I’m a father of three (8, 5, and 6 months) Before having children, I had a good list of things I’d never let my children do. I’ve stuck to some of them, but because of fits or puppy dog eyes, most have gone right out the window. Below are just a few examples…
1. Watch Barney: Barney has always scared the hell out of me. He seems friendly enough, but at the end of the day, once the cameras are off, I know he ate those children. He’s a dinosaur. Ok… I’m joking. The point is, substitute what ever show drove you nuts before you had children: Pokémon, Sesame Street, Elmo… Mine was Barney. I always said that my kids would never watch Barney. But one visit to the library and they found out the purple nightmare. We spent hours watching the damn thing. Why? Because when my kids were two or three, Barney got them to shut up for just a moment. It got them to stop clawing at my pant leg, or tearing books off my shelf, or calling random people on my phone. On those really stressful days, Barney held my toddler’s attention just long enough that I could sit down, place my hands on my temples, and keep from going crazy. And for that, I say, bless you Barney. Eat all the children you want.
2. Have a messy house: I used visit homes of families with young children, look at the toys and food on the floor, and think: What the hell is going on in here? You just don’t care? I didn’t know that children are tornados of filth, drool, poop, boogers, sticky goo, and toys. I didn’t know about their power to disrupt anything clean. I also didn’t know that sometimes it’s just better to leave the mess and go to the park, rather than turn in to a flaming dictator, or spend your days cleaning and missing rewarding moments.
3. Play video games: I’ve never been a huge fan of video games, and much like Barney, I always said I’d never let my kids play them. Once my son turned five and discovered that video games were cooler than Barney, suddenly I found myself in a real pinch. I was in graduate school, and sometimes I needed to distract him. Suddenly he started playing games more and more. It is safe to say that his addiction is well regulated. And I will admit that I still don’t like games much. But what I can say; few things get that kid motivated to do anything like taking away his games, or granting him more time playing games. Ah… the power.
4. Eat at McDonald’s: There are so many reasons to hate McDonald’s. The food is horrible. Ronald McDonald can’t be trusted. The toys and fries are ruining my car. The play area is eerily sticky and smells like pee. I always said I’d never let my kids eat there. But then grandma stepped in. Mel’s mother started taking Tristan there. He quickly became addicted to Happy Meals. Before he could speak, he could point at the golden arches and grunt. Then he’d cry when we didn’t stop. Now, every time we eat out, both my older kids want to go to McDonald’s. They love the place. And frankly, kids have powers. When your kids love something so much, even when you think it’s gross, sadly you end up there. Ugh… the power!
5. Messy backseat: Before kids, I used to look at the backseat of parents’ cars and wonder if they were hoarders. Now I understand that kids just don’t give a damn about your car. Sometimes it’s like the backseat is another country with very liberal dumping laws.
6. Fits in stores: I remember saying things under my breath like: “Can’t you control your kids?” Or “They need to do a better job disciplining their children.” Or “If you can’t keep your kids in line, then don’t leave the house.” Then I had my own kids, and realized that socially, they are worse than drunks. Once, while at Target, my four-year-old son threw a fit in the men’s department. I told him to stop, and he punched me in the balls. Then he laughed in my face. I didn’t teach him to pull crap like that. He figured it out on his own. While explaining to him that he was being disrespectful, he ate a booger. Long story short, it takes years to teach children how to act appropriately in public, and the only way to do it is by taking them out and coaching them. Sorry people without kids, but you are part of this practice.
7. Dress like mismatched hobos: I used to look at kids in mismatched clothing and think: my kids will not dress like that. But then, my kids started dressing themselves. One day, Norah (my five-year-old) came out in a crazy mixed up outfit of jeans, shorts, a skirt, clashing colors, flip-flops, and a tiara. She was so proud of her outfit. Suddenly I was faced with the choice to make her look how I wanted and squash her independence, or support her exploration. I told her she looked fabulous and took her to the store.
What are some of the things you’ve caved on?