The realities of parenthood

 

My son walked into our living room the other night with that look on his face, the one that tells me he’s about to ask for something.

“Can you get me some food?” he asked with a certain amount of caution.

I tend to react poorly to any suggestion that I get off the couch once I have parked my bohonkus upon it for the evening.

“Food!” I barked. “I just got you food yesterday. You need more already.”

This may sound slightly absurd to most folks, but parents know exactly what I mean.

When you have a child, they never stop asking for stuff with food chief among those requests.

If you are among those who think that having a child will bring joy into your life, I’m here to tell you, dear reader, that’s not all they bring.

As I mentioned, children demand to be fed from day one of their existence. Most of them want to be fed at least three times per day with assorted gedunk in between.

And you can’t just open a can of pork and beans for lunch and dump them in a bowl either. Children want chicken nuggets, ice cream, gummy worms and suchlike.

And it doesn’t end there.

When children are very young, you not only have to spoon the food into their maws, you also have the pleasure of wiping it from their posteriors when they are done with it.

If you have an aversion to excrement and urine, you will either get over it quick or put your child up for adoption.

If that sounds offensive, I’m sorry. I’m just giving you the unvarnished truth.

If you manage to stay ahead of the child’s ravenous appetites, don’t forget that you also have to keep them clothed.

Letting a child wander around in the yard wearing only a Pamper is frowned upon these days, especially after they reach the age of 12.

Clothing a child begins as a simple game of attrition: You buy the cheap stuff at Wal-Mart and then watch them destroy it or outgrow it.

And here’s a free word of advice for new parents: Never pay more than $20 for shoes. A child can outgrow a pair in a matter of hours.

If you don’t believe me, try filming your child’s feet with that time-lapse app on your smart phone. You’ll think you’re watching Lon Chaney Jr. transform into a werewolf.

But the game of attrition will finally reach an end as the child becomes self-aware and won’t be caught dead in a pair of Faded Glory jeans or a Great Value sun dress.

Welcome to Macy’s, my friends, where hoodies cost $400 each because of the embroidered image of a man wielding a polo stick.

There is an upside to this transition, though. Once the child becomes concerned with his or her appearance, they tend to take better care of their clothes.

Don’t get too excited and start thinking about a month-long vacation on the island of Antigua, though.

Due to the arcane laws of inverse proportionality that keep parents in debt from the day a child is born, you won’t save a dime. Whereas, you once bought 20 shirts for back to school week totaling $200 dollars, you now might only buy four but they still cost you $200.

As the dollars you set aside for that new mower dwindle and disappear every week, you are also charged with educating your child.

And you can’t expect schoolteachers to do all of it. Most of them have brats of their own to worry over.

Yes, some of the educating you will have to do yourself.

For example, I have taught my son the three categories of language that schoolteachers have heretofore avoided: 1. The language you use in your every day affairs. 2. The language you use in public discourse. 3. The language you use in your car when some jerk cuts you off in traffic and forces you to make a right turn you didn’t want to make. (This, of course, is language of a course nature with a specialized vocabulary and no rules of syntax whatsoever.)

At some point, your child is going to come to you with that look on his or her face, the one that lets you know they want something.

And that something will be a car.

So, does anyone know where I can get a Mustang (2005 or newer) for a good price?

Selah.

And here's one Bob Dylan wrote about his son Jesse way back in 1973.

 

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