Monday, March 11, 2013

Parental Advisory

Sorry for the lack of post last week. I wrote an extensive post/comment on another blog elsewhere but it wasn't really funny so I didn't link to it. Well, unless you think it's funny that NSERC post-docs haven't had a pay raise since 1982. On to today's post:

Normally when I write these posts I get the topic from something I've seen, a photo I've snapped, an issue I want to rant about – that kind of thing. When I get those ideas I'll stick it in a note file on my phone and by the time I start blathering I've got a pretty good idea where I'm going with the thing. This time it's different.

I have no idea what I'm doing.

Which is a pretty good parallel for what I'm about to do, which is have a kid. In case you're out of the loop, Erika could pop any day now. I haven't written about it until now because of what happened with our daughter Claudia; a story far too sad to tell in a blog like this. Now that we're well along in the pregnancy though, we have no shortage of people who are happy to tell us about what to expect when the little guy arrives. As that advice has rolled in I have noticed some themes, a few of which I'd like to share:

1) "Topper" syndrome.
"The Topper" is a character in Dilbert comics who always wants to have the best story in the room. There's an analogue of this in child rearing, in which people seem to delight in telling you about the worst possible scenarios you could expect.

"Oh wow, just wait until your kid craps straight out of his diapers and all over his clothes. I swear, there was one time Timmy literally exploded and sent poop everywhere. Honestly, we had to put him back together like he was a Lego man or something."

"Wait until they're big enough to start climbing stuff. I turned my back for one second yesterday and when I turned around he was halfway up the bookshelf and juggling knives. Scared the hell out of me but at least I got a pic on my phone. Want to see it?"

"Did you get covers for your electrical outlets? I hope you got covers for your electrical outlets. We saw Suzy poking at them during the holidays and like fools we didn't do anything about it. Then when Christmas morning rolls around what do we find behind the tree? Meth lab."

2) The Baby Board complex.
If you've ever gone to a parenting website (or even facebook) you've seen this. It's a product of the fact that there's literally as many ways to parent a child as there are parents. Let me walk you through the thought process of a baby boarder:

    FACT: There are hundreds of options I must choose from on this one issue.
    FACT: I can only select one of those options.
    FACT: I will do the best thing for my child.

    CONCLUSION: The best thing you can do for your child is the option I selected.

People are understandably pretty invested in the quality of their parenting, but it can get confusing when you've got different people drawing a line in the sand and saying their way is unequivocally the best method... and they're saying opposite things. Fortunately Erika and I will just think through things on our own and carefully select the best best options for our own child. And if you choose differently, well whatever. It's not my problem you don't love your kid as much as I love mine.

3) Parenting Amnesia
The first two were about new parents, this one is about old parents. As in, the parents of my generation. To understand this phenomenon, consider some statistics I just made up:

78% of young parents spend at least one hour a week fantasizing about using duct tape as a parental aid.
81% of old parents say their kids were "pretty easy" to handle.

65% of new moms refer to their labour experience in the same way Iraq veterans refer to their last deployment.
88% of old moms refer to their labour experience as "not too bad".

100% of new parents are super proud of how young their kid started talking/walking/eating solid foods/reading/contributing to their RRSP.
100% of old parents are super proud of how young their kid started talking/walking/eating solid foods/reading/contributing to their RRSP.

I guess you're never too young to start optimizing your memories.



What's with that photo? They should have just called it the BrAun Douchebagger. Oh well, at least they went whole-hog and spelled Braun in a douchey way.


  1. Point taken. Own business being minded. And I passionately second the Amnesia comment. If they had FB posts to look back on, the PTSD would rear its ugly head.

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