The World Doesn’t Need More Mini-Me’s

The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.

The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.

When I was a bit younger and there was no TVLand, I watched a show called Family Ties on NBC.  On the show, Michael J Fox, before the movies, was a young, Reagan loving country club republican who held Nixon and the burgeoning economy of the 80’s int the highest regard.  This was in stark contrast to his hippy parents who worked for public television or whatever and embraced highly liberal views.  That was the joke see, the kid was a Republican and they were hippies. Hilarity ensues.

Now that I’m a parent I see the wisdom of this show.  The world doesn’t need more people who think like their parents. The world needs people who think like the next generation of humans.  People who see the world’s value based on the future, not on the past. Unfortunately, I see everyday people trying to coax, prod, push, kick and scream their child into becoming a clone of themselves.  To affirm the values that they have used in their lives to get by every day.  They hold the same mannerisms. Value the same things (tv, junkfood, expensive cars, germaphobia, xenophobia and so on) and instill the same primitive, puritanical fears that they had instilled into them by their parents. It sucks and it will continue I’m sure.

I think that I will be a successful parent if my child feels the freedom, strength and confidence in themselves to be able to be the polar opposite of me. To resist my views, question my thinking and chose a different path.  I won’t be insulted and I won’t take offense.  I will feel honored that my child had the intellectual freedom  and the “sanctuary” to feel something different.  On the other hand, maybe they will pick and chose their own world view, a natural evolution of thinking that exists in a world without Michael J. Fox or Teen Wolf, one where the ipod, the laptop and the internet are as natural as Duran Duran.

Many people say that we have children to create ourselves all over again because we fear death and want to use our only real natural god given talent to attain a small bit of immortality.  That’s never been my reasoning. I’ve always thought that my wife and I had an overabundance of love in our hearts and that we could share it with our child.  Hopefully, no matter the views of our children, they will feel the same. Lately, at the playground I’ve been fighting this a bit.  My daughter sometimes doesn’t do what I want and I get frustrated. She doesn’t want to go down the slide or play on the jungle gym. She doesn’t want to walk in my direction or see the thing I”m pointing at.   Restraint is more difficult than frustration and a child of 18 months doesn’t know squat. But how am I going to feel later, when the decisions she makes are important and shape who she is? Will I give her enough rope to survive and thrive or will I be too afraid of who she might become?  Who knows. I’ve got plenty of years to screw her up but for now, I’m trying to settle down and let her kook around the park walking like a zombie and pointing and nothing.  Maybe, if I do a good enough job, she’ll grow up and be a minature Alex P. Keaton? Perish the thought.

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Stay At Home Dads Therapy Group = Park ‘N Play

Let the slide release your Id.

Let the slide release your Id.

Despite being a man, I’m comfortable “sharing” the challenges of being home with a child with other men. This isn’t rocket science as to why. I want to know when their kids nap, snack, scream, shit, shower and generally how they operate.  Do they keep their kids up too late or never nap them? Do they feed them junk food or tons of juice?  You gotta find out if you’re doing the right things or what. Is the library cool or the zoo fun or too expensive?  Only through sharing do you find this stuff out. I met a guy today who has 4 kids, 6, 4, 3, and 21 months. He’s been doing the SAHD thing for 6 years! This guy is like the YODA of SAHDS and I barely got a chance to pick his brain.  What I could learn from him. Where did I meet him? At the weekly park group that I attend.  About 5-6 dads and their kids go to the park, run around, eat, snack and shoot the bull.   Now some people would have trouble with this group. Why? Because they are afraid to show up and meet strangers. They are afraid they won’t fit in or say the right things. I understand it but in this tough world that we live in, you gotta be stronger than that.  Thankfully, about 10 months ago, I started going to the OC Dads group and what a great group of guys I’ve gotten to know. They are my friends.

The Bean is the youngest of them and is still walking around like a stoned Frankenstein’s Monster that can’t throw a ball, ride a bike or do much other than get pushed on the swings.  But being around other kids and seeing her intereact with them is gratifying.  Seeing her be around other men who are parenting is cool and I know she’s a little bit better off because of it.  I’ve met cool guys who write movies, tv, create websites, daytrade in the market, parachute and dumpster dive.  They are all different and have a unique and relaxed manner of parenting — similiar to me.  In fact, being with them has cemented the confidence I have, that parental anxiety drips down to kids and that letting kids be kids is the most important thing you can do.  I look forward to seeing the dads and spending another sunny day at the park, shooting the bull and eating goldfish crackers.

Flying Solo

I'm your Captain. Would you like a pillow?

I'm your Captain. Would you like a pillow?

Flying solo is a difficult time in the Punditdad household. It means that I’m forced to be with and care for the child ALL DAY with no relief during the night for “the put down”. Somehow, when the chores of parenthood were split up, Punditdad chose feeding dinner at night and Momma chose putting to bed and all associated rituals.  Now, when Momma leaves for work so she can earn more money and keep Punditdad in the lifestyle that he has become accustomed to, he must take over the loathsome chores.

For someone who does the nap time put down, putting to bed is arduous, slow and completely un-riveting.  She is tired, I want an ice cold beer and neither of us is really excited to be here. That’s why when Momma is out of town we do a strict 5:30 PM feed time and a strict 6:00 PM bedtime.  This may seem early but the Bean is usually asleep by 6:30 PM anyway.  I mean, what the hell, I’m going to be the one she sees at 7:00 AM anyway when it’s time to get out of the jammies and eat breakfast so cut me a break.

This week it’s Monday through Friday of flying solo. I’ve done it before but Parent Sanity is the most fragile of things. I must hold on. I can hold on. Is it bedtime yet?