isn't.”

“Uggghhh! It’s. Not. Opposite Day!”

“Wheew. That’s good news. For a minute I thought it was gonna be Opposite Day.”


“Which means…”

The key here is persistence. Eventually, your child will get so annoyed with you that she will storm off in frustration or breakdown in tears. Either way, she’s forgotten about the ice cream. And that’s Mission Accomplished.

I’ve gotten so good at this technique that when I walk through the front door after an exhausting day and I hear the high-pitched squeal of the Sticky-Fingered Stampede fast approaching, all I have to do is smile and say, “Guess what? Today’s Opposite Day!” And they haul ass for Mommy.


Robin S. said...

Hey BT,

You made me laugh out loud early in the morning, and that's saying something!

I don't know anything about your WIP, but I hope it has your own brand of humor inside it, no matter the genre.


Sarah said...

Ditto what Robin said!

ChristineEldin said...

Ditto Sarah dittoing Robin...

This was really really funny!!

Recently my 10 year old wanted to run away. So I briefly reminded him that nobody else will take his sorry ass, but if he has money he could hole up somewhere for a day or two. (kidding folks! sortof)
Anyway, I did give him real tips on running away, emphasizing the money part. He looked for his money (which I now have hidden) until it was dinner time and he got hungry.

Robin S. said...

Also, let me mention again that your wife is a saint.

That runnin' to Mommy bit had me thinking that again!

blogless_troll said...

Thanks. And yeah Robin she is. The 1st para doesn't fall into the "steaming pile of crap" category.

Chris, our six year old does the same thing. But I think she just enjoys storming out the front door. She gets about halfway to the next driveway and then looks back and that's when she can't keep a straight face. She's the comedienne.

Robin S. said...

Gee, wonder where she got that?

Brenda Bradshaw said...

How did we ever survive without you blogging before now?

You are a brilliant parent. We share this same strategy, perfected to a point with Child #1 and Child #2 that Child #3 and Child #4 REFUSE to play Opposite Day after witnessing the distress of their older sisters.

McKoala said...

I've never met her, but I think I like your wife.

pjd said...

Are you sure we're not the same person? Cuz after reading this, I'm not. Sure, that is. I know I'm the same person as me. I think.

Anonymous said...

See, that's the key. You have to think like they think. This is war, and they are the enemy. We, as Dads, will prevail, or we'll just pop in a video and sir on the couch. Can we do it? Yes we can!

Anyhow, funny post.

blogless_troll said...

Ah-ha-ha! Brenda. That's a great idea. When the little one gets old enough I'll just have to point to the other two and say, "You wanna end up like this? No? Then do what I say."

Thanks, Mic-aye.

Yeah, pjd, a lot of these Daddy tricks are universal I think. Like strug said with the video. That's our ace in the hole. Only problem with the videos strug, at least for me, is I end up watching them too, and the next day at work I'm walking around singing Bob the Builder.