Tag Archives: kardashians

How much no is too much no?

Is there anything more surreal than being a parent?

I can’t tell you how many times I have been in the midst of some hardcore parenting and thought to myself “is this real life?” Pretty much every day of my life is the ultimate performance in the theater of the absurd.

Take, for instance, when I’m arguing with my almost 3-year-old about something ridiculous. And LOSING.

TODDLER: I can’t use the potty.

ME: Why not?

TODDLER: Because I can’t.

Me: …

Or when the dog senses the exact moment the baby has finally fallen asleep and chooses that exact moment to make every old man dog noise in his arsenal (you know, groans, farts, clickety nails, unnecessarily loud yawns, whole body shakes that makes his collar chime like church bells) RIGHT BESIDE THE BABY.

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Or when your child demands toast but toast that is not warm or brown or toasted. But Lord help you if you try to give them just BUTTERED BREAD.

Or those moments when I realize I’m less a mother and more just a living, breathing, no machine.

These days, I produce no’s like Kardashians produce tabloid stories. I’m a bustling no factory. I’m a volcano of nope gushing a river of hot lava negatives throughout my children’s lives.

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Can I have a cookie?

No.

Can I wear my swimsuit to play in the snow?

No.

Can Mr. Doody have a cookie?

No.

Can I eat this rock?

Nope.

Can I have two cookies?

Hahaha…no.

Can I use your body as an elaborate jungle gym as you are making an important phone call?

Ow. No. Ow.

Can I draw all over the TV in permanent marker?

NO. NOOOOOOOOOOO…

Can I bang incessantly on the table with these two huge sticks I illegally procured at the park, producing a sound I imagine they play on a loop at the entrance to Hell, for 45 minutes straight while staring directly into your eyes because I’m hoping for some kind of passionate reaction because that is how I get a perverted toddler thrill?

*gritted teeth* No.

Even the baby gets told no pretty much around the clock. And she can’t even talk yet.

Can I bite your nipple with my two brand new and razor sharp teeth?

No!

Can I head butt you when you least expect it?

No–oh my god, that’s so much blood.

Can I only nap while you are holding me?

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, ok, fine, whatever.

And yes, sometimes I feel awful about always having to tell them no. It’s no fun being the fun police. But the alternative is to say yes, and if you’ve ever met a small child, then you know that they simply cannot handle the freedom of unrestrained yes.

See, as far as I can tell in my limited experience, the main goal of a small child’s life is to kill themselves in the most spectacular manner possible. Whether that manner is death via sugar overdose, or jumping off very high and very unstable items, or running up to hug the huge and clearly agitated stray dog that looks like a mix of Cujo and Vin Diesel, is really up to them. But as someone with a working knowledge of physics, and the limits of the human digestive system, and wonderful yet cheesy cinema, I simply can’t stand by and watch it all unfold.

Thus, it is my job to stop that spectacular death from happening. And I personally choose the Sword of No as my weapon in this daily war.

Oh sure, I could use the Shield of Compromise or perhaps the Scythe of Indifference, or even, in desperate times, the Cuddly Ax of Indulgence.

But I like my kids. And I want them to live forever. And more importantly, I want them to live forever in such a way that they can eventually function in this world without me. And be successful in their own lives. And afford the fancy retirement home for me and their father.

So, I am currently ruining their lives with a never-ending verbal conga line of no.

They’ll thank me some day.

Actually, they won’t.

But at least I’ll have the consolation of eating all those cookies I won’t let them have. Which I will do in secret. In that dark corner of the kitchen. While laughing manically.

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With great power comes great therapy bills

I had no idea, you guys. No idea. I was ready for the sleepless nights, the dirty diapers and even the ass-numbingly dull act of reading the same stupid children’s book over and over again. But nothing, NOTHING, could have prepared me for the power that comes with parenting.

The sheer POWER, people!

And I’m not just talking about the immense physical power you have over a baby. Although I think we can all agree it would take very little effort on your part as an adult to kick a baby’s ass. I mean, sure, their little hands are always balled up in tiny fists, but most babies can’t throw a decent punch. So right there you already have a pretty big advantage. Plus it’s pretty difficult to execute a decent roundhouse kick when you can’t even hold your head up properly.

And I’m not even talking about the almost god-like power that comes with you being the only thing standing between your baby and certain death. They count on you entirely for food and shelter and clothing and hitting that button on their toy that starts the music. (They’re not like cats. You can’t just put them in a crib with a bunch of bottles and a litterbox and leave for three days. They’re much more like dogs in that they will alert you every five minutes with their status update. Hungry now. Want attention now. This ball appears to be stationary and I’d really like it not to be now). In fact, a baby’s survival rate without your direct interference is pretty low.

But even so, the greatest power you hold as a parent is that you are your child’s first and most important teacher. Seriously, these kids come out of the womb knowing nothing. They haven’t even heard of the Kardashians yet. You have to teach them EVERYTHING. (Well, everything except how to suck on a nipple and how to poop in the tub, both of which they do automatically by instinct).

As a new parent, this is a pretty intimidating thought. One, because with that much power, it’s very hard not to become corrupt. History has taught us that. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and whatnot. I mean, just think how easy it would be to teach them that the sky is called a nurple and that they should call your mother Dave instead of Grandma. If you think about it, there’s really nothing stopping you from doing this besides basic human decency and the priceless look on Grandma’s face when junior yells “Hi, Dave!” across the restaurant pretty much trumps that.

And two, that much power leaves a lot of room for mistakes. Take, for example, how my husband and I have accidentally set back our son’s language skills by years, if not decades.

It all started innocently enough. About three months ago, when Riker was at that stage where he was smiling but not quite laughing yet, we were doing everything short of standing on our heads to get him to giggle. Goofy dancing. Silly songs. Some Louis C.K. jokes while standing in front of a brick wall.

Nothing.

And then we did stand on our heads. And then we stood on each other’s head.

Again. Nothing.

Nada.

Zilch.

Just the vacant stare of a baby who is wondering just how crappy of a person he was in his previous life to end up with these two yahoos as parents this time around.

But just when we were about to give up and face the reality that we gave birth to a tiny Ben Stein, we finally discovered his particular brand of humor: The Horsey Noise.

Yes, for this kid, that sound when you vibrate your two lips together like a horse’s neigh was the height of comedic genius. He just laughed and laughed. And so we kept doing it. Because once you hear your baby laugh, you never want that sound to end. We did it 50 times in a row. And then another 100. He would just laugh and laugh and then poop and then laugh some more.

We did it so much, in fact, that he started imitating us. Spittle and drool flying all over the place as he Horsey Noised and then we Horsey Noised and then we all Horsey Noised together. We just couldn’t stop. It was so adorable. Not to mention so monumental considering it was his first major attempt to communicate with us that wasn’t in the form of screaming.

So there we are, the three of us, just doing the Horsey Noise back and forth for weeks. When one day we noticed he started doing it the moment he saw us. He’d greet us with Horsey Noise and say good-bye with Horsey Noise. And then he started doing it every time we talked to him.

“Are you hungry?”

“…(horsey noise)…”

“Can you say ‘Momma’?”

“…(horsey noise)…”

With growing uneasiness, we also noticed that whereas he used to babble and coo and make different sounds, they’d all been replaced by Horsey Noise. My name? Horsey Noise. Daddy is also Horsey Noise. The dog? You guessed it. Horsey Noise.

It’s gotten to the point that I know we should stop but I worry that if we do, it may cause some severe psychological damage. The Horsey Noise is the first time we’ve been able to verbally relate to each other. So suddenly no longer doing it back to him would be like your parents having spoken to you in French your entire life and then suddenly addressing you in Chinese with no explanation.

And he’s just so proud he finally mastered Horsey Noise. I can’t take that away from him.

So, obviously there’s only one solution. Everyone is just going to have to make Horsey Noise their primary language. Even Dave.