The Truth About Childrearing Every Teen Really Needs to Know

by Mary Wozniak
Originally Published: 

If there is a middle schooler in the family, you may have met Flour Sack Baby. Apparently, caring for a onesie-clad bag of flour for a week is thought to discourage teen pregnancies by revealing the rigors and responsibilities of parenthood. Really? Does your mute five-pound sack of unbleached Flour Baby projectile vomit on your new Keds? Will it break into hysterics because you cut the PB&J into triangles instead of rectangles? I think not. I therefore offer eighth grade health teachers everywhere my free eight-lesson plan guaranteed to effectively convey the harsh truth about childrearing.

1. School Project. For your first assignment, locate the crumpled teacher note (dated last month) in the dark recesses of Flour Boy’s backpack, just under the dirty gym shorts and half-eaten Hershey bar. Another school project. Yay! Mommies love working on projects after a day at the office, two loads of laundry, dinner and homework. It’s due…tomorrow. Pour yourself a glass of cabernet. Finished project must be at least B-minus worthy, but just shoddy enough to disguise the fact that Flour Son played Super Mario while you built the Taj Mahal out of Rice Krispy treats.

2. Experience dining out with the family. The kitchen staff decides that Flour Toddler’s “plain pasta, no sauce, hold the meatballs, hold the cheese” needs some color. Using only your bare hands, gently pry the tiny green parsley flakes from each hot buttered strand. Every one. No cheating.

3. Get out your glue gun. Time to whip up a costume for the Presidents’ Day play. Think of it—Abe Lincoln in a stovepipe hat, George Washington in his powdered wig. Congratulations! Flour Daughter is randomly assigned William Henry Harrison. Ponder how to make a 9-year-old girl resemble a nondescript old man who was in office for one month.

4. Flour Kid’s Birthday. Whip up a batch of cupcakes and fill 15 Toy Story goody bags with forty dollars’ worth of plastic crap. Celebrate at that happy place with the bad pizza and the giant fuzzy mouse. Eat said bad pizza while attempting to convince Flour Daughter that the scary man in the weird costume is harmless. (This lesson will come in handy sometime around December. See #5 below.) Buy twenty dollars of extra tokens so that you can score more plastic crap.

5. Make a list, check it twice. Six weeks ‘til Christmas! Grab your list, mall warrior; you’re hunting down every elusive toy that little Flour Darling circled in the Big Book of Toys You Can’t Afford. Congratulate yourself for planning ahead. Five days ‘til Christmas! Carry two winter coats, one sippy cup and a small child for 45 sweaty minutes in line for the mall Santa. Pull an all-nighter scouring the Internet for the one toy (not on the aforementioned list) that Flour Kid just told Santa is the only thing (now selling on the web for 10 times retail) that he really, really, REALLY wants for Christmas.

6. Happy Valentine’s Day! Drive to the CVS for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles valentines that sold out in December. I’m sure Ava D., Ava N., Justin R. and the others whose names you are diligently copying from the class list will not notice the cheesy generic cards. Tape on 30 rolls of the cheap little candies that nobody really eats while Flour Son weeps over no TMNT. Feel like a total loser when Flour Son brings home the Pinterest projects the other kids handed out.

7. Camping. This should be fun. Pee in a large, gaping, poop-filled hole while a rowdy band of 8-year-old cub scouts that “really hafta go” bang on the latrine door. Remove scorched marshmallow variously from hair, dry twigs and your new L.L. Bean fleece pullover. Eat six crusty blackened marshmallow remains. Remind Flour Boy’s cohorts that experimenting with fire never turns out well.

8. Show time. Dirty Dancing is on TBS; you love that movie. Too bad. Watch Frozen. Watch it again. Watch it again. Watch it again. Watch it again.

Congratulations — you have now experienced parenthood. That bag of Gold Medal in the pink bunny onesie is not looking quite so adorable anymore, is it?

Related post: 7 Things Your Teen Doesn’t Want You to Know

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