Just The Notes

Parenting Notes #591-599

This week, I discuss trucks full of dead deer, letting kids fail, and the real reason online shopping was created.

This week, I discuss trucks full of dead deer, letting kids fail, and the real reason online shopping was created.

You’re probably behind on your note reading. It’s ok. I forgive you.

Catch up real quick on some of the parenting notes you might have missed:

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Parenting Tip #591


There’s an old expression that says You can’t pick your kid’s friends.

But this expression is misleading.

Thanks to the playdate, you may not be able to choose the child that your kid will want to hang out with, but you can prevent your kid from hanging out with the child. Especially if the kid’s parents are unbearably, mind-numbingly boring.

Playdates are fantastic because they occupy your kid for a couple of hours. However, they become torturous if the other parents exhibit all the personality of a bag of wet sand.

Just remember that there’s nothing wrong with setting up playdates for your kids based on the parents you’d want to hang out with.

You’re essentially using your kid as a connection to cooler couple friends.

It’s harmless.

You’re going to use your kid for way worse things in the next few years anyway.

– An excerpt from my book, The New Dad Dictionary. Available now!

Parenting Tip #592


Parenting Tip #593


The kids rarely make unreasonable requests.

Sometimes the youngest goes a little nuts in the name of making art, and I have to politely explain why the walls have to stay the color that the apartment managers chose or why throwing handfuls of glitter bombs at glue-covered construction paper might produce excellent work but will send dad’s slight OCD into Defcon 2.

Overall, the kids don’t push the envelope or take many risks.

I wish they would – glitter bombs aside.

I want them to take risks. Especially at their ages. Now is the time to try and fail. When no one is really watching or judging or telling them, you can’t do that when really the person is saying I can’t do that, so YOU can’t do that.

Occasionally, it involves bribes.

The Kid reminded me of such an offer the other night while waiting for his sister to finish dance class. My son can dance pretty well for a 9-year-old and isn’t afraid to show off his moves in front of an audience – even when he’s not under a Spider-Man mask.

Do you remember when you promised to buy me a paintball gun if I took a hip hop class?

I didn’t remember until he mentioned it but responded like its been on my mind every day for months.

“Can I get a paintball gun?”

“Will you take the classes?”

Being an overprotective parent, Id never push either kid into danger, but I’ll sometimes nudge them into uncomfortable but safe situations.

Getting hit with a paintball sounds like it would hurt, he mentioned a few days later.

The trick is to move out of the way, so you don’t get hit. I’ve heard that hip hop moves are an amazing way to dodge paintballs.

He’s still not convinced that either is a good idea.

Parenting Tip #594


Parenting Tip #595


The guy is shoveling dead deer.

And he is smiling.

I can only imagine the smell or what the carcass looks like up close after the spring sun roasts the animal before the turkey vultures pick at the meat and guts.

The smell emanating from the truck bed would drop most of us. And that smell doesn’t go away. It hangs around on clothing and inside the nostrils.

Through it all, the son of a bitch had a grin like he just bought a drawer full of new underwear.

The scene hung this thought on the walls of my mind.

There’s no reason to hate your life.

You’re not trapped.

If you hate your job, find a new job.

If you hate where you live, move.

If you’re stuck in an awful relationship that’s beyond repair, leave.?

Realize that sleeping on a futon when you’re 30 is not the worst thing. Do you know what’s worse? Sleeping in a king-sized bed next to a person you’re not really in love with, but for some reason you’re married, and you’ve got a couple of kids, and a job you hate. You’ll be laying there fantasizing about sleeping on a futon. There’s no risk when you go after a dream. There’s a tremendous amount of risk to playing it safe. – Bill Burr

It’s ok to be scared. Being scared is your gut telling you that you’re doing something right.

Just take one step today – A step towards a new job, a change of scenery, or an end to a bad relationship.

One step towards a new something!

No more excuses.

Parenting Tip #596


(puts on old man pants in preparation of discussing the way things are now)

This isn’t a rant.

It’s more of an observation.

It’s an observation that sounds like a rant.

Let’s call it a Robservation.

(Unrelated – if your name is Rob and you don’t have a blog called Robservations you should stop reading and create one right damn now)

There’s a danger to your wallet lurking around every corner in the grocery store. Every product is linked to a children’s cartoon or comic character in some way.

Disneys Frozen Chicken Noodle Soup
The Avengers Mac & Cheese
Spider-Man Suppositories

Every item on the shelves triggers a kid to WANT!, even if it’s not on the grocery list, an item the child won’t eat in a million years or a kid is fairly regular as far as bowel movements.

Every. Damn. Aisle.

It’s one of the many reasons I don’t food shop with the kids unless it’s absolutely unavoidable.

A reader submitted this photo in response to my PJ Masks theme song note the other day. She found a box of PJ Masks cinnamon cookies and joked you can train babies just like puppies with these!

Now, there’s nothing wrong with this product tie in UNLESS your cabinet is overflowing with other utterly delicious cookies that a child hasn’t sniffed in months. ???

I’ll imagine the situation goes down as such.

Kid: Daddy! PJ Masks cookies!
Dad: I see honey, but we have a lot of cookies at home.
Kid: But I want them!
Dad: No, dude.
Kid (louder): PJ Masks cookies!
Dad: Dad said no.

Head on over to Robservations to see how the rest of the story worked out.

Parenting Tip #597


Parenting Tip #598


She wanted to wear one shoe to school.

This was a legitimate request.

And for a second I thought, am I too strict? and another voice in my head said, don’t be stupid, she can’t go to school in one shoe!

I compromised.

Wear both shoes, and you don’t have to wear a jacket.

We shook on it.

Letting kids dress themselves is a wise move. It avoids conflict, promotes independence, and gives them a sense of individuality and accomplishment.

Now you’re probably reading this thinking what parent would let their child do that?! This post is absurd.

Stop and think hard. I bet you know a kid from your past – or maybe one from the present – who would do it and a parent who would allow it or just checked out and didn’t care.

We all went to college with the dude who walked around campus barefoot. That guy didn’t hatch out of an egg. He had parents.

The Kid wants to wear two different socks? As long as those socks are on and were not waiting by the front door to leave, it doesn’t bother me.

The youngest wants to wear a tiara to soccer? Go for it, princess.

A kid never leaves the house without a bunny ski cap. Louise Belcher wore it better but fine with me.

I’m avoiding arguments of style, but there’s a fine line between personal expression and lunacy.

My kids might cross that line occasionally but damn it they’re going to do it in the proper footwear.

Parenting Tip #599


We’re all guilty of helping our kids way too often.

Even if we first say figure it out yourself, eventually we cave when we see them struggle or we just get so damn impatient it’s here let me do it! and the kid learns nothing.

I’m consistently guilty of this act of impatience.

Think about one of your talents. Maybe it’s drawing, or you’re a fantastic cook or possess the ability to fix anything without a YouTube search for help.

How did you attain this level of mastery?

You fucked up.

A lot.

And no one came to save you.

You drew faces entirely out of proportion, burned a fair share of meals, or kicked the hell out of inanimate objects after exhausting every possible way to get things to work.

But no one did it for you. You might have sought advice from people who do it better, but no one pushed you aside and instructed: go watch a couple of hours of “Nailed It” while I make this dinner.

Let your kids fail. Ask him or her, “why do you think that’s happening?” or “what do you think you’re doing wrong?” and not “do you want me to do that for you?”

I know you know these things, but sometimes parents – myself included – need a little reminder.


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