Once again my lovely neighbors have inspired me to contemplate parenthood.
I’m debating whether we should even adopt at this point in time because actually having a child is looking more unattractive and unappealing every day. I say this because I currently have a child and don’t want him anymore. No I’m not being excessively cruel. No I’m not referring to my pride of cats or illicit black market child sales. I actually do have a kid… sorta. I get to wake up every morning to the sounds of screaming tantrums, track and field sprinting throughout the house and the banging of toys or whatever he can get his grubby little hands on against any hard surface within arms reach. I get to hear this whenever I’m home because apparently this kid is always around. I get to listen to every single topic on his jumbled little mind all at once because he doesn’t have an inside voice and prefers to shout everything he wants to say. I even have to clean up his toys from the backyard more often than not because he tends to leave them lying around when I have to mow the lawn.
No, the child doesn’t live with me nor is he my responsibility. I just have the unfortunate luck to be living in duplex with two douches for parents upstairs.
Today I present a case study in parenting. Hilarious that its coming from a guy who has no kids. I can see the irony but alas I am perfectly qualified to judge others parenting skills because I have a gift. Yes a gift. An ability one might say. I call it a curse. I happen to be a Child Whisperer.
No I don’t speak to children in hypnotic tones. In fact I can’t stand most children. I’d sooner put them all on a large boat and send them to the Lost island before I’d have to deal with them directly. Regretfully I am a Child Whisperer and that means I have been damned with the uncanny ability to attract children of all ages to me like moths to the flame because I tend to behave like a big child myself. As a result, I tend to be the go-to-guy when it comes to parents.
“Oh go play with Ian.”
“Ian’s great with kids.”
“Ian is a natural with kids.”
Fuckin’ A I am.
As it stands I tend to do a lot of conversing and interacting with parents of all skill levels, young and old. So yes, I find myself to be quite qualified to pass judgment on any twit who has the nerve to call themselves a parent just because they have a child. Parent is a title of honor and respect that should be bestowed to only those who deserve and have earned it. A parent is a teacher, mentor, friend, guardian and disciplinarian all rolled into one. Anyone can fart out a child. Only a parent can raise one properly.
I present to you two family units on opposite ends of Ian’s Awesome Scale of Parenting & Excellence. For the sake keeping people’s identities private I’ll be using aliases. One one side we have the Goode Family. This pleasant prototypical family unit consists of a 30 something year old husband and wife duo, Mark and Adriana, and their sweet little 2 year old boy Zach. Both are gainfully employed, own a car and have a house in the suburbs. They have their own fair share of family, social and work issues they contend with just like anyone else but all in all they’re quite happy and content. Zach is an awesome little guy. My wife and I even bought him this wicked cool sandboxy play set thingy for his birthday earlier this year. I didn’t even get my wife a bloody Christmas gift last year (sorry hun but I at least came through for your birthday this year!). Yes the guy who hates children is singing the praises of a child. That must mean something. Zach doesn’t fit the mold of the children I typically come across. He’s well mannered, intelligent, respectful, listens to his parents and doesn’t raise hell. I’m sure Mark and Adrianna would disagree with the hellraiser part, but generally speaking he’s not that kid in the supermarket. They don’t raise a hand or their voices to discipline him but he knows full well not to cross them – especially Adrianna. I’m quite certain little Zach has caught the look on a few occasions and has been scared straight. She’s not a meanie by any stretch of the imagination, but you when she’s serious.
On the other side of the spectrum we have my make-ya-wanna-drink-the-kool-aid neighbors. They’re a twenty something year old unmarried couple, who I’ll lovingly refer to Val and Pryce, and their 2 yr old demon-spawn of a child Loki. I’m not sure who works between them. They’ve lived here for almost a year and the most I was able to gather was that she’s possibly fecal movement engineer (yes a shit shoveler… not that there’s anything wrong with that). He’s a hippie douche that likes to ride his bike, play soccer and strum away on his guitar – badly – as he ponders the complexities of life all day. She likes to party like a sailor into the wee morning hours whenever she has the chance (which is quite often because she pawns little Loki off to her parents whenever the opportunity presents itself). The have a car but I don’t know if they own it. It kinda sits out there in the back lot with expired tags. Far be it for them to renew them, they just borrow mommy and daddy’s car all the time and create traffic jams in the parking area. And of course they obviously don’t own a home because they live above me in a tiny 2 bedroom unit with wonderful hardwood floors.
Yes. Hardwood floors + 2 yr old Norse God of Mischief. You can see where this is going.
Loki has the potential to be a likable kid. He’s cute, has a lemon blond mop of hair on his head and speaks quite well… when he’s not shouting or throwing tantrums… which is like rarely. Unfortunately Loki’s mom and dad suffer from an acute medical condition that is sweeping North America called IOTAMCDS, otherwise known as I‘m Oblivious To Anything My Child Does Syndrome or Ignoritus if you prefer. They seem to be under the impression that their child can do no wrong and that nothing he does is ever wrong. This in turn gives little Loki free reign to wreak as much havoc as humanly possible for person his size. He runs inside the house with horse-like grace, throws things against anything solid enough to make some real good noise, screams bloody murder when he doesn’t get his way and shouts as though you were in the next county when talking to him… all to the familiar tune of “he’s just a child”.
He’s just a child.
That’s the tag line for bad parenting. Ever notice when a child does something stupid or annoying the first thing out some parent’s mouths is “he’s just a child”. Give me a break. Children, especially really young ones, are able to soak up information like sponges. If you teach a child how to behave they will learn how to behave. It’s really not that complicated of a concept. For the most part if parents are on point their children they can teach them those key values of respect and responsibility. I really don’t believe in bad children, only bad parents. Unless the kid truly is a seed of Satan and pops out with pointy teeth, horns and a spaded tail flapping, they’re not bad. They don’t know bad. They learn bad from lazy parents who choose to coddle their children as opposed to teaching them. Parents who want to be their friends rather than their parents.
Why are Loki and Zach so vastly different? They’re the same age. Same youthful enthusiasm. and love for life They’re loved by their makers. They’re not destitute or stricken with poverty. They can get whatever they want. How can two children with so many similarities be so different?
The only answer is the parents.
Word of advice potential baby makers of the world, if you’re not ready to take on the responsibility of raising a kid, then don’t have one. I’m not talking about feeding them, clothing them and putting a roof over their heads. That’s only a small part of the job. You need to be ready to take on the full task full bore otherwise your children become someone else’s burden.