Like the end of television season, summer has clearly hit the world of blogging. The internet seems to be humming with the ennui of long lazy days unfettered by anything substantive. Dullness seems to be running rampant. In fact, as Neal Pollack says, the dullness seems to almost defy description, even in the blog format...where banality is rarely an impediment!
Here at Casa MetroDad, I've taken a vow to spare you from the minutiae of my daily life. However, as usual, I've got a bunch of random things on my mind so I've decided to throw up another Chaos Theory post. However, unlike previous Chaos Theory posts, all of today's ramblings seem to be centered primarily on parenting.
So, for those of you without kids, feel free to either (1) skip this insufferably long post entirely, (2) consider me a cautionary tale, or (3) try not to vomit from any sappy parent-related gushing.
So without further ado...
MORE NON-SEQUITUR RAMBLINGS OF A 2.5 YEAR-OLD!
At the Peanut's age, you almost have to spend every single minute with her in order to fully understand the context of everything she's saying. If not, you'd probably think you just encountered the weirdest little kid in the world. Anyway, here are some recent gems:
1. BossLady and I have been teaching Peanut how to cross the street
in Manhattan. Our coaching method basically entails waiting at each
corner, pointing at the pedestrian signal, and telling her, "When the red hand is there, you have to
stop. When the white man is there, then you can go." It's practically
become our mantra and the Peanut is proving to be a quick learner. In
fact, she's so proud of her newfound knowledge that she feels compelled
to instruct other people on how to properly cross the street.
Yesterday, she sidled up to a stranger who was standing off the curb
and emphatically stated, "You have to listen to the white man!"
Ironically, the guy was African-American and, while shaking
his head, he gave me one of those "damn brother, what the fuck are you
teaching your daughter?" looks.
This shit doesn't happen to other people, does it?
2. The Peanut loves dressing herself. Last week, I was going out to walk the dog and she insisted on coming so I told her to hurry up and get dressed. What does she end up putting on? Hawaiian pajama pants, a Polo shirt dress, a pair of sequined red tap shoes, Mardi Gras beads, pink sunglasses, and a duck whistle in her mouth. As we got in the elevator, I looked at her and said, "Dude, you look like a homeless Minnie Pearl." Yesterday afternoon, we walked outside our building and our resident homeless guy was passed out drunk on our stoop. When Peanut asked me why the man was sleeping, I said he wasn't sleeping, he was just homeless. The Peanut carefully walked up to him and with great curiosity exclaimed, "You're Minnie Pearl?"
3. The other day, Peanut found an old pack of rolling papers from about 10 years ago. When
she asked me what they were, I told her they were "nose stickers" and
proceeded to lick them and stick them all over her face. We both were
laughing our asses off and, after we were done messing around, I tossed
the rolling papers into the trash. Well, apparently Peanut went into
the garbage and grabbed a few more because when I was picking her up at
daycare today, she reached into her pocket, pulled out a few
rolling papers, and yelled out, "Look Daddy, nose stickers!" I really should start saving for her therapy now, shouldn't I?
MY NAME IS SLIM SHADY!
Last week, we were leaving the apartment and I had to go back to turn off all the lights. Suddenly, the Peanut turns around and yells to me, "C'mon, Pierre! Let's go!"
WTF? I didn't even know she knew my name!
Apparently, this is a phase that all kids go through. However, after the initial shock wore off, I sat Peanut down in the elevator and explained to her that, during the entire course of her lifetime, she was to call me, "daddy." When I see kids call their parents by their first names, I always envision these weird Laguna Beach parents who want to "chill" with their kids and "hang" together. Shit, that is NEVER going to happen to me. In fact, I even told Peanut that if she ever felt the need to call me something other than "daddy," she should go with "Mr. Daddy."
Just kidding. I think. Ok, maybe not really. All I really know is that if I ever called my father by his first name when I was a little kid, my ass would still be sore! Is this an Asian thing?
THE FRESH AIR FUND
We've recently been spending our weekends at my good friend The Doctor's beach house in the Hamptons. While The Doctor takes a 19-minute private helicopter ride, I've been spending my Friday afternoons sweltering in non-stop traffic for 4 hours while the Peanut kicks me in the head from the backseat. However, it's all been worth it to see my lovely daughter exposed to life outside the city. In the past few weeks, she's discovered the joys of sleeping in until noon, spending entire days in the pool, running around on the beach naked, and drinking martinis until 4:00 am.
Oh shit, that's not her. That's me! Has anyone seen my daughter? She was just here a second ago!
HOT CHICKS WITH DOUCHEBAGS
I am not joking when I say that, almost once a week, I get an e-mail from a father directing me to the website Hot Chicks With Douchebags. Without fail, the e-mail usually says something like, "Holy cow, MD! Have you seen this site? As a fellow father with a daughter, this really isn't helping me cope with the fact that my little girl is going to be dating in the next 10-15 years! What do I do if she ends up with one of these tools?"
At first, I found myself mildly amused. After all, if I raise my daughter properly, I can't imagine that she'd ever end up with guys like the Rooster, Yellowtail, or Pumpy. But then I started thinking, "Hey, these women look fairly normal. I'm sure they all have fathers. And at one point, they must have been cute, little toddlers who were the apple of their father's eye."
Needless to say, I'm now obsessed not only with the site but with making sure that my daughter doesn't end up with a douchebag. Being a very proactive parent, I'm constantly using everyday life to teach my daughter important lessons. In our daily lives, everything is a case study. Why not douchebaggery?
While scouring the internet for teaching materials, I came across Big Daddy Drew, a retired (but hilarious) daddy blogger. Thankfully, Drew has not only compiled an excellent working definition of douchebaggery but also identified some prime living examples.
For all you fathers with daughters out there, consider this a Public Service Announcement.
SOUND BITES: RECENT TV QUOTES ABOUT PARENTS AND/OR KIDS
"Sometimes the clothes at Gap Kids are just too flashy. So I'm forced to go to the American Girl store and order clothes for large colonial dolls."---Angela, discussing her petite-size shopping habits, on "The Office"
''I'll go unlock the kids and make us all breakfast.''---T-Bag on "Prison Break"
''My mother used to tell me every day is my birthday...but that was to cover for her addiction to beer and cake. It ended up killing her, on what turned out to be my real birthday.''---Jay on the "Sarah Silverman Program"
''Angelina Jolie adopted her first child in Cambodia, her second in Ethiopia, gave birth to her third in Namibia, and now from Vietnam. She's working her way down the alphabet. Stay cool, Yemen, she’s coming.''---Jimmy Kimmel
''He was a great dad. Every year he got so mad when Santa didn't bring me presents.''---Homer, defending Grandpa, on "The Simpsons"
IMMIGRATION & ASSIMILATION AT THE PICNIC TABLE
Growing up in a Korean immigrant household, I missed out on many "American" things. I've talked about this issue before but, now that I have a young daughter, I find myself trying to recreate the missing "American" parts of my childhood. For some reason, many of them center around food.
For example...growing up, my brother and I didn't spend cool summer evenings roasting S'mores outdoors on the barbecue. We spent them massaging my father's calloused feet while eating beef jerky on the floor next to the fan.
We didn't have BBQ chicken picnics on the beach. We gnawed on pig's feet in the back seat of the Oldsmobile while my father drove us to cheap motels in the Poconos.
Flash forward to the summer of 2007.
BossLady, Peanut and I are like the all-American family. We're constantly having picnics outside or eating on our rooftop deck. We'll whip up some pasta salad, roast a chicken, grill some baby-back ribs, and eat fresh corn underneath the stars. It's all so damn normal.
However, there's a small part of me that wistfully looks back on those weirdly dysfunctional summer family dinners and wishes that they were a part of the Peanut's life also. It's funny getting older, isn't it? All those little things from our childhood that we hated and thought scarred us emotionally frequently turn out to be some of our fondest memories.
Ok, well maybe not the rubbing feet part.
COOL PARTY TRICKS FOR THE TODDLER SET
This morning, I was still half-asleep when Peanut crawled into our bed and asked me to read "Goodnight, Moon" to her. In my groggy state, I just turned over and said, "why don't YOU read it to ME, Peanut?"
Next thing I know, I hear the Peanut reading, "Goodnight room. Goodnight moon. Goodnight cow jumping over the moon. Goodnight light, and the red balloon..."
In total shock, I look up and see that she's actually reading. As she's speaking each phrase, she's turning the pages of the book in perfect accordance. Needless to say, I jumped out of bed, turned to the BossLady and yelled out, "Holy Shit! The Peanut can read! She's a fucking genius!"
Of course, BossLady just started laughing at me. Turns out that she's read the book to Peanut so many times that the kid has the words and the page turns completely memorized.
Damn, I almost thought I had the next Mensa kid!
Quick story: when my buddy Kyle had Lasik surgery, he stayed with his grandparents. The next day, his grandmother asked how the operation went. Kyle replied, "It's
incredible, Grandma. Go across the kitchen, pick up that bottle of
ketchup, and hold it up for me." With his grandmother standing about
75 feet away, Kyle starts reciting, "Tomato concentrate made with red
ripe tomatoes, distilled vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, salt,
spice, onion powder..."
Needless to say, his grandmother was about to have a heart attack until Kyle confessed that he had memorized the ingredients 15 minutes ago so he could play that prank on her.
Now I know how she felt. Damn, punk'd by your own flesh and blood!
MONKEY SEE, MONKEY DO (A METRODAD RANT)
Parenting is the most important job on the planet next to keeping Lindsay Lohan off the nation's highways.
Now I'm no expert on parenting. However, if there's one thing I've learned, it's that kids are the sponge and us parents are the Super Soakers. The tendency of children to emulate the behavior that they see from their parents has got to be the closest thing to an absolute truth that there is in parenting.
Last week, I caught the Peanut zoning out in front of the television. She was lying back on the couch with one hand down her pants and the other one grasping the remote. I remember thinking to myself, "Now where the heck would she pick up something like that?" Two hours later, I found myself in exactly the same position. What can I say? We're all products of our environment.
And although we all undeniably impact our children in different ways, there's no denying the effect we all have on them.
Now, before I had a kid, I like to think I was generally a pretty decent guy. Sure, I was a hedonistic young man and would sometimes lapse into moments of selfishness. Like when I'd toss Cuban cigars out my convertible while giving old ladies the finger for cutting me off on the Long Island Expressway. Then there were all those times I yelled at waiters for bringing me the wrong vintage of Cristal champagne. And hell, I can't even recall how many fights I had at the polo fields because my horse's mane hadn't been brushed properly. What can I say? I used to be a major a-hole!
All kidding aside, there's no doubt that being a parent has made me a better person. Personally, I strive to live my life by setting an example for my daughter that she can both emulate and respect. I want her to see her parents treating people kindly. I want her to see them trying to help those who are less fortunate. And I want her to see that, at the end of the day, we're all in this shit together.
Even when having to deal with all the crap that life throws your way, I try to behave as if my daughter is watching my every move. Because you know what? Most of the time she is.
But as I look around today, I see a lot of parents living in denial. Their kids walk around with this sense of entitlement and are frequently rude, self-absorbed, pushy, and cruel. Now, I'm not saying all kids are like that. It just seems that every time I walk into a playground or a restaurant these days, I'm amazed at how many maladjusted kids are roaming around. Meanwhile, the parents walk around and wonder where this behavior is coming from. However, is it ever really much of a surprise? Teachers, friends, neighbors alike all seem to know. Why is it that the parents never do?
Don't get me wrong. Parenting is hard work.
But look, if you're going to have a child, you need to do the rest of us a favor. Commit enough time, love and wisdom to those tiny humans so that we're assured that your kid won't someday end up in a Texas bell tower with a high-powered rifle and a grudge anytime soon.
Kids are a lot of responsibility. Maybe some people should start off a little lower on the responsibility ladder before working their way up to having a kid. You know, start off getting something a little easier, like a job. Or a dog. Or three days sober in a row. And then, if you can handle that, work your way up to the care and responsibility of another human being.
If you are a parent, try to set better examples for your kid. Don't be an asshole to other people in front of them. Treat others as you'd want your own kid to be treated. Rise up out of the mire of your own narcissism and get selfless. You want to make the world a better place? Start with those little ones right in front of you. Be good to them, show them the right way to treat people, and they'll return the favor to you in spades.
Look, I'm not saying that I'm a perfect parent but I like to think that I can stare between the stars into the blackness of heaven and say with a smile on my face, "I'll do anything and everything to be a good parent."
And as Dennis Miller once said, "when you can say that, you're finally ready to be a real parent. Almost. Get yourself a copy of The Lion King."
"Ok, NOW you're ready!"