Favorite

Parenthood 

The Observer seems to have a lot of friends right now who are expecting babies come this summer. Our best to all those of round tummy going into this sweltering season. The Observer smiles upon you with the making of the elaborate gesture of blessing, and all that.

Everybody always wants to give new parents advice, and The Observer is not exempt. Just the other day, a friend who is expecting twins told us that the worst part of pregnancy isn't the morning sickness or the weird cravings or being nauseated by Burger King commercials: It's the advice-tinged horror stories people are willing to tell you just because you're pregnant and they were once, too. It's the checkout-line version of The Hook-Handed Maniac on Lover's Lane, we suppose: 105 degree fevers and death dives off monkey bars, eyebrows meeting coffee table corners and pennies jammed into wall sockets.

The Observer and Spouse only have one young'un our damn selves, not having needed more due to the lack of a plow for them to pull or some bass-ackward religion that demands we smoosh out Soldiers of Yahweh as fast as we can, feeding them brown beans at every meal. The Observer has, however, learned a thing or three during our ongoing stint as Dad. So here's our advice for new parents, horror-story free:

1) DISREGARD MOST ADVICE: Kids aren't made on a blueprint from interchangeable parts like a toaster. Because of that, there's a good chance that most advice you're going to get in terms of their day-to-day care may not work on your kid. It's not your fault when it doesn't. And for God's sake, stay off the Google.

2) YOU CANNOT F*** THIS UP: You will feel like a failure sometimes, guaranteed. You will feel like a fraud. As much as you don't want to, sooner or later you'll come to the point you'll yell at your kid. Here's what the parenting books don't tell you, though: Children are like little drunk sociopaths. They have zero empathy, care for personal space, or self-preservation. And because of that, they can drive you a special, bright purple shade of crazy sometimes. And so, you'll yell. Not now. Later. You'll feel terrible afterward. But don't beat yourself up about it. Finally blowing your stack from time to time doesn't make you a bad person, even if that's the one thing in the world you wanted to avoid. The trick is: Keep it rare, and drown any moments of anger with 10 times the love, and love is what they'll remember. Also: Take up a hobby that allows you to pound stuff with a hammer.

3) NO, SERIOUSLY. YOU CANNOT F*** THIS UP: Kids are resilient. We evolved from creatures that lived high in the canopy of the forest, clinging to their mothers' backs and occasionally falling off, and we're all still here. The Observer knows it's terrifying to think about, but they're going to whack their heads, split elbows on the driveway and eat stuff off the floor that a raccoon would think twice about, but they'll be OK. Here's what lots of people don't understand: Falling makes us stronger. Falling lets a kid know she's not made of glass and gives her an awesome respect for what her body can take. It lets her know that if she falls, she can get right the hell back up again and keep going. That's what life is about: keeping going. Remember, you're not a caretaker or a cop. Your real job is preparing them to be on their own. As much as you'll want to put them in a giant hamster ball so they don't get hurt, hang back a bit. Watch them rise, dust themselves off, and realize they can. 

4) DON'T FORGET ABOUT EACH OTHER: After awhile, you're going to feel like being a parent is your job. The problem is, when you start feeling that way, you'll inevitably start to see your co-parent as a co-worker. We're not just talking about the 3 a.m. feeding and diaper-changing years, either (You're going to be so tired during all that stuff that you wouldn't want to go out if Mary Poppins showed up and offered to babysit). No, we're talking especially about down the road: day care and soccer practice and new puppies and trips to Disney World. There's joy in all that. True, unexpurgated joy. But we promise you, if you don't set aside regular, guilt-free time to spend with the person you loved enough to make a baby with, one day, one or both of you will look up and think: Who am I? And the moment you think that, you've already got one foot out the door. So hear this, and remember it: When you carve out time to share with your Significant Other — not just dates, but conversations that don't include kid concerns, kisses by the sink, moments where you plug in a Sesame Street DVD and just go be still and quiet together for as long as you can — you're not really stealing from your kid. In fact, you're giving that child something to aspire to — a person who sees his or her mother or father as a hell of a lot more than just a mother or father. They'll need that example down the road, when they step into the barrel and head over Niagara Falls themselves.

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

People who saved…

Readers also liked…

  • I'm sorry

    I'm sorry we stood by while your generation's hope was smothered by $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, just because you were trying to educate yourselves enough to avoid falling for the snake oil and big talk of a fascist.
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • Addendum

    he Observer has our regrets, just like everybody else. For example: last week, Yours Truly published a cover story on the increasingly ugly fight over Eureka Springs' Ordinance 2223, which is designed to protect a bunch of groups — including LGBTQ people — from discrimination in housing, employment, accommodations, cake buying, browsing, drinking, gut stuffery, knickknack purchasing, general cavorting, funny postcard mailing and all the other stuff one tends to get up to in the weirdest, friendliest, most magical little town in the Ozarks.
    • Apr 30, 2015
  • Snake stories

    The Observer's boss, Uncle Alan, is something of a gentleman farmer on his spread up in Cabot, growing heirloom tomatoes and watermelons and crops of chiggers on property that looks like the perfect farmstead Lenny and George often fantasized about in "Of Mice and Men."
    • Aug 27, 2015

Most Shared

  • Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist resigns

    Bob Scoggin, 50, the Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist whose job it was to review the work of agencies, including DAH and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, for possible impacts on historic properties, resigned from the agency on Monday. Multiple sources say Scoggin, whom they describe as an "exemplary" employee who the week before had completed an archeological project on DAH property, was told he would be fired if he did not resign.
  • Trump proposes an unconstitutional ban on flag burning, revoking citizenship

    Donald Trump, the president-elect of the United States, this morning made a public statement, via Twitter, that the flag burning should be disallowed by law: "there must be consequences — perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!"
  • Child welfare too often about 'punishing parents,' DCFS consultant tells legislators

    Reforms promised by the Division of Children and Family Services are "absolutely necessary," the president of DCFS's independent consultant told a legislative committee this morning. But they still may not be enough to control the state's alarming growth in foster care cases.
  • Donald Trump taps Tom Price for HHS Secretary; Medicaid and Medicare cuts could be next

    The selection of Tom Price as HHS secretary could signal that the Trump administration will dismantle the current healthcare safety net, both Medicaid and Medicare.
  • Fake economics

    Fake news is a new phenomenon in the world of politics and policy, but hokey economic scholarship has been around as long as Form 1040 and is about as reliable as the news hoaxes that enlivened the presidential campaign.

Latest in The Observer

  • Writers blocked

    OK, back to basics, Observer. Get hold of yourself. Give the people what they want, which is escapism! If you don't, this column is eventually just going to devolve into The Prophecies of Hickstradamus at some point in the next four years: "The Orange Vulture perches in the fig tree. The great snake eats Moonpies and Royal Crown Cola by starlight ..." That kind of thing. Nobody likes that. Too much deciphering and such.
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Cassandra

    The Observer's grandfather on our mother's side was a crackerjack fella. Grew up in the sandy hills north of Conway. County boy, through and through. During hog-killing time in December 1941, the story in our family goes, when word of Pearl Harbor reached his little community, he and his friends loaded into his T-model truck and made the rough journey to the first speck of civilization that included an Army recruiting office, where they all enlisted.
    • Nov 24, 2016
  • I'm sorry

    I'm sorry we stood by while your generation's hope was smothered by $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, just because you were trying to educate yourselves enough to avoid falling for the snake oil and big talk of a fascist.
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned

Event Calendar

« »

December

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Ruth Coker Burks, the cemetery angel

    • Thank you, Ruth! Thank you.

    • on December 2, 2016
  • Re: Art in America

    • I have being hearing about this blank ATM card for a while and i never…

    • on December 2, 2016
  • Re: Asa and Trump

    • I have being hearing about this blank ATM card for a while and i never…

    • on December 2, 2016
 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation