A Dinner Tale. (parenting content).

Last night, at a neighbor’s house, I was cleaning mud out from between my daughter’s toes. We were in the back yard. My dogs were there.  My son was there as well. My wife was working. The neighbors are a good squad and they’ve got two kids, just a bit younger than my kids. It was gonna be a relaxing evening of ‘put all the kids together and let them do all the work while we sit around.’

For those of you who have young kids, or are about to have kids, lemme tell you, this is the ultimate in power-parenting. If you can get your kids to eat outside with someone else’s kids, you’re killing it. The kids exhaust each other. They have fun. They socialize (which, I can’t stress enough is the MOST important thing children can learn to do. Quick quiz: who would you rather be around: a super nice, empathetic guy who’s favorite series of books is the Garfield anthology or a withdrawn, anti social genius?) and you get to sit there and relax, have a beer and get just a smidge of that perspective that’s so crucial when it comes to appreciating how cool it is to have kids.  This is what this night was supposed to be.

So we served ‘em dinner outside. No one was eating, but that’s not a surprise because kids generally only eat when they absolutely feel like it. Lots of parents go insane about this, and there’s a good reason to. If kids are hungry when they go to sleep, they wake up early and that means YOU have to wake up early and that’s a fucking dick punch. They don’t care that it’s early. They’re kids. They nap. They go to bed at 730. They do things like pick their noses and eat the results. They don’t care about anything. If they’re up at 5, they’re up at 5. But the difference between, say, 545 and 615 to an overworked, hungover mommy…well, shit, son. That’s the difference between pre-emptive victory and defeat.

The fact is, however, that kids don’t need that much food. You and your fat ass and your big sandwich, you’re overfed. That kid you’re stuffing full of (best case scenario) broccoli and (worst case scenario) White Castle Chicken Rings…she’s tiny. Her stomach is the size of a goddamn coin purse. She doesn’t need to eat nearly as much as you think she does. And the amounts you’ve put on her plate are arbitrary. “Just finish your carrots” you say. But why? You didn’t put thirteen carrot medallions on her plate because that’s some kind of FDA recommendation. You put 13 carrot medallions on her plate because that’s how many you haphazardly cut/grabbed out of a Tupperware while hastily assembling her shitty dinner that she’s not gonna eat anyway. Quit stressing. If she’s hungry, she’ll eat a handful of dirt. Getting riled up about a kid refusing to eat is like getting riled up about getting old. No one else but you cares. Recognize.

So anyway, my daughter (who didn’t eat anything but a few wayward slices of hotdog and a couple of noodles, by the way) is getting the mud cleaned out from between her toes by me. Suddenly, I smell this mud and begin to wonder “is this shit?” I look at the dogs. I scan the yard. “Where did this shit come from, sweetie?” I ask.  She points at the bench she was sitting on, which is smeared in poo. “Oh.” I say. “Is this YOUR shit?” She nods.

Suddenly, her muddy face and hands are a way, WAY bigger problem than I had previously assessed. I grab some paper towels and begin to clean human feces off my neighbors’ patio furniture. I do some casual yelling of the phrase “FINGERS OUT OF YOUR MOUTH!!!!” over and over again while I clean. My neighbors bring me a bag into which I can deposit the doodoo laden underpants and nightgown (this bit is a crucial piece of information. She is potty trained [in theory, obviously] so this was not a traditional ‘accident’ so much as it was an act of lazy aggression. What I mean by that is this: Kids don’t give two shits about making messes or you cleaning them up. To them, their entire lives are being picked up, wiped down, scrubbed, reconfigured, combed, brushed and spitshined. What IS of crucial importance to them is to not miss out on the good times while they’re happening. SO, there you are. You’re almost 3. You’re having a cool party with a bunch of your friends and your big brother. You’ve gotta poop, BUT that’s a big pain in the ass. It involves finding a hand to hold while you walk up the stairs, getting someone to turn on the lights, and negotiating some sort of footstool to get you to toilet height. AND at the end of it, someone else has to wipe your ass anyway. Where’s the downside in just shitting your pants right there in the yard? There’s none. Sure, you know better, but fuck it. Daddy’s not doing shit right now anyway. Boom. Lazy aggression.). As I take the underpants off, the poo goes everywhere: Down the legs, hanging off the heels, etc. It’s a grim scene.

I begin wiping this child down thoroughly only to have the neighbor child tap me on the shoulder to announce that my son is around the corner barfing. “Interesting development” I casually think to myself, and then, full of nothing but dignity and total composure, I stroll around the corner to ascertain that, yes, in fact, my kid IS barfing all over my neighbors’ deck.  Vivid red barf is…well, everywhere.

When I was a kid, I was a mad barfer. This kid has the gift too. Barfing in kids is amazing. If you can learn to barf well, you can overcome all sickness so much quicker and generally, you’re set up to jettison queasiness whether it comes from bad shrimp, too much tequila, a mild fever or the sight of your sister’s legs smeared in fecal matter.

So yeah. He barfed. The entire back yard was full of Kelly child human waste.  The dogs were barking like crazy. It was a real scene. My neighbors are super nice. They have two kids and so they know the score when it comes to random deuces and ralphs. They hosed the barf down while I mopped the poo and put the female child in the bath. Then we had a rather large water balloon fight. It was, actually, a great night.

The thing is, there’s a lot of discourse out there about what’s appropriate in terms of what you write about your kids on the internet. Is the above story needlessly embarrassing to my children? Am I putting my own quest to regale you with a sensational parenting tale above my kids’ right to privacy? You know what? I don’t know and frankly, I don’t care. Kids are embarrassed by their parents about 100% of the time, last time I checked, and the only people who are genuinely mortified about shitting their pants when they’re 2 are teenagers, who are, in my experience, a bunch of shitheads who could do with a little humility.

Everyone out there knows what’s good for your kids and what’s turning them into assholes and what’s gonna make their lives SO hard and different from ours. Well, here’s the thing. I didn’t turn out that great. Neither did you. These kids’ lives are gonna be different and hard because they’re gonna be fighting to the death for the last gallon of clean, drinkable water at the Piggly Wiggly. Their lives are gonna be different and hard because they’re gonna grow up in a world where they have almost no chance to avoid cancer due to the preponderance of cellphones and wifi signals everywhere, not to mention all the preservatives and chemical shit that’s in absolutely everything that we eat. They’re gonna be fucked up because they grow up in a world where everybody gets a hit, everybody gets a trophy, everybody wins, they’re gonna watch their friends’ parents yell at teachers for the bad grades their friends get, and they’re gonna get told over and over again that sex is dirty and wrong but blowing people up is good fun.  If the worst thing that happens to my kids is that they have a dickish, anecdotal dad who writes down what they do on some obscure corner of the internet, I think shit’ll be fine, but somehow, I don’t event think that’s gonna be a blip on their radar. Hopefully I’m wrong.

In closing, wow…what an adorable fucking mess children can be. Nice world we’ve set up for them.

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15 Responses to A Dinner Tale. (parenting content).

  1. That one girl says:

    It may be a shitty world they’re growing up in but seeing my kid excited about “kid” things is amazing. Those feelings go away quick but come back whenever my kid is having so much fun she pees her pants and continues with her day. Parenting is the best poo covered job.

  2. Justin says:

    A+ write-up. I could not have said this better.

    – Father of 4 boys all under the age of 6

  3. Jace says:

    You and Louis CK are two of my favorite voices on parenting. I feel like people perceive things in ways that are two or three layers removed from how they actually are, so it’s refreshing to hear someone say “these things happen, kids will survive, you should probably be more worried about how to make your kid less of an asshole to everyone.” So thanks.

    Also, we had a point system for diaper blow outs – each leg is one, back is two, front is three. We only ever had one seven pointer, and we’ve never been back to that restaurant.

  4. “Interesting development” was goddamn hysterical.

  5. Seth says:

    Parenting is hilarious and only other parents can appreciate the disgusting moments. My daughter was sick a couple years ago, was sitting on the toilet and projectile vomitted, hitting the wall on the other side of the bathroom. I had never thrown up like this, I doubted it was real (despite the stories). I was amazed…”Babe, holy shit, did you see that, she hit the wall!!!” I tell all my parent friends about it. Proud moment.

    Yesterday my son (just turned 3) is complaining his belly hurts, “ya dude, you need to take a shit, you haven’t shit yourself in 2 days”. We get home from dinner, kids are playing, he shits himself FINALLY, we just say screw it and let them play…was almost shower time anyways. Next thing I know, here he comes from behind the swingset, pants around his ankles, shit everywhere. Needless to say shower time came a little early.

    Love your blog B, so easy to relate to as another guy closing in on 40 and living the ‘american dream’. I’ll be in vegas at the same time as punk rock bowling, maybe I’ll bump into you and buy you a light beer and a couple bottles of water 😉

  6. ummm says:

    lol, its awesome my lil’ daughter says ” I’m french, Spanish, american, Irish and INDIE” ROLMFAO !! Indie !!!…and my teen always hugs me and says, ” I luv my lil’ indie mommie.” You see, the BEST moments in life are the ones that loved ones make memorable. And— Apparently I’ve become a mom to every child at the park bcuz I love being a child myself( playing hot lava, etc.it’s a serious stress breaker for me…idk why, perhaps it’s because I can scream with them when I dont get my way, lol- and they all dont care if I voice it (wierd))and they think Im wierd because I cry and scream like a child and ask them why there staring) and I am a lovable CRAZY lil lady, bcuz I don’t care if ppl think im crazy- I participate in life’s stupid little moments (but are they really?) BTW- u all know that, One moment in life, one incident, can make a HUGE impact on OUR WORLD, pssbly change it- AND how we perceive it. rembember when you talked about the fat man and his lunch, enjoying that moment ? GEEZ, thats a beautiful assessment of humanity! Now, ten years from now, this shitt engrossed moment of toe inhabitant moments will be a lovely memory of your beautiful daughters creativity and how you were a totally awe struck Dad. Lil scientist fuckers. GEEz theyre awesome, arent they ? And seeing the beauty in our children help us to see the beauty in our lover that we might of not seen before ? realize, if people were just teeth and bones, what those teeth say, how those arms hug and push, would you accept those expressions of love if you were blind to the rest? LOL, freaky thought, huh ? anyways, blah blah blah… im a bit chatty, ok.moving right along

  7. ummm says:

    Point being, I WANNA BE A SHIT SLINGER again, dammit. I gotta lot of shit i’d lov to sling around. DAMN, I envy those lil’ beautiful children, if only they knew….ahahahhahahhahahahah, what direction to sling the shit, if only, right? 🙂

  8. Joe says:

    So you know your kids are gonna have a hard, shitty life but you still have them? That’s ridiculously selfish.

    • morgan says:

      it’s hyperbole. your parents brought you into an arguably shittier world than they were brought into. so did mine, so did brendan’s… we turned out alright. and honestly i would rather have a chance at this life than to have never existed because my parents wanted to appease some naysayer’s opinon.

  9. Anonymous says:

    “interesting development” hahahaha oh man i’m dying

  10. The web page is great. I just like that it.

  11. old skool shit says:

    Hey B, why just the other day I was sippin some gnac and fondly recalling way back when ya did the disingenuous rant about it not being possible to like things unironically as though it isn’t perfectly obvious what folks mean by that, and how it was obviously spurred by my inexplicably, disproportionately popular blogger profile that you yourself clearly blew up more than a few times. Sure ya tweaked a few deetz, substituting “friend” for “internet stranger that reads my blog” and “moustache” for “beard”, but hey. ‘Sall good though cuz I staight V-Vizored your ass. Those were the days. I DO, on occasion, still stop and have lil “Fuck Brendan” moments over that and a smattering of other bsc thangs, but generally izz all creeeam! Man oh man. Like an EAGLE time flies!

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