A quick guide to childrearing by me, a person who has never had kids.
Excuse me. Hi, I was just sitting over there enjoying my daily egg white omelet with sprouted grains toast, reading a novel about a troubled, possibly alcoholic Norwegian baker with a dark past who solves crimes with the help of his cat, Fahrvergnügen, when I noticed that you’re raising your kids wrong.
Your little boy…Tyler, is it? I’m guessing that’s his name, but only because you’ve said it 15,000 times in the last 10 minutes, usually followed by the words “no” or “please stop” or “we don’t stab people without their permission.” I particularly enjoyed the 15-minute interlude when he dragged his chair back and forth across the hardwood floor and you ignored him.
I know you think that’s tough love. He obviously just wants attention, and the books all say not to negotiate with terrorists (your children being the terrorists in this scenario. How quaint.). But I think we’d all be a lot happier if you stopped trying to *huge air quotes* have a conversation with your kids, and started following my Rules of How to Raise Your Kids, by Someone Who Has Never Had Kids:
- Benadryl. It’s totally safe. I give it to my dog, so obviously you can give it to kids. Probably at the same dosage, plus, I think they have a grape-flavored liquid that’s super delish. Or so I’ve heard.
- I hate to bring up the dog analogy again, but always speak to your child using baby talk. Studies show that dogs respond better to baby talk, and so will your kids. Even when they’re well into their teens. Probably even more so then because of the mortification factor. They’ll do whatever you say just to make you stop talking like that.
- Bodybuilding. Little Tyler will soon need to lug around a school backpack that would make a Sherpa faint. Frankly, his arms look a little spindly. Let me just…Hm. As I thought. Yes, these are calipers. I take them everywhere for occasions just like this. I think a little CrossFit is in order.
- A life of contemplation. Back in the good ol’ days, every family gave at least one child to the Church. Little Ty-Ty here might have some trouble following the rules, but a few mortifications of the flesh and he’ll get the idea. And I bet he’ll look smashing in a cassock one day. Very Father Ralph.
- Along those same lines, have you thought about military school? Kids wake up at 5:00 A.M. anyway, right? You get to sleep in, and they get to run around in circles screaming at the top of their lungs, just like they do now, but without destroying the house. It’s a win-win.
- Put them to work in a 19th-century textile mill. This whole child labor law thing has gotten out of hand. You never saw kids in the 1800’s crying because their sibling “breathed on them funny.” They had more important things to worry about, like being dragged into an industrial laundry mangle, or being trampled to death by horses while selling newspapers on a busy New York street corner.
- A toddler gap year. The transition from kindergarten to big-boy school can be daunting. Give Junior some time to think about the upcoming 12 years of torture while he hikes through Thailand. He wouldn’t let you pack anything but his eyeless stuffed rabbit and daddy’s left work boot, but he’s got lots of snacks and your cell phone to keep him busy during the 15-hour flight to Phuket.
I’d love to stay and get to know you guys a little better, but I have a pathological fear of being sticky. Is that your bill? Let me pay it — no, I insist. God put me on this earth to help people.