Rantings of a Middle Aged Dad

IMG_1478I get it. It’s a different time. We aren’t as connected and our lives intersect virtually rather than physically. No longer is the fabric weaved tightly enough to allow for our children to roam safely upon it.

Lately there’s a certain level of mental and perhaps spiritual health and well being that I can only achieve by waving a clenched fist in the air and flapping my gums about whatever it is that bugs me. I’m entering the ‘get off my lawn’ stage of life. These are my greying and grumpy years. In an effort to get through this quite annoying phase I am attempting to yell my displeasure into the void that once was a neighborhood as I stand on my porch in my slippered feet and ever expanding belly, fueled by fear and confusion just as eons of men have done before me. I’m not afraid to be a stereotype.

What the hell is wrong with people?

Why is everyone so damn angry? Why is everyone in love with those of us most boldly expressing free floating rage with the least responsibility and the greatest amount of hostility? When did we adults become so fragile, kicking and screaming when things don’t go exactly as we want them to? I feel like my grandparents generation rolled with the punches so much better . They understood that your vote was your voice and when more people voted for the other guy you had to accept it. Nowadays, disguised in tough guy individualism, everyone’s a bunch of ninnies outraged that the world is not there to serve them solely, exactly meeting the very specific needs of precisely one person. 300 million ‘one person’s’, all dissatisfied and lashing out. Grown ups ain’t what they used to be.

Superheroes are for kids!

Grow up!

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not impugning the quality of those films that get it right. Good films are good films, regardless of genre. You can tell a good story about anything. But superheroes now are terrifying, angry, violent and often vile. They live in a world that looks like ours if you did nothing but look at it via cable news and clickbait terrors all day. Then they are marketed to 2 and 3 year old’s who suddenly want even their stuffed Elmo’s and Winnie the Pooh’s to ‘battle’! Call me crazy, but hidden documents will emerge that show the companies that underpin the military-industrial complex were huge supporters of this simple way to desensitize humanity to constant ‘battle’ or war as us old timers used to call it. Honestly, had I known I’d have treated superheroes like alcohol. Not until you are of legal age and your hormones have settled a bit.

College is a vitally important scam that I have to participate in to better the odds that my children can earn enough to barely get by.

Seriously. What a crock.

My parents generation was the last to not leave college in massive debt. State schools are running in the tens of thousands per year now. What the actual bleep is that? More and more it feels like the systems are established to make sure that only those that can find a way to pay the toll are allowed to get through the eye of the needle that will allow them to get a job that will overwork and underpay them to keep them on the treadmill as long as possible. And these, these are the lucky ones! I left college with a worthless degree and 25K in debt, which is a DREAM scenario for my own kids at this point.

Fix it! This is unsustainable, unethical and unbelievable.

We have legalized drug dealing and it’s taking over your television.

Have you seen the lines at the pharmacy in the last 15 years? Of course you have. You have stood in them, just like I have. We are over served. Somebody needs to start giving us sugar pills and sending us home to sober up.

There are a ton of reasons why I can’t watch commercial TV with my kids. The lewd lasciviousness of the content is tame next to the practically pornographic nature of those commercials that aren’t verging on actual depictions of evil. But for god’s sake, don’t make me have to sit there watching you push drugs for everything imaginable. Recently I’ve started seeing commercials for drugs that help offset the side effects of OTHER DRUGS! What the hell!

Have some shame people. Racism, sexism and xenophobia is reprehensible not electable.

Donald Trump. Donald freaking Trump. You did this to yourselves. I’ve had enough of the lot of you.

GET THE HELL OFF MY LAWN!

#TBT is a Lifeline, Parents. There’s Hope!

 

A funny thing has happened to Facebook since you’ve been blessed with your babies. All those invisible friends who were having kids and obsessing over kids and posting pictures of their kids who were white noise to you before, they are now the people you notice and stop on as you scroll. The others with their pictures of drunken nights and play-house dinner parties in urban settings, dressed fashionably and looking for all the world like they are at a photo shoot are now cruelly taunting you as you hide on your toilet check in on the world through the window of your phone. It can feel awful. Look how much better everyone is doing then you. How fit and trim these other parents are and how interested they are in how their food is made and how much they can exercise. Which is strange because you are kind of, well, not totally, but yeah actually totally fat. Like fat in the face fat. Not just a little tight in the crotch fat, but all new pants and a new strategy at Kohl’s kind of fat.

Smartest In the World. And Robert.
I was positively lanky back in the day!
You aren’t really aware that it’s happened until you see a picture. But once you do see it, you know. You have crossed the line. It’s gonna be a long journey to fitness. You subsist largely on the three C’s of early parenthood; candy, coffee and catnaps. Crying can be substituted for candy or catnaps. Coffee is untouchable. You are both dehydrated and bloated which seems impossible, but isn’t. You are tired and sleepless and tasked with more than you knew you could do. So your glands seek sugar for the short bursts of energy you need. In this early phase with peeks of happiness driven by loving something more than you ever thought possible and lows of madness for exactly the same reason, you turn fat, grey and blobbish.

There is a light at the end of this tunnel. That light is hashtagged. #TBT. Thats right. The mockable, thoroughly pleasurable social media phenomena of Throwback Thursday is your saving grace.

First, find all your friends who’s kids are older then 8 and younger than college. Then, really wind yourself up by looking through their family photo albums. Look for albums with titles like, ‘Fun Run 2013’ or ‘A Day at the Beach’ or simply ‘Mom Runs Two Marathons in One Week’. This should really get you to pull the trigger on those Donuts. Maybe even make you down a pint or two of Ben and Jerry’s just before bed. You’re not really searching the short energy burst at this point. Your just eating your feelings. It’s a complicated emotional maneuver. Your recent trip through your closet, your truly fucked digestive system and your coworkers catching you wearing the only 2 pants you fit in anymore has led you to think there might be something to it.

Then do it. Find all those same friends with their grown kids and look at there various TBT photos of them with their babies at their first birthdays or first anythings, really. If they don’t participate in TBT, no problem. Just scroll through their photo’s. You’ll get there. You’ll see the now dated photos of those parents, those marathoning sunbathers bundled in formless clothing, dressed perpetually for fall, playing with their babies, sprawled on couches and covered in kids. You’ll see it. In addition to their beaming happiness and pride (they are after all curating these pics and they can only go so far in there unwitting role as caregiver to your broken psyche) you’ll see the familiar pallor. The grey ghoul expression on their double chinned faces. Their general dishevelledness. You will see their wholly recognizable unwellness, and you will smile. They too were like you. They too lost all sense of self. There is hope that you may process food effectively again. You too may sleep and exercise and know the names of the movies, maybe even see a few, that were nominated this decade. Their is a chance that you will once again order the flat fronts and not worry that your underbelly will be too evident.

There is hope.

Things I Don’t Give a Crap About… On Sammiches & Psych Meds Today!

Hello dear readers!

It’s always so exciting when I get the chance to be published on Sammiches & Psych Meds! Today I’m over there with a list of things I truly could care less about now that my life and priorities have been rearranged by parenthood.child-1141497_1280 Please head over and give it a look and have a laugh!

All the best,

Developing Dad

 

We’ve Broken The Little One

Teddy isn’t Charlie. Not by a long shot.

Firstly, he’s second. Secondly, he’s last. Which is to say, he’s the baby. Charlie is a training model. We love him fiercely, but there’s no denying that his very station means he’s the one we make all the mistakes with. He is then tasked with training us on how it all should look. He teaches us that all these transitions, the ones he’s made at least, are not to be so fretted over. We stress with him because he is at the tip of the spear for us. His firsts are our firsts. While we are going through them we can see all the ways we’ve made it hard on ourselves and even hard on Charlie. Fortunately we also see how resilient Charlie is and we learn that our screw ups didn’t actually screw him up. Just screwed us up, really.

imageTeddy’s the baby. It’s different. We can feel wistfulness because we now know how fast it all goes. With the first you learn how long a day is, with the last you learn how short the years are. How much it’s all slipping away. How much we aren’t ready even if he is. I would never say we sabotage, but more often with Teddy our screw ups are acts of commission. We don’t ever sabotage, but we deliberately do some real real stupid s#it.

So now, for the past month, and for as long as I can see into the future, we’re going to pay the penance for our misdeeds. My penance takes place on the floor of the boys bedroom between roughly 8 o’clock each night and 11. We’ve broken our boy.

It started innocently enough. I’d hold him in the glider each night, he’d slowly drift off in my arms. It was really quite beautiful. Last words always the same.

‘Open your butt.’

I know. Seemed needlessly assaultive to me as well. Turned out it wasn’t what he meant. I don’t really know how he came to this phrasing. I mean he seems to know what a butt is. But he was really just asking me to arch my back for a second so he could slide his inside arm around me as he snuggled in.

But now it’s been weeks since I’ve heard those three, magic, disturbing words that always meant rest was just around the corner for everyone. Not anymore. The little monster, and this does coincide with him discovering his voice (which in many cases could be classified as a hate crime if toddlers were prosecutable and adults were an oppressed class) just lays there, eyes wide staring at the ceiling. For hours. I frankly don’t know how he does it. I mean, he’s exhausted. At least he should be

This is not going to happen tear free. Nope. I’ve begun to redraw lines and enforce borders to try to break him. Which in this case means I draw the line at holding him in the stupid hope that he’ll relearn to fall asleep in my arms for no more than an hour. Hour and a half tops. But that’s it! Then, off to bed for you mister!

Will I lie next to you and hold your hand? Of course, buddy. I’m not a monster. What? That keeps you awake too. Sheesh. Well, let me just get a pillow and puffy blanky and make it comfy. We both know I”m gonna be down here for a while. But last night it was 10:12! 10:12 and he was asleep. I could leave! Until I stood up to do so. Then he whimpered. Then he whined. Before I knew it he was standing, crying and through tears and heavy breath he said, ‘hug me up, daddy!’

So of course I hugged him up. I mean seriously, he was sitting there, all cheeks, tears, crankiness and lovely. What was I to do? Say no? That’s some first kid nonsense. Charlie could confirm this if he weren’t feet away sleeping through the whole thing. Besides upon ‘hugging him up’ he fell asleep almost instantly. And we get to add, ‘Hug me up’, to the book of standard toddler phrases! But still, 3 hours nightly is a lot.

IMG_0076If you’d given me infinite monkeys on infinite keyboards they would never have banged out the phrase. One I never could have conceived of. One once conceived I would never have thought I’d so long to hear. But for all that is right and decent, Teddy, will you please go back to falling gently to sleep in my arms and uttering with eyes half shut.. ‘Daddy. Open your butt.’