On Parenting - Originally posted on shortlived parenting blog started and stopped in 2011
You really only need one thing to be a dad … I am referring of course to
kids. You don’t even need plural “kids.”
Just one will do. I happen to have more than one. In fact, if kids are
qualifications for a blog on parenting, my resume is so impressive it’s frightening.
Not to overstate it. I only have four kids. These days, that’s
about as many as you can have before people start thinking oddly of you. With
four kids, old folks stop you on the street and tell you what a beautiful family
you have. With five, everyone expects you to start handing out pamphlets on the
Four is plenty. I used to think three was enough.
Heck, two was a handful. But, for some
reason, we couldn’t stop. So we have four. Three girls and one boy. Ages, 9, 6, 4, and 2 – in that order.
As a general disclaimer, I love my kids. Each one is great, and different. And each drives me absolutely nuts at
times. Some more often than others.
Take the first one, as an
example. She is brilliant. I know what you are thinking. Every dad thinks their kid is brilliant. Maybe.
But I tell you, she is smarter than most other kids I know - if you follow what I'm saying. Though the boy is
only 2, so he still has a chance. She is also an intensely vexing child. I used to watch Sally Jesse Raphael and
wonder how parents could screw up so bad. Now, I understand. I understand, Sally! Please make it stop. Uncle!
The doctors say she is a spirited
child. That’s actually a word, or a
phrase -- a term d’art for a kid that is a total pain in the buttocks, in a
brilliant sort of way. There are even books on it. I know because after the doctors told us, my
mother-in-law found the book, bought it, and sent it to us with a Dear Abby
column on spirited children tucked in as a book mark. Thanks.
My wife read the book. I decided to just live the movie.
number two is far more mellow. Very sweet and loving. She always has been. When
she could barely talk, she used to say, “You are the best Daddy ever.” I would
tell her, thanks, but you have nothing to compare it too. Still it was nice to
She is so sweet and so
loving that I fear we screwed her up too. She has always been able to live well
within the boundaries that number one pushed. So we almost never have to correct
her, or anything. A few weeks ago the
bad parent alarm sounded when she looked right at me and said, “Daddy, no one
ever says no to me.” Oops. We have decided to start saying no to her
every once and a while.
Kid number three is just plain crazy – in a cute
sort of way. She is funny and
random. A real comedian. Even though she is just three years old, she
has this innate ability to remember movie lines. And I swear we don’t use movies
as baby sitters too much. Scouts
honor. So some of these movies she’s
only seen once. After the first time she
saw Monsters vs. Aliens (yes, we let
a three year old watch it), she walked around saying, “Suuuusan. Oh, I just
scared myself. That is scary.” And then
she would laugh.
Number three laughs a lot, pretty much whenever she
isn’t crying or screaming at her older sisters.
There is very little middle ground.
It’s either smiles or tears.
Hopefully she finds something in the middle, and soon. But, no doubt about it, she is a real card.
The boy, who is the baby, is still revealing his personality to us. For a while, we thought he was going to be
real mellow, like number two. But now we think that was just him being a baby –
you know, laying around and not causing any trouble. The façade of mellowness ended when he
started crawling around – reaching for stuff, knocking stuff over, throwing
anything he could grab. Now that he is walking, we have reassessed his energy
level. He is not mellow. He’s happy and good natured. But not mellow.
So that’s a primer on
the kids. My resume for a posts on parenting. I also have references, though I am afraid
what they may say.
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