Riddle me this Batman: There’s one thing that you can never buy but can earn. Give up? It’s trust. OK, there’s probably a bunch of other answers for that riddle including respect, an allowance, a credit score and STD’s (granted you could probably buy the last one but who would want to??). Anyway, back to trust. It takes a lot to earn someone’s trust unless that person is 2 feet tall and you have lived almost 10x longer than that midget human. My little girl has to trust what I tell her just because I should know better and sometimes actually do. I must admit that I’ve used that a little to my advantage since starting this parent experiment.
First of all, living at home is a lot easier when everyone can agree on certain things. There are 2 rules to living with me: you must appreciate the greatness of the Green Bay Packers and NO direct eye contact.
OK, maybe just the Packers thing. I’ve taken it upon myself to teach the little munchkin that when it comes to football its the Packers and the rest. She knows that the Packers are the best now but she hasn’t had the opportunity to see it in action until this season so she doesn’t understand who is who when actually watching football. In fact, the first game of the season we watched the Packers vs. Saints and I tried to explain that the team in white was the Packers/good guys and the team in black were the bad guys. I felt pretty good about this clarification until the next game of the season when neither team was wearing black and she asked me “Where’s the bad black guys?”.
Yep, I unintentionally made my child racist. On top of that she also stated that the “white guys are good guys” rather than just Packers. I’m just going to chock this up to a misunderstanding…at least until she starts wearing a white hood and starts shouting white power rally chants.
I also love the influence that I have on her learning the English language. If I tell her that a made-up word means a certain thing she has no choice but to believe me until someone at school makes fun of her for using a non-sensical word. I haven’t used this piece of information for evil just yet but more just choosing words that I like more than others. Obviously, I would rather she says the word “poop” rather than “stink logs” and I’d rather that she calls me “daddy” rather than “fatty boom-ballatie”. When I was a kid my parents decided that the word “fart” was not allowed in the household so they decided to call it a “boof”. Honestly, I think now that “boof” sounds way worse than “fart” but it was their choice.
We also have a big influence on what she eats. My wife has a lot of odd quirks as to what she will eat and what she wont. She basically keeps her diet to a mixture of macaroni and cheese, eggs, cheetos and alfredo pasta. The little one has picked up on this and pretty much will only eat macaroni and cheese too. I’m already decided that she’s going to fail whatever future school assignment about the food pyramid comes up.
I’ve attempted to try to find other things for her to eat to show her that every now and again fruits and veggies are ok too. I got her hooked on clam chowder now and she’ll eat an apple every once in a while too. I see this as a victory until doctors decide 10 years from now that clam chowder is chock full of mercury and causes people to grow 12 toes. On the other hand, that might be her ticket to a gold medal in gymnastics.
Anyway, I’m hoping that I continue to use this influence for good and not evil. I hate it when I run into kids that have parents that obviously don’t take their jobs seriously enough to do the right thing. Sure it’s fun to have your kid repeat something funny back to you like a parrot but when you kid starts telling other kids that “snitches get stitches” on the playground you have probably failed as a parent. I was once in NYC for a church thing and we did some volunteer work with kids. Within 5 minutes I found myself watching a kid make a gun with legos and show me how to hold it sideways to “put down haters”. Horrifying.
I think my kid will be all the better for our influences. Sure we may have inadvertently made her fake racist and unhealthy but as long as we keep her from wearing spray-painted custom Scarface t-shirts I think we did things correctly. So far so good and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.