Very Special Advice for New Parents

IMG_1788Hello new and prospective parents! I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, “I want to do the very best for my baby!” Of course you do and that’s why I have to give you some advice because sometimes doing the “very best” is actually the “very worst” thing to do. You see, I was once like you. I did all the right things and I have the pictures to prove it.

My first child eating only tofu and veggies while all the children around him ate popsicles? Check.

The black and white board books? Check.

Talking to the baby all the time every day always and forever? Check.

Yes, I was just like you – passionate and committed and completely dedicated to the enrichment of my babies.

But here’s what the experts don’t tell you. Those babies? The ones that get the “very best” babyhood? They grow up to have incredibly high standards – standards that are more than a mere mortal can meet. So, please consider the following:

1. Diet

You wait to introduce solids and then do everything by the schedule recommended by your pediatrician. You brainwash your kid into thinking that fruit is a dessert.

One of two things will happen:

a. Your kid will hide under the couch eating Dum Dums like a wild-eyed troll and you will only discover this when you move the couch and find the wrappers.

b. Your kid will inform you that he will not eat school lunch because the meat is not free-range and the fruit and vegetables are overcooked and not even organic which means you will be packing lunches for the rest of your adult life.

Let them have some junk food once in awhile. Resist the urge to send cantaloupe to school as their birthday “treat.” Also, do not make waffles from scratch. I repeat DO NOT. You will never be able to sneak an Eggo waffle past a kid who has grown up eating homemade. They will shun the Eggo and you will be the Prometheus of Waffles, forever chained to your waffle maker.

2. Free Time

You read to your baby many times a day. You shake those educational toys in your child’s face as many times as she would tolerate. You sit and play My Little Pony for hours even though it makes you want to time travel to the past and kill the maker of My Little Pony so that you never become a Pony Parent. You play board games until the words “chutes” and “ladders” strike fear in your heart.

You know what happens when your kids get older, they will follow you around telling you that they’re “bored” or “don’t have anything to do” and ask 293 times per day if you will play with them. They will be your constant companion forever and ever. You and your child will put the “bro” as in Hasbro.

It’s best to leave them alone. Give them a little space. Do not play Hide N Seek. Just play Hide.

3. Conversation

You narrate life as soon as they place your bundle of joy in your arms. You tell them you are drinking coffee and driving the car and making dinner and shaving your arm pits. You talk to them from the time they woke up until you tuck them in bed at night, convinced that your kids will someday dazzle the world with their vocabulary.

And they will. They will talk to you all the time. Think you can escape the words by having some private time in the bathroom? Fool! There is no private time! Your children will sit outside the door talking to you, telling you the tiniest details about the dream they had about a monster made of olives, “And he bled pizza sauce all over the carpet and you were so mad and then the cat came and we had a tea party and you know what we had at the tea party? We had tea! Now, let me describe the color and consistency of every leaf that was in my dream tea cup!”

They will come into your room at night while you are sleeping and talk to you like you have been in your room just waiting for them. These children do not believe consciousness is required for a conversation. My son once woke me from a dead sleep at 2 a.m. when he walked into our room and said, “Well, I just finished reading Despereaux and here is the thing about that book…” Do you want pre-dawn book reviews? Do you? I don’t think you do.

 

I hope you can see from these tips that setting the bar lower is the key to your survival as a parent. Because, you don’t know this yet, but your survival is much more questionable than theirs. Obviously, they are sly and know how to get their needs met. Why else would I be rattling my waffle maker as I type this?

Thirty Minutes

I have only thirty minutes before I have to pick up the kids from school. I spent the entire day out of the house on an errand for one of the kids and I can’t even tell you what I was doing because both kids are now old enough to find and read my blog–and they do sometimes. Zeca recently gave me some feedback on a parenting vlog I posted about a year ago.

The past few days have been stressful as we begin our high school search with Miguel. Emotions are running high around here and we are all worn out and worn down. So, today, I’m going to leave you with a picture. This is my happy place–Melides.

I’m clicking my heels…

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Dear 14 Year Old Vikki Crying about Math

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Dear 14 Year Old Vikki,

I hope this letter finds you on one of those days when being 14 feels like a miracle, when you can’t imagine life being any better. I want you to get this letter when you managed to get your bangs just right and your teachers found you particularly clever and you laughed a lot with your friends. I want you to be in a good place because I have some bad news that I need to share with you.

Perhaps you should grab a Diet Pepsi and sit down. And while we’re at it, stop drinking that shit. It’s bad for you and, though you’ll eventually switch to Diet Coke (I know – the horror!) you’re hooked on the stuff either way. Someday, they’ll discover it actually leads to obesity which sounds absolutely crazy but whatcha gonna do. It’s science.

So, back to the news…

You know how Algebra makes you crazy? You know how you sit at the kitchen table with Dad and he tries to explain it to you and you get really mad at him and yell at him that he’s “not doing it the right way” and then you cry? You know how you complain constantly about how hard math is for you even though you get good grades and how you plan for a math-free adulthood?

The good news is that the plan works for the most part. You get through high school and go to college and only have to take one math course – Statistics. I know what you’re thinking, “How did I avoid math and still get into the nation’s top medical school?” Yeah, about that…you don’t actually go to medical school but let’s not ruin all the surprises. You do go to graduate school though (I’m not going to tell you what you study because you have to figure some of this out on your own) but the school doesn’t require you to take any more math! That means you only have that one Statistics course after high school!

Very good news!

But I do feel an obligation to warn you which brings us to the bad news. You will have kids…and those kids will have to do math. I don’t know about the  youngest yet because she’s not to Algebra yet but the oldest one is just like you. He complains about math all the time and it’s hard for him even if he does get good grades. And Vikki, my dear sweet younger self, you will find yourself sitting at the dining room table trying to explain math to him and he will yell at you and tell you that you are “not doing it the right way” and you will say the exact same words that Dad says to you, “But what does it matter if I get the right answer?”

This is to say that your perfectly planned and excecuted math-free adulthood will be wrecked by your children. You are doomed to cry over Algebra even though it’s not your work. I’m sorry. I thought you’d want to know.

I have to go because I have to go yell at the kids to go to bed because it’s a school night. Hard to imagine, right? Even though I’m living it, it’s still sometimes weird for me.

Before I go, just a couple more quick tips:

1. I know you just got your driver’s permit but be careful with left turns, especially on that hill by Pierson Park. Also, turn down the Go Go’s when you are driving. Don’t ask questions–just do as I say.

2. Clean that fish tank! You do not want to know what’s going to happen if you don’t.

3. Do not open all your Christmas presents while you are home alone. You’ll be so disappointed when you open your Disc Camera on Christmas morning. Damn. I just ruined it. So, go ahead and open them but you’re going to need another roll of tape to hide your crime.

That’s all I have to say for now. Study hard and be careful with that curling iron!

Love,

46 Year Old Vikki

 

 

 

 

Bananas

Bunch of bananasYou want to know what happens when you do NaBloPoMo and NaNoWriMo and write close to 50,000 words in just over two weeks? You become tired and simple and then one day, you find yourself lying in bed thinking, “You know what’s good? Bananas. Bananas are perfect. I need to be more appreciative of bananas. Maybe I should start a banana fan club. Banana fans! That’s so funny! I’m the funniest person in the world. You know what else is funny? The word ‘chuckle.’ People should use that word more and also they should chuckle more. Chuckling is a lost art. Oh my god…something is moving in the bed…oh wait it’s my foot. Hello Mr. Foot. What are you doing down there? Do you like bananas? Did I make you chuckle?”

The other problem I’m having is that my new rejuvenating eye cream cannot keep pace with the bags under my eyes. Sleep-deprivation and Eye Strain: The Untold Price Paid by Writers. That’s going to be the journal article I write in my head when I’m not thinking about chuckling.

One of the ways to survive the NaWhatevers is to feature pieces you’ve written other places on your blog. We call this “cross-purposing” content or “covering one’s blogging ass.”

I actually wrote the following piece yesterday which will likely be obvious since it makes sense and does not reference banana fans. It’s about my issue with the “gay gene” and it’s featured on VillageQ today. Here is an excerpt:

I believe the issue is more complicated than the twists in our DNA and that we’ll eventually find that there are those who have a biological predisposition and those who do not.

Yes, I believe that–for some people–sexual orientation is a result of life experiences and environment.

Yes, I am saying that I believe it is a choice for some, maybe even for me.

So, head on over there to read the whole thing and join the discussion. Meanwhile, I’m going to drink awful tea and try to write 1,000 words on my novel.