Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I spent an evening in Portland chatting with an old friend. Conversations with him and with my buddy Larry reminded me how difficult it is to be the parent of a toddler.

Back then, parenting was measured in minutes or seconds. You'd suggest an activity like an art project, and the kid would gleefully scribble on a piece of paper. Elapsed time? About 17 seconds. Trying to kill an entire afternoon was like trying to remove all the oxalis from a lawn. Impossible. Futile. Wishing for death-ish.

I recall that Hank would occasionally just announce, without asking permission or even any warning at all, that she needed to go to the bathroom.

I would flip out.

"What? Again?!?! Didn't you go yesterday? WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THE CHILD WHILE YOU'RE IN THERE? Oh, god, DON'T TAKE THE NEWSPAPER IN WITH YOU!!"

Horrible. Traumatic. Reconsidering life decisions-y.

It was a mind-numbing, never-ending series of tiny and unfortunate events, like trying to empty an ocean with an eye-dropper, the kind of eye-dropper that screams and poops. Maybe some kids are easier, and maybe some parents have stronger fu, but for me it was like being imprisoned by a sadistic toddler warden (albeit a cute one).

So, let's give a round of applause and thumbs-up to 9 year-olds, who are happy to sit down and read a book for an hour. That kind of parenting, I can do!

11 comments:

Lola said...

But have you managed to get her to swear at home yet? I will obviously be judging your parenthood skills and qualities on that kind of result. Books, shmooks.

Mike said...

Lola, that's a good metric. Aside from when she whispered "shit" to me, I haven't heard any of those delightful words.

Avery Gray said...

Hmmm...super blogger orgy or an evening spent discussing toddlers.

Good call, Mike.

Mike said...

If you hadn't left the planning of that orgy until the last minute, perhaps it would have all worked out. Clearly you are to blame here.

Avery Gray said...

Orgies, even planned last minute, take precedence over all other previous engagements. Emily Post is never wrong about these things.

Mike said...

That's where you and I differ. I'm a Judith Martin man and she would say the opposite. I mean, Emily Post? Come on!

Avery Gray said...

Judith Martin? Yeah, like she's ever participated in an orgy. I mean, have you SEEN her eyebrows?

Monica said...

toddlers = dictators

Or terrorists.

Or terrorist dictators.

Meg Smetzer said...

Ah young padawans. Toddler Schmodler. You can tie them to a crib. You can bribe with M and M's. They freaking NAP! Just wait until 13. Teens have cell phones and can call friends or 911 in the middle of class or the night to complain how like "totally unfair" you are to make them mow the lawn or put their dishes away. Nice.

Says the mother of a 17 year old. Who has had no problem with the S bomb or the F bomb for a few years now. (Who knew she was listening to me all these years?) This child of mine just went skipping off to Homecoming in a black mini dress and high heels with a 'nice boy' (who runs track, honor roll, Stanford full ride, Mock Congress or Moot Court or something, debate team, blah blah blah) in his mom's white Mustang convertible. I'm pretty sure I held my breath until she got in the door and I locked it between them.

I have two more girls coming up and I'm getting scared. Very scared.

Thank God I was a perfect teenager.

loveyh said...

I must teach Bran how to read. That sounds almost as bun as orgying.

Hehe, I said orgy...

Mike said...

Avery, Judith Martin out-orgies Emily Post any day of the week.

Monica, that is so very true. They are relentless and evil and adorable.

Meg, your secret(s) are safe with me.

Lovey, you DID say orgy. I'm telling!!