My kids are annoyed because my birthday is the week before Mother’s Day. Surely I had nothing but time in utero, so I spent it getting a jump on irritating my future children before I was even born. While I’m the first to call out Mother’s Day for the card-peddling “holiday” that it is, those two gigantic heads were no picnic to push out, so I expect them to partake in Mother’s Day consumerism on my behalf for the rest of their lives. I can’t help when I was born.
As we’re right between the two manufactured major holidays celebrating parents, it’s an appropriate time to note a theme of what I’d call “unorthodox” parenting practices if I were being neutral and nonjudgmental, which I’m not. Shall we begin with the obvious?
• When video of a small child being put into a washing machine at a Camden laundromat (apparently, it was the babysitter’s fault, and the mother has not been charged), recently went viral, scores of parents defended the act, saying that kids need to live a little, face their fears, learn from their mistakes, get comfortable with mortality, accept that parents aren’t perfect. Nothing teaches a kid about mortality like spending time in a major appliance, especially a toddler. A baby fits perfectly on the top rack of a dishwasher, so don’t delay significant life lessons.
• I apologize in advance for putting “Banana Phone” in your head for the rest of the day, but only common children sing along with Raffi to “Ring-rang, ring-rang, ring-rang, RING, banana phone.” Celebrity kids sing along with Jay-Z to, “This is not a hoe in the sense of having a pussy, but a pussy having no God Damn sense, try and push me.” Gwyneth Paltrow took her children, eight and six, to his concert. She also wants us all to know that they call him “Uncle Jay.” Aren’t you impressed? Speaking of having no goddamn sense, those kids already got 99 problems, but a mother with sense ain’t one. Maybe she can get Lil Wayne to be one of their confirmation sponsors.
• Since we can’t get enough parenting tips from celebrities, you should chew your child’s food first, and then spit it into his/her mouth, like Alicia Silverstone. She thinks it’s so cute. She posts videos of it online. Find them yourself.
• WWGGD is short for What Would Grandma Gloria Do? Grandma Gloria is what my kids call my mother. Recently, a few seniors at Father Judge High School in the Northeast, and some of their dates from other Catholic high schools in the city, got tanked on the way to the prom, and it was all captured on video.WWGGD? Not hire me a lawyer. If my siblings or I dared to embarrass our parents by getting drunk at a school function, and the principal could roll tape on it, woe unto us. My mother would never be among the parents threatening to sue the school for not letting us walk at graduation, as some of the drunken students’ parents are. We’d be lucky to ever walk anywhere again.
• After Sabitha Ravi’s dramatic impact statement in court, it’s crystal clear why her son grew into a man-bully. Her “my son, my son” monologue in front of Tyler Clementi’s parents was inappropriate and heartless. Dharun Ravi’s deliberate humiliation of Clementi was nothing less than sinister, and Ravi’s mother boo-hooed to the court that “he has not gone anywhere, with his friends, just to socialize, or even grab a sandwich.” If you’ve ever wondered what kind of parents raise sociopaths, now you know.
So for not putting your children in a washer (or dryer), for listening to the Rolling Stones on Kidz Bop, for your unwavering confidence in their ability to chew their own food, and most of all, for being their voice of reason, reality and meaningful consequence when they need it most, I wish you years of fancy cards, scented candles, and soap-on-a-rope. It’s the least they can do.