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April 11, 2017

Loosening My Grip: A Fantasy

I’m not judging anyone but whose kid is that pulling all the magazines off the racks and sprawling them across the floor? I need to meet whoever is in charge because I’d like to master the art of giving zero shits too. I mean, I’m not saying I always push a cart with a four year old when I’m in public, but kind of. There’s no doubt that my son has outgrown the nesting gate demographic but until I know for sure he’s not going to publicly shame the family by obliterating everything in his path, I have a containment policy to carry out. But I like your approach better. 

I’m sick of having rules, I'm too laid back for this shit. Back in my childless naivety I assumed that my future kin would have no desire to knock down store displays, wander away from me, or poke holes in ground beef packaging. I imagined that the most powerful motivation for good behavior would be obvious: that bad behavior gets you bad attention. And who would ever want that? Clearly I was unprepared and ill informed of the reality that is childrearing. Kids don’t give a shit about dirty looks or wagging fingers from strangers. They’re hardly embarrassed by anything! I, however, remain mortified and don't understand how in 2017 we still lack the technology to install a general code of conduct into our kids. So FINE. Rules. 

But come on! Is advising my son not to slap a bent over stranger’s ass really necessary? Is “keep your hands to yourself” simply too simple? Apparently yes, and Rule No. 321768 was born. Because what am I? A freaking rule writer. And even though these rules may preserve order, reduce humiliation, and [hopefully] prevent a sexual harassment lawsuit, they make me feel uncomfortably overbearing. I never intended to grow up and become a stickler for well-mannered spawn, but sitting idly as my son stands up in a booth so he can pester patrons on the other side cuts my life short by 6 minutes. 

I guess you can say I’ve picked my poison and would rather deal with being a rule master than be shamed by a stranger for birthing a rowdy boy. But as I rule on, adorning my social etiquette hat equip with the best child surveillance system public scrutiny can buy, I’m lost in a give no fucks fantasy. One where I’m humming merrily along to Yeezy in a crowded store, tuning out the sounds of any behavioral defects taking place and shrugging off my son’s incessant ninja moves against innate objects; laughing as I proclaim that "kids will be kids,” with zero intention to clean up or excuse behavior that isn’t actually my own. Still humming, like, “Excuse me, is you saying something? Uh-uh, you can’t tell me nothing.” 

So should you catch me watching quizzically as your child runs around freely, please know that I’m not judging. I’m merely fantasizing and longing for your level of zen because I’m not that chill…but I’d like to be.