Parenting: It’s Most Fun When You’re Being Half-Assed

Today I experimented with the Benign Neglect school of parenting. That is, I went to the park to meet some other mommies and daddies and told my daughter, “You have to play by yourself while I talk to my friends.” Then I stuck my son in a swing and, when he got tired of that, threw him in the sandbox. It worked well except for my oldest, who did not have a peer to play with so was stuck inventing relatively pathetical ploys on her own (“I have a pretend baby, Mama” as she pushes an empty swing back and forth). And I overstayed my visit – by the time I left both kids were way past naptime and had commenced howling even as I packed them both up, bodily. The other moms, with their cute single-child families and new-mama ideals, looked on in disbelief as I lumbered out of the park, dragging the toddler by one hand with the squalling baby boy secured under my other arm.

One of my HUGE pet peeves these days – the little darlings keep wiping their noses on my JACKET or shirt. The youngest child I can forgive – it will be some time before he can be trained to ask for and use a tissue. During this cold season I have taken to arming myself with a soft hankie which I wield in one hand whenever I approach him – or vice versa. My daughter, on the other hand, is a champion nose-blower and even excuses herself to the restroom when she realizes she is in need; however, I have noticed lately if she’s having a cry and feeling sad she finds a perverse? sweet? comfort in wiping her tear-streaked face on my shoulder. Tears I can handle; the accompanying nose-product is quite dismaying.

The result of this disturbing phenomena is that I have to change my shirt at least once a day and/or wash my coat daily. Well, either that or walk around with a snot-streak on my lapel. And come on, no one wants that.

OK. On to watch a movie about a pedophile. An under-explored subject in film, if you ask me.

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