Parenting — You’re Doing It Wrong

18 Aug

Parenting. If I were to try and describe what it’s like to be a parent, I would start with this: It’s like a 1-million piece jigsaw puzzle that the dog ate up the box to and you have to rely on a bunch of 4th-graders playing telephone to relay the directions to you in your attempt to try and put it together. More simply, none of the pieces fit. Nothing looks remotely similar or correct. It’s literally one of the most unfair jobs that this world has to offer — yes even more unfair then the guy who has to clean the bathrooms at your local college bar on Friday morning after Ladies’ Night. On second thought, it is definitely more unfair because you are the guy cleaning the bathrooms, it’s just that the puke is sometimes on your t-shirt and not only on the floor. Forget everything that the movies or society make you think being a parent is going to be like. There is not a more tiring, thankless, dirty, disgusting, rewarding, joyous, or challenging job then that of parent to a toddler.

The other side to parenting is that everyone around you is a professional. Even you, yes you. Heck, even I am also a professional, a seasoned vet. It seems that everyone knows the self-acclaimed “right way” to tackle every situation that you are up against, everyone has a little bit of advice, and everyone has some inherent right to give you that look when your kid is not responding to whatever parenting method you decided to use at that point in time. You know what look I am talking about. That — “You poor thing….That’s not how I would’ve done it!” look. Well, because of this extensive knowledge base (or perhaps in spite of it) I have developed a quick test to gauge if you are employing the correct parenting techniques in a variety of situations. Please note: these questions are developed from or are strongly based on real life experiences. You have 1.4 seconds (the average time a parent has to respond to a crisis) to complete the test, GO.

1) Your child has just picked up a piece of dog poop in your back yard. You decide to:
a) Run at him yelling and screaming hoping to God that you will scare the crap literally right out of his hand.
b) Sit back. It’s bath day, and he needs to learn at some point that not everything is a goldfish cracker.
c) Shout “NO!!”, only to realize it is too late and then spend the next 45 minutes washing every part of your toddler that you can get a hand on with anti-bacterial soap. Over-sanitization does not exist in the toddler world.

2) You are sitting in the living room when you suddenly realize that it is quiet. Too quiet. You walk around the corner to find all of the toilet paper, your toddler, AND your socks in the toilet. You:
a) Calmly pull your child out of the toilet, chalk up the toilet paper as a loss, and thank the heavens that it was “clean” water.
b) Shriek in terror, which spurns a giggle of glee from your child as he splashes the water and soggy TP around in the bowl. At this point you break down onto the floor in the fetal position and start sobbing uncontrollably.
c) Can’t beat ’em, join ’em. A roll of toilet paper costs only $0.98, the plunger work that you’re about to leave for your spouse to do when they get home is priceless.

3) You are taking your child to church, and on the way to nursery (which he has loved every time prior) he starts bawling right as you round the corner. You:
a) Give them a kiss on the head, hand them to the helpless high school-aged helper, and run for the sanctuary
b) Sit with them for a while in the nursery, hoping they will get involved with a toy and forget you even exist.
c) Memorize your call number so that when it flashes on the screen you can calmly get up and go get them, only to have them suddenly stop crying and be completely happy as soon as you reverse around the same corner that began the whole escapade.

4) You are camping in the mountains and after playing in the dirt all day it is time for the kiddo to get a bath. Upon setting him down in the water he promptly drops the biggest deuce you’ve ever seen into your camper bath tub. You:
a) Take the child from the tub, towel him off, dress him, and wait for someone — anyone, the tooth-fairy, Magic Johnson, Santa Claus — to come and make it disappear.
b) Shriek in terror, which spurns a giggle of glee from your child as he splashes the poopy water around the tub and inevitably out of it and onto you. Your mouth was closed — a win considering the alternative.
c) Clean it up using grocery bags, a full roll of paper towels, and 2 liters of 409. Make a mental note to book campgrounds that have great reviews on the shower house facilities for future trips.

5) While shoe-shopping at the local Nike store, a rather daunting (but super friendly) man waves and says “Hi!” to your toddler. Your child immediately melts down crying. You:
a) Awkwardly apologize, say something to the effect of “He never does this!”, while laughing nervously and walk away hoping you never see him again.
b) Go over and give the guy a high-five, not because the guy just scared the living poo out of your kid but more to try and make them realize that this guy is a good guy. See! Dad and him are practically bros! Hey while we’re at it, could I get an employee discount? No? Ok.
c) Can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Break down onto the floor and into the fetal position sobbing uncontrollably. “WHY’D YOU HAVE TO BE SO SCARY, MAN!?” you shout at him between sobby breaths.

6) At dinner one night your child decides that upon completion of his meal he will throw his milk sippy at his mother and clear off all food left on the tray with one fell swoop of his tiny baby arm. You:
a) Give him a thump on the head and sternly tell him no. His reply is “BAH JAH LALALA” which roughly translates to “Can’t touch this, Hammer Time”.
b) Bury your head in your hands, and wonder how soon you could put him to bed.
c) Look at your spouse and say, “Geez Sweets, this kid just does not appreciate good cooking!”. Brownie points with the Mrs are always handy to have….

Ok so what were your answers? a,c,d,c,b,b? No? b,c,d,d,a,b? Am I throwing you off because I keep asking if you answered “d” when there wasn’t a “d”? Exactly. The answers don’t matter, because there isn’t a right one and there really isn’t a wrong one. Ok, there were a couple that aren’t exactly socially acceptable… but wrong? Nah. Actually to be honest, most all of these situations and answers have happened to us and I am sure they aren’t much different from something you’ve experienced too. It’s just another glorified day in the life of a parent. And oh, yeah, by the way — you’re doing it all wrong.

 

IMG_4436

Playin with his truck

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“Honestly Mom, I don’t see what the issue is…”

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