Tag Archives: parenting

You’re Not Having a Baby

5 Oct

Congratulations on your pregnancy, but you’re not actually having a baby. It will be a baby when it’s born, but that will likely comprise the shortest period of his or her life. You’ll feed, bathe, and teach this baby in its most formative years, and this will help form a lasting bond between the two of you, one which you will attempt to strengthen throughout your lifetime and your child will diligently attempt to reject.

Say you’re having a child, that’s more truthful. You’re having an actualized, self-aware human being who cannot wait to test his or her new art supplies on your nice clean walls. A child you will have to chastise for furtively clutching their genitals in public. A child that introduces you to a world of kid-centric inanity of which you could not previously conceive. Whatever you enjoy doing now will end when this kid is born, it will be replaced by trips to the toy store and incomprehensible children’s movies and long, rambling stories about what happened in some cartoon that day, and why this means you need to buy the new Sgt. Slutbag of the Jersey Shore Patrol doll. But it’s not all horrors and trials raising children, there are many rewarding moments like when your offspring mispronounces “pasketti.” No, it’s not so bad having a child, which is why I think people should announce that they are having a teenager.

No one can possibly like a teenager, they will simply not allow it to happen. Prepare yourself for shitty attitudes and deep, hair-blowing sighs heaved in your direction. You will never know how stupid you really are until you have a teenager, and then they will remind you of this fact at every turn. Appreciate having your wallet rifled through, your clothing purloined, your newly-purchased food mysteriously vanish just as your teenager asks what’s for dinner–a meal that he or she will absolutely despise, no matter what the composition. Try to feel enchanted when your darling baby tells you that he or she didn’t ask to be born. Embrace the fact that your kid is going to want to fuck, constantly, and you will have to stoically ignore their crusty underwear stains and obnoxious pornographic materials. Still, you can probably remember being a teenager, and knowing that folks often come out the other side of puberty perfectly cordial. So if you can muddle through this period (heh), then you can begin the next stage of development, one which you likely did not consider before getting knocked up or doing the knocking: the clinging young adult.

The legal responsibility for your child will end when he or she turns eighteen, but realistically you’ll be supporting them for a while beyond that. Be sure to scrimp and save for an overpriced college tuition so your progeny can blow it all on a degree in Medieval Literature. You’ll know that cash has gone to good use when the student comes home on break and reinforces how clueless you are. Anticipate coming home from your regular workday to find every dish in the house sullied and left in clattering heap that towers over the edge of the sink. Get used to the smell of marijuana wafting through your household and listening to your offspring detail numerous hare-brained schemes, many of which will require an investment on your part. Luckily for you, your legal and a large part of your social responsibility to your adult brat has concluded, and now you can show him or her the door.

Which brings us to what you’ve really had all along: an ungrateful, bitter adult, one who will never call and might visit once a year, if their partner allows. After all the shit you’ve been put through, this bubbling baby, this cranky child, this morose teenager and shiftless young adult now blames you for his or her existential anguish, and the best evidence for your kid’s spiteful attitude is that you will see him or her maybe two dozen times in the last twenty years of your life. This is what you’ve wrought, not a loving, needful baby, but an angry, mordant adult whose absence serves only to make your twilight years lonelier than they might have been had you been childless. Though I suppose if we choose to look at it in these terms, no one would have children ever again.

Mothers, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Assholes

28 Feb

I am of an age that many of my friends and peers have children. I am high-minded, I don’t hold it against them or judge them for their handicap. Likely they were motivated by fear or guilt to have kids, so really they’re the victim in all of this. And yet no court in the land would sentence a baby to prison for holding adults hostage with their incessant needs. That’s the modern justice system for you.

When I think back to my childhood, which essentially happened during the Reagan administration, I remember feeling like I was the Most Important Person in the Universe. I think that my generation was the first one to be wantonly targeted by marketing departments of various corporations. Not that children weren’t catered to before, but in my time Sesame Street relented after a decade of not licensing their puppets to toy manufacturers. No cartoon or kids’ show existed that did not have a full line of products supporting it. Ewoks were inserted into Return of the Jedi at the last minute simply for franchise opportunities. It seems like my generation was the first to be seen as having a nearly limitless purchasing power.

Still, my childhood did not center around childish things. I liked Transformers a lot, I certainly played with plenty of Fisher Price toys. However, my mother also felt it was important that I see the original King Kong when I was six. She rented Fritz the Cat for me when I was thirteen, a character I was familiar with having seen Robert Crumb comics of my father’s when I was eight years old. I watched Inspector Gadget and Heathcliff and Friends as a kid, but I was also very into The Young Ones and Soap. I feel that as important as it was to my parents that I feel safe and educationally stimulated, they were also concerned that I didn’t grow up to be lame.

When I visit my Friends Who Have Children’s houses, I wonder if I should call a psychiatrist who specializes in hoarding disorders to save these people from the mountains of bulky, plastic crap that threaten to engulf their entire homes. And these are the parents of children who can barely walk, mind you. The DVD collections, alone, wielded by some of these kids would send the most obsessive compulsive completest movie collector into a depression spiral. You’ve got six year-olds with MP3 players, ten year-olds with cellular phones. Most of this shit didn’t exist when I was a kid. I remember it was a big deal when my family got a VCR in 1982, which meant we could accrue a library of movies. The first movie I recall watching on video tape was David Lynch’s Eraserhead.

Maybe my folks were bad parents. I think that by today’s standard, they’d probably be considered negligent or whatever. They encouraged me to do the things I wanted to do, but didn’t feel the need to occupy my every second with targeted entertainment and bullshit. It’s no wonder that each generation increasingly seems to expect the world to be handed to them, because it’s being foisted on them every second of their lives up until they stop developing secondary sex characteristics. I can remember when I felt the steadying hand of focused marketing slip away, I was about twenty-five and suddenly I realized I was older than most of the actors I saw on television and artists whose music I enjoyed. It’s a bittersweet thing when you grow out of your demographic, but I suppose it’s a rite of passage, like falling off your bicycle or acquiring your two-hundredth Pokemon.

Congratulations on Fulfilling Your Biological Imperative

17 Feb

You’re going to have a baby? Congratulations! You have proven your virility or fertility, and your physical deformities and abnormalities are forgiven since we know you’ve got “the goods.” On behalf of humankind, I’d like to say: THANK you for adding another screaming, puking fecal factory that will further drain our already dwindling resources, and add pollutants that will speed us along our species’ singular path towards oblivion. We completely understand that your responsibility to conserve and recycle does not include plastic diapers and pacifiers, or the hundreds of dollars of noisy crap your child will accumulate before the age of three that he or she will not even recall by the first grade.

It should go without saying that you are hereby absolved of any goals, dreams or aspirations you may have had prior to getting pregnant. Don’t let our eye rolling or impatient sighing stop you from talking about what color your child’s vomit is at different times of the day. You may stop working on self-improvement and maintaining an open mind as you begin to instill your child with your ever present fears and anxieties. How subtly your intend to resent this kid for ruining your potential is up to you. Remember: this is your baby. You own him or her. There are no right or wrong answers in parenting, just right ones. Because you said so.

Of course, you’ll want to raise your child in the reverse fashion of your own horrible, scarring upbringing. Be sure to smother where your parent neglected and be sure to deprecate where your parent encouraged. From time to time, you might take a look at what you’re doing and consider the possibility that you’re repeating the same mistakes as your parent. Don’t let that stop you! Remember that whatever adversities your parent faced while raising you pale in comparison to what’s in store today. While you may have taken the easy route and let television raise your child out of necessity, your parent did it out of laziness and inherent cruelty. So there’s a difference.

Most importantly, have fun! Becoming a parent will be the thing that probably frames your whole existence from here on out, so learn to enjoy it. As your gurgling baby grows into a disappointing adult who has rejected your every teaching and provokes you in ways you never thought possible among rational humans, make sure to appreciate each milestone and marvel at every accomplishment. Their passage will strengthen your sense of mortality and irrelevance. I am so excited for your blessing! You have passed into the elite cadre of Practically Every Fucking Body. May you parent judiciously and righteously, except when you’re hungover when you will parent arbitrarily.

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