There’s a small chance that you don’t totally suck at parenting, and you occasionally might even see evidence that supports that theory

[NOTE: If you followed a link over here from The Pioneer Woman’s article about layer masks, I was referencing the color-on-B&W photos contained in the entry below, so feel free to scroll on down if you’d rather skip the story and just view the pictures.]

There are those of you, I’m sure, who think that this blog is nothing more than one big digital shrine where I can stroke my overinflated ego for all the world to see … and if you are among those who think that, all I can say to you, my woefully cynical friend, is … well … um … yeah, you may have a point.

BUT!

That’s not all it is. Oh no, it’s more … much, much more.

For example, it’s also a place where both new and prospective parents can come to get highly valuable insight and advice about some of the lesser-known things that parenthood has in store for them. Insight and advice that I offer freely and without the expectation of anything return … you know, other than your continued patronage so that I can one day leverage my audience for some serious advertising dollars and a lucrative book deal … but, other than that? Free of charge.

Because I give. That’s what I do. I’m a giver.

So gather ’round, ye new and prospective parents (and anyone else in the highly desirable demographic of those ages 25-45 with an annual household income of $100,000 or more, particularly those likely to purchase a big-ticket item sometime in the next 3-6 months) as I regale ye with a tale steeped in the harsh reality of parenting … with a little dash of hope thrown in for good measure.

One day, your child will be in preschool … and one day that preschool will have a Halloween event during which all the children will model their costumes for the many parents to see. And you will think to yourself, “Oh, this is going to be so fun and adorable! I can’t wait to see my little girl wearing her costume while smiling and laughing and marching happily by with all of her little friends!” And you will go to the preschool armed with your various photo- and video-taking equipment while dancing in your head are the visions of the many priceless images you believe you’re going to capture. Images like this:

Halloween parade, 10.29.09

And this:

Halloween parade, 10.29.09

Doesn’t she make a lovely Snow White? What’s that? You can’t tell she’s supposed to be Snow White? What are you, blind?

Look closely:

Halloween parade, 10.29.09

See? Clearly a beloved and charming Disney character. Yes, I know: the fun and excitement and joy she emotes are kind of overwhelming, aren’t they?

And maybe you’ll bring with you to the parade your mother-in-law, whom your child hasn’t seen in three months, and who will call out to your child, thereby causing her to momentarily come out from behind the protective shield she has created around herself …

Halloween parade, 10.29.09

… until she realizes you’re still pointing the camera at her …

Halloween parade, 10.29.09

… at which point she will again retreat into her fortress of solitude …

Halloween parade, 10.29.09

And you might try to convince yourself that perhaps she’s just far too enamored with her shoes to do anything other than look down …

Halloween parade, 10.29.09

… but that’s probably not it. No, most likely, the problem is that you’re a shitty parent and you’ve done a horrible job of raising her. Yes, it’s all your fault. You’re an asshole. Nice going.

And if the child in question is your first child? Well, hell, you’ll probably believe that previous paragraph.

But don’t fret, parents and potential parents, because a child who reacts like this …

Zan's Halloween parade, 10.31.06

… to his first preschool parade, then bursts into tears, breaks from the pack and runs into Mommy’s arms (yes, that’s what happened) can go on to look like this …

Halloween parade, 10.30.09

Halloween parade, 10.30.09

… when his first-grade Halloween parade takes place.

And it’s also entirely possible that your preschooler — who, at the beginning of her parade, somehow collapsed her entire body in on itself so that she practically disappeared — could, by parade’s end, creep out of her shell.

Halloween parade '09

Halloween parade, 10.29.09

So maybe you’re not the world’s shittiest parent after all. Don’t count on it … but maybe.

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Spooky School

Last Saturday, I took Zan — I mean, Super Mario — to the annual Halloween shindig at his elementary school … and, as you can see, they really go all out.

Those of you who were around last year at this time (like, all two of you) know from my Halloween ’08 recap that the truly spooky shenanigans will take place this coming Saturday … but this little excursion with my main man Mario was a good appetizer.

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Performance art: ‘My Week So Far’

AAAGGGHHH!!!

Photo credit: Jayna

Blog? What blog?

And how’s your week going?

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Morning light

This was the view outside my office window this morning.

Sometimes, the Photo of the Day comes to you. Rarely … but sometimes. And Monday morning? Monday morning is a good time to have something happen with ease. Anything.

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Sick Munchkin

After spending all of about five minutes in perfect health and wellness following her recent cold, the lovely Jayna developed croup last night, which meant I had to take another sick day to care for her while Wonder Woman was at work. Awesome.

I took her to the doc around midday, and because of her cough, I was instructed to bring her in not through the front entrance, but through the back entrance, at which point I was to use the courtesy phone to call the reception desk and notify them that we were waiting in the quarantined airlock area, doing our best not to infect the masses.

I did as I was told, and after about 10 minutes of waiting in purgatory, a nurse wearing a face mask came to retrieve us and tried to get Jayna to put on a face mask, as well. Jayna responded by saying, “Not on your life, bitch!” At least, that’s what she might as well have said, so the clearly annoyed Nurse Huffypants allowed the 39-pound peanut to break protocol and head into the doc’s office unmasked. Four years old and already a total rebel.

Eventually, our pediatrician came in to check her out, and not once during the entire exam did she cough, which prompted me to ask the doc if he could just hang out with us all day, since apparently his presence is a natural cough suppressant. He wasn’t up for that, so he instead sent in a nurse with a small dose of strawberry-flavored syrup that contained a steroid designed to reduce the croup-induced inflammation of her vocal cords and adjacent areas. Jayna responded to the presentation of this elixir with a hardy “Not on your life, bitch!” At least, that’s what she might as well have said, so the clearly annoyed Nurse Huffypants II acquiesced when I asked her to leave us so that I could coax Jayna into taking it, which I eventually did … sort of.

I say “sort of” because she somehow pulled off a magic trick whereby she drank the medicine, and then drank a little shot of water that I placed in the medicine cup, and then I turned my head for a moment, and when I turned back, there was a big drop of bright red strawberry syrup clinging to her bottom lip, and a massive drizzle of the stuff staining the front of her shirt (visible adjacent to her right upper arm). I have no idea how she accomplished this.

Ironically, the ordeal of getting her to take the medicine resulted in much crying and coughing, which seemed rather counter-intuitive.

Once I had mopped her up and calmed her down, we headed over to the nearby Dunkin Donuts, because I like to make sure the kids eat healthy when they’re sick. She wolfed down three glazed Munchkins and drank a whopping two or three sips of orange juice, and that was just fine with me, because, with the yucky taste of the medicine defeated and her tummy now relatively full, the only thing left for her to do was fall asleep during the ride home … which, thankfully, she did.

Wonder Woman returned from work a short while later, and I have since spent many hours setting up the new MacBook Pro and monitor that my employer sent to replace my deceased iMac.

Point being: that awesome blog entry I was planning to write today? Yeah, that didn’t happen. Instead, you get a sleep-deprived me describing yet another challenging day in suburbia. And with that, I bid you good night.

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