One of my parental fantasies is that one day when I am gone, my children will talk eloquently about all the good advice I gave them on life and love and being good people. In my fantasy my kids are sitting on a dock by the lake in the twilight, with their families, all wearing flowy linen clothing, as some haunting instrumental music – [anything but Kenny G] – is playing in the background, and reminiscing about their mother while sparkly tears roll down their cheeks. Ummm yeah…. unfortunately I think that they will mostly remember my poetic words like – “Adam, if you hadn’t spit on her she wouldn’t have hit you“! Or – “you two had better get along because one day when mommy and daddy DIE you will be alone and need each other”.
So I have found myself saying the following things to my children on various occasions – and I hope to god I’m not the only parent because that would make it very lonely here in my parenting fox hole!
1) What do you mean those pants aren’t on backwards? The tag is in the front and the pockets are on the back – that’s the definition of backwards!
2) Yes you must wear underwear – at all times – even if you are going to be changing into swim suits sometime in the next week – YES EVEN TO SCHOOL!! Have you not been wearing underwear to school??! Don’t shrug your shoulders – that isn’t funny!
3) Because soap has important cleaning properties which will make you smell better and destroy the germs on your body – do you want to be the stinky kid at school – well, do you?!
4) I don’t care that you poured chocolate syrup on your broccoli to make it taste better – I warned you against that course of action – just eat the damn broccoli!
5) No I will certainly not be sending the chicken curry to starving children around the world just because you don’t want to eat it!
6) No you may not go to your friend’s house at 6:30 in the morning on a Saturday – how is it that I can’t get you out of bed at 8 on a weekday and yet you wake up at the ass-crack-of-dawn on a weekend anyway?!
7) Please, please, please – for the love of all that is holy – can we not watch this inane movie for the 1000th time or I’m going to have to gouge my eyeballs out with a blunt teaspoon!
8) How did you manage to tear gigantic holes on the TOPS of your shoes after only 2 days of owning them? That is not normal wear and tear – that takes some creative destruction!
9) Rearranging the piles of clothes on your bedroom floor or just moving them to the bed does not constitute cleaning! Your room is clean when I can walk into it without having to leap over mountains of stuff or dodge falling debris from your shelves. And NOOOOO, WHY ON GOD’S GOOD EARTH WOULD YOU APPLY NAIL POLISH WHILE SITTING ON THE CARPET!!
10) What the Helvetica font… – a bowl of skittles is not an acceptable breakfast or snack!! Please eat this carrot stick I am tossing in your general direction… just to make me happy?!!
I’m really hoping that these nuggets of wisdom will ensure that my kids grow up to be happy and well-adjusted because I’m kind of concerned that this is the sort of subtle and nuanced parenting they can expect from me for the foreseeable future!