Free-Floating Hostility

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

How Parenting Works

My classmate Susan is getting over a miserable cold. So are her kids, who were most likely the original disease vectors. Last night around one o'clock, her thirteen-year-old came into her room because he couldn't sleep. Susan heroically pulled herself out of bed and accompanied him back to his room. Normally, she would have told him a story to put him to sleep and relax herself in the process, but Susan just didn't feel up to it at that hour in that condition. So she suggested instead that he tell the story for once. Anything, she said, just a story he knew. He selected the Three Little Pigs, but before the third little pig had built his house Susan had passed out herself. And the way parenting works is, the next morning she was wracked with guilt. "That's just me as a mother," she told us, "I do my best, but my best is usually something totally fucked up!" I told her what happens when Mike falls asleep which may or may not have been relevant but is always amusing.

I'm told by my own parents that when I was about two I once toddled downstairs and interrupted a dinner party to announce "Daddy's asleep, but I'm not!" The point of children, if you didn't know, is to make their parents stronger people by embarrassing them whenever possible. And exposing them to the kind of character building you're unlikely to experience if you don't raise children, like having to remove your turtleneck after your baby has vomited inside it (again--sorry Mom).

Michael is in Brooklyn tonight, babysitting the youngest cousins (no blog codenames for them yet, maybe we should let them make some up). When I spoke to him on the phone he said the boys are so mature they really babysit themselves. So much for building Mike's character.

1 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Anonymous Je Negresse at December 01, 2005 6:51 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • The little cousins may be mature enough not to require much "sitting," but they are still young enough to freak with excitement when their cool sports-writing older coz shows up. Clafoutis (the elder) almost had an aneurysm trying to express all he's had pent up in him about the zone defense and other matters sportstastic. Bombololo (the younger) was satsified to carry the visitor's wheelie luggage, which weighed more than he does, to the guest room. Perhaps this is not so much a taste of parenting as a taste of celebrity.

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