Three Simple Ways to Make Your Kids Leave You Alone

When “Go Away” Just Doesn’t Work

Adults have to do adult things. Simple things like read emails, go to the bathroom or enjoy silence. Kids, of course, have no concept of this. You know how full grown humans often use kitchen’s as gathering places for fun, social conversation. In case you didn’t know, that’s how kids view the bathroom.

“Oh, you’re going to sit down with a book or phone in our water-room?!?! Oh Cool!! Let’s tell that one joke I know a hundred more times! Watch me wrap myself in the shower curtain! WATCH!! Did I tell you I want some milk… like right NOW!!”

You know how you sometimes need to sit at the computer to check the news or write an essay. This is the equivalent of online political discussion to the still-growing humans in your house. They can’t stay away even if they want to.

“Oh, you’re going to write an email? Let me show you how hard I can bang on the keyboard! That’s the power button, right? I knew it!! This is how you close a laptop, Dad.  Hey… let me close it. LET ME CLOSE IT!!”

You know you can’t use TV to shut them up and leave you alone because some blogger told you they took away all screens and now their children are better than yours. And you’re vaguely aware that you’re not supposed to lock them in a room because laws and stuff. So the next time you need to steal a few moments, try these tricks.

1. Extended Hide and Seek – If your kids are old enough, you can convince them that they’re the best hiders in the world. Then they’ll hide for a good five, maybe ten, minutes before you have to find them. I’ve heard of kids hiding upwards of twenty minutes behind a door, giggling the whole freaking time.  

2. Throw Couch Cushions On the Ground – If you don’t have a couch that your kids can jump on, you shouldn’t be reading this article anyway. You should be holiday crafting with your children. If you do… chunk those cushions on the ground. You’re kids will carreen themselves around for a good six minutes before they hurt themselves. That’s enough time for a few emails. (PS – It must be noted that you might hear “WATCH THIS!” a few hundred times)

3. “Forbidden” Kitchen Tools – No shit. Hand your kids a pair of tongs and basting brush, look around to make sure no one is around and whisper, “Don’t tell Mom.” They’ll be “cleaning” and picking crap up all over the house for a good fifteen minutes. Plenty of time to read another blog post filled with useless advice on parenting.

 

Love Letter

Dear Hot Wheels,

I love you, tiny land mines, for being the best bang-for-buck toy in the business.

I love you for being small enough to fit in a babies mouth, but not big enough swallow.

I love you encouraging sound effects like shhhhhhhwoo, ahhhhhhhpshsscrash, and vroooommmmm instead of repetitious, battery powered ear pollution. 

I love that you can cause major damage when hurled across a room.

I love that taking you away is an effective punishment, and giving you back makes me a fucking hero.

I love you being less than dollar.

I love you for never getting lost because you multiply during the night and have taken over my house.

Never forget that I love you, even when I curse you for living beneath my bare feet.

Sincerely,                                                                                                                                                  A Dad

Vicarious Confidence

Is Kid Confidence Contagious?

 

I’m not worried about my boys uncovering the truth about Santa. In fact, I’ll be proud. All the clues are there; it only takes a tiny amount of logic to hash out the facts. I’m not worried about the day when my boys ask about sex, drugs, or even politics (no logic involved here). I’m not even worried about my boys spending waaaay too much time in the bathroom. What I worry about, at least currently, is when they discover that they’re not nearly as fast as they think they are.

My boys honestly believe they are the quickest, strongest beings on earth. My oldest is even faster than the boys that blaze past him on the soccer field. It’s my fault. It’s completely, one hundred percent my fault. I use the fake stopwatch as much as any parent… probably a little more.

“Go get the wipes in the other room, hurry… I’ll time you!”                                                   Kid bolts down the hall.                                                                                                                 Kid returns a few minutes later, frantically breathing.                                                     “Damn!!!… that was FAST, 13 seconds!! NEW RECORD”

It’s going to be a rough day when my oldest has to face reality and admit that there might be a person in the world capable of getting the wipes faster than he can. His world will be shattered. Maybe worse, MY world will be shattered because he’s going to first realize that that person is me, and I don’t want to have to get up and get the wipes every freaking time.

But more than that, there’s something uplifting about a kid’s self-confidence. I wish I owned half the self-assurance my son possesses. Most parents need a little shot of pride and arrogance each day, just to get us through the times our kids let us down. Because we feel like we let them down. In the race against the stronger, faster parents of the world, it’s easy to feel like other Moms and Dads are blazing past, leaving behind a trail of homemade yogurt, crafts, and judgement. So it’s nice to feel my self-worth bolster a little each time my boys flex their scrawny little arms and tell me how strong they are or brag about their drawing of a dog that looks more like a dying tree. I’m learning to feed off their positive energy like an emotional parasite.

It’s not a wonder parents sometimes find themselves getting washed in glory on YMCA sidelines. Maybe it’s not always a bad thing. Occasionally, we’re simply basking in the glory of our kid’s confidence, even if they’re getting rocked by a faster, stronger team.

Kids Make the Worst Survivalist

Can I still survive the Apocalypse?

I used to love post-apocalyptic stories. I, like all people should, have spent time debating the finer points of weapon choices in lieu of a zombie infestation. (I still choose aluminum bat) Lying in bed at night, I have dreamed of pitting myself against hordes of undead, or testing my mettle against the desolation of a worldwide catastrophe. Of course, This all ended, like so many other dreams, when I had kids.

When my wife gave birth to my first child, I quickly assumed night feeding duties in order to connect with my son on an emotional level that would bond us forever. (Honestly, my wife makes the milk and the money, so I do what I can) Together, my newborn and I began an odyssey. An odyssey of midnight Netflix that rivaled any insomniac or college kid. It was the weapon of choice in my own personal battle of survival. That little whimper from the crib, which quickly turns to a wail, would strike at my will to live. But hey, at least I can finish up Casino Royale for the third time.

 

Around two weeks A.C. (after child), I decided to catch up on “The Walking Dead”, which, at the time, had brought zombies back into the mainstream. The first few seasons were solid: the perfect amount of suspense, violence, moral and ethical questions of survival vs humanity. The primal need to survive captivated my imagination. Where would I go? Would my house stand up, or would I need to take over that two story down the street? Which friends would be helpful, and who could be left behind? What would I do in order to stay alive in the most desperate situations? About ten minutes into the first episode with my tiny new human in hand I realized what I would do… I would fucking die.

Babies are loud, needy, and can’t fight zombies. They’re dead weight. My one year old is currently banging on my keyboard right now. How is that helpful? My three and five year olds sounds like alien cats fighting outside my bedroom window. Not too convenient when hiding from looters. Suddenly, the thought of surviving any sort of disaster, let alone one that’s zombie related, was no longer filled with the thrill of a challenge, but the dread of impending failure and death. I no longer lay awake at night mentally mapping my exit from the city. Actually, I never lay awake at night anymore period; kids are exhausting. I definitely don’t daydream about what store is likely to have the best survival gear if everyone mysteriously disappeared overnight. (Definitely Academy for Sports and Outdoors) I guess I have more important things to think about; like which grocery store has the best race-car carts.

So when my friend recently asked me what to expect when his baby was born, I looked him in the eye, put my hand on his shoulder and told him cancel any plans for building a survival shelter. He might as well build an extra closet for all the fucking toys you’re about to collect. And forget about enjoying “The Walking Dead”. However, he’s going to appreciate “Taken” on an entirely new level!

Bedtime Thoughts: Written by My Son

Dinner is over and bath time is done.
The moon just said goodnight to the sun.

But tonight is different, just wait and see,
We won’t be reading The Giving Tree.

No Green Eggs and Ham no Good Night Moon,
There’ll be no nighty-night anytime soon.

I’m about to throw one of my all-time fits,
“Time for Bed?” I could give two shits..

They’ll never believe what I have in store.
They’ll think a wolverine is behind the door.

I’ll be screaming and jumping and pulling my hair,
I’ll be biting and clawing and hiding under the chair.

They’ll probably think I’m only faking,
but boy oh boy will they be mistaking.

A river of tears will flow from each eye.
The sound of my voice will reach the sky.

I will hold my breath till my face turns red.
There’s no F-ing way I’m going to bed.

I’ll stomp on the ground and bang on the wall.
I’ll curl up in the corner like an angry ball.

Dad will be screaming and Mom will be crying.
All over the room my toys will be flying.

The neighbors will call to see what’s wrong.
They think they can calm ME down with a song?

When Dad picks me up I’ll crumble in a heap.
There’s positively NO WAY I’m going to sleep.

I’ll run down the hall. I’ll tear off my clothes.
There won’t be enough tissue for the snot in my nose.

I’ll cling to the door till my knuckles turn white,
The world will erupt when they say “nighty-night”

“Please!!,” Dad will moan all sad and weepy.
But I think this planning is making me sleepy.

Maybe I’ll relax for only bit,
I won’t lay down, but maybe just sit.

I can still do it, but I’ll have to be smarter,
I’ll simply ask for seven glasses of water.

It’s only a rest, I haven’t been broken,
but it’s getting harder and harder to keep my eyes open.

I’ll just take a second and rest my eyes.
Then I’ll play and dance under twinkling night skies….

….Wait? What’s that Light? Is that the sun?
Does this mean that my parents have won?
Did I fall asleep and miss all the fun?

I guess I’ll go eat breakfast and give them a clap,
but there’s positively, absolutely, without a doubt, NO WAY I’m taking a nap.