doawpiggybank

The Piggy Bank Caper

Did I (unknowingly) teach my oldest daughter to steal?

The other day a boy from our local High School was going door-to-door with one of those obnoxious fundraisers for his baseball team. This happens often in our suburban neighborhood. I usually feel obligated to help out. Not because I know one day, my two daughters will likely be in those same shoes. But more importantly – I feel inclined to help out the kids that are doing their own work. NOT THE PARENTS. I despise when parents take over these fundraisers for their kids - pushing the responsibility onto their family, friends, and co-workers. And now, these solicitations are popping up all over Facebook. Maybe I’m too old-fashioned. But there’s supposed to be a level of responsibility taught, in addition to funds collected. I write a lot about parental obligations and sending mixed messages to our children. I’m certainly not perfect – but don’t go out of your way to help your children cheat. If there’s a certain dollar amount they need to attain. Then teach a man to fish – so to speak.

I will make an exception for Girl Scout Cookies. Because me love cookies!!! They are delicious. And I don’t want to insult every co-worker I’ve ever had.

Now, back to the lecture at hand. This was one of those sticky-peely restaurant coupon type deelios. You know, the ones that have about a dozen restaurants on them; nine of which aren’t located anywhere near you. As the acne filled pubescent young fella fearfully stared back at me, anticipating common rejection – I took in a very deep breath, and sarcastically exhaled a very large, dramatic breath, translating it into an intended frustrated sigh. But, not with, nor directed at acne-boy. But rather with myself, because I just can’t say no. I need to make sure my fundraiser karma is on the up-and-up for future years. And this kid is obviously being raised properly. I can’t wait to torment my girls with perfecting their sales pitch. Briefcase, handshake, eye-contact and all.

So here’s where the tomthievery comes into play. I stow the dog, so she doesn’t make a Michael Scofield-esque escape attempt out the front door. I fumbled around the kitchen and the junk drawers looking for my wallet. I find the wallet. Of course, it’s empty. All I need is $10. Surely, I can locate $10 somewhere in this over-priced, depreciating home? I JUST had $37 dollars. Where did it go? I find my wallet and it’s empty of that precious $37. Coincidentally, $37 is equally as important when you’re a parent; as it is when you’re acne-boy on my doorstep soliciting for cash. $37 is pretty much rich, in “parent dollars.” “Parent Dollars” are like “Dog Years” because you need $7 to have $1. It makes sense – I promise. (Okay – full disclosure. I’m not sure it makes sense, but, let’s just not think about it.) I quickly check the giant Miller Genuine Draft coin collector. You know, because we’re classy and stuff. Also to no avail. It was showing signs of being recently ravished as its coin color was primarily a dirty, rusty orange. Seemed to be filled with only lousy, useless, copper pennies. Pennies are no longer appropriate for a guitar case or tin cup offering in the street. Even Jesus would have been offended. Pennies are more like a filthy choking hazard, than any kind of financial up-boost. Why do they even exist? I blame Sally Struthers. After all, the original piggy bank was designed in her image. I’m out of ideas. I’m going to have to tell this poor hard-working kid – NO.

But wait … I couldn’t. Or could I? No, I’d never forgive myself. Well, I could always pay her back. Yeah… It’s time to hit the lowest of the low. It’s time to crack open HER Sally Struthers piggy bank.

Now, she’s almost four-years-old. Not only is she at my feet 100% of the time, and especially whenever I’m using them. She also seeks my narration for every literal step along the way. George Clooney couldn’t pull off this heist. Unfortunately for me; at this juncture; my only option is honesty.

I look at her as I take a long painful swallow of pride. “Maria, Daddy needs to borrow some money from your piggy bank to pay that boy. Is that okay?”

Being the sweetheart she is, or the fact it’s in her genetics to spend money. She was very excited to help out. Elated, actually! Perhaps, she was thrilled to help, because she got to help out, in a way she had never before. With real impact and power. To assist the family in obtaining a peeler-card, with impending expiration through lack of use. OR, that she just gets to open her piggy bank. When you’re a toddler that’s right up there with swing sets, candy, and smearing poop on the walls.

She quickly runs to the piggy bank; Grabs the piggy bank; Then hands the piggy bank… to acne boy. The look on his face was pretty priceless when some 3-foot tall princess was trying to hand him a 10-pound pink pig with polka dots. I smiled – said “sorry” and redirected Maria (and piggy) to an open area on the floor where we could hunt through the dirty treasure.

I wasn’t sure exactly what we’d find. I mean, of course we’d find coins. Maybe a few one-dollar bills I’d slipped in there for when she was an extra good girl. Maybe construction paper, a drawing, hair-tie, probably hair, maybe a bobby-pin or even some Monopoly money. After much buildup and anticipation what we found made me question everything I thought I knew over the last 4 minutes, or 4 years. I found a wadded up handful of various dollar bills. At first, I assumed that this was her mother’s doing. As I counted this mystery wad of bills, I saw a $10 bill which would be perfect for paying off acne-boy. Thus, removing me of previous feelings of guilt. While I was very thankful – that the piggy bank had appropriate funds to bail me out. I was quite disturbed to learn the wad of bills added up to exactly $37.

We All Fail – We Don’t Have to Lie About It

I dread the day my (4-year-old) daughter learns that I don’t like all her drawings. It’s something I’ll soon have to tell her.

selfportraitofme
Dad’s face when … all day.

That drawing above is good for her age, I suppose. But not everything we do is good or deserving of celebration. Too often, we tell our kids they’ve done great work, when they haven’t. We’re responsible for shaping our children’s minds; Teaching them insights; And what it means to be responsible adults. We educate them. We teach them love – and sometimes hatred. But we rarely teach them HOW TO FAIL; or rather, how to COPE with failure. Children need to understand it’s okay to be a winner and a loser. We are ALL both… some of the time. There’s no reason to lie about it.

Children must learn to lose with grace – so they can win with class.

They must learn to follow – so that they can learn HOW to lead.

Parents, we need to learn to praise their efforts; and not just their success. However, providing undeserved praise, like participation trophies, can lead to entitlement - Entitlement that will result in extreme feelings of failure, when failures inevitably becomes reality.

Don’t praise failures. Don’t praise successes. Learn to praise their efforts. And reprimand when that effort doesn’t exist.

As a society, we praise and reprimand based on outcomes. For instance, “attempted murder” versus “murder” – exact same actions, with different outcomes. Same crime, with different punishments. We do the same thing when parenting. We tend to react differently, when the crayon doesn’t come OFF the couch, as opposed to when it does. What kind of message does this send our children? That it’s okay to bully, as long as it doesn’t go too far? As long as those bullied kids don’t start killing themselves?!? Seems like a big difference – but IS it?

Use effort as your measuring tool for your praise and rewards – NOT outcomes.

Outcome-based praise teaches children to hide outcomes; To lie; To cheat – in order to deliver results, instead of efforts. Then they grow-up and become lying, cheating adults.

We have things ass-backwards. Wrong is wrong. So teach your children to think for themselves. Teach them right from wrong. Teach them to win. Teach them to lose. Teach them cause and effect. Teach them to take responsibility for their actions. Ownership. Honesty. Teach them that outcomes don’t mean shit. Sometimes people get lucky. But more often than not – we fail. Baseball players fail 70% of the time, and are still All-Stars. Teach your children to accept failure; To embrace failure; To learn and grow from their failures. Teach them what other parents are not teaching their kids. Teach them to stand up for themselves. And to be proud of who they are, and where they came from. Teach them to fall down, so they can get back up again with their bats swinging.

Teach them that when they win, to do so humbly. So when they lose, they will do it graciously.

As (good) protective parents, with good intentions, we shelter our children from these feelings of failure. We try to shelter them from losing. We think we’re doing right by them. But instead, we (unintentionally) keep them from learning how to win, by trying too hard to not let them lose – (unknowingly) turning effective leaders, into entitled assholes.

Entitled Asshole
Entitled asshole who always wins.

Children aren’t born entitled – just like they aren’t born racist, sexist, or homophobic. They are taught. Teach them not to be ignorant, sore, entitled assholes. Teach them to be better. Challenge them. Don’t let them suffer, because WE failed. We ALL fail. And it’s nothing to be ashamed of, unless we didn’t try. And it’s nothing to be ashamed of, unless we didn’t learn…

We all fail – there’s no reason to lie about it.

 

REMINDER: If we don’t accept our children for who they are, then who will? 

The Complete Fool’s Guide to Welcoming Home Your New Baby

lena fist pumpWelcome to the club of selfless-masochism. Where we scar our minds and bodies – in order to create a newer and better version of ourselves. Our offspring. The light of our lives. Our cuddly little bundles of joy. They steal years from our lives, while selfishly adding them to their own.

The Complete Fool’s Guide to Welcoming Home Your New Baby

Congratulations! So you are, or are soon to be a new dad. Assuming it’s too late for you to run away – here are some, somewhat tested, and not really proven methods of welcoming home your wonderful, shitty new addition to the family. Follow these simple instructions, and you’ll have the entire family eating out of the palm of your hand – and feeding off your man breast.

The Hospital Part One: The Preparation

Select your hospital based on their couches. Since YOUR comfort is all that really matters you should take this seriously. These “couches” … usually “convert” … into a “bed.” Don’t get too excited though. This transition from a couch into a bed is about as convincing as when Joaquin Phoenix converted to a rapper.

  • DO NOT SLEEP. If you sleep your “baby mama” will hate you. She will make your life miserable and you’ll never hear the end of it. So I’ve heard.

 

The Hospital Part Two: Changing the Baby

Change the first diaper! Cat Stevens said “the first cut is the deepest.” Well, “the first shit is the easiest.”

  • What you’ll find is called meconium, which is Latin for not-too-stinky, tarry, sticky poo-jizz type space substance. It’s the rookie level of shits.
  • Get your thumb brown, early and often. You’ll seem like a hero.
Meconium
Meconium Jizz
  • Meconium is nothing compared to the seedy shits that will soon follow.  These oatmeal style shits are liquidy. Get yourself a large hand sanitizer, hook it around your belt, or hang it from those cool carpenter jeans!
Seedy Poo
Seedy Oatmeal Shits
  • Don’t cheap out on baby wipes. These are essential to baby survival. They are perfect for food, carpet stains, fingerprints, cleaning counters, urine, and wiping (your own) tears and ass.

 

Bringing Baby Home Safely

Have the local firehouse help install the car seat. The hospital won’t let you leave unless you’re prepared. It’s 2014, apparently we don’t like our children flopping around the floorboards of cars anymore… BUT I TURNED OUT FINE!!!

  • Drive 20 miles per hour the whole way home from the hospital. It will be terrifying and everyone else on the road will think you’re drunk.
  • Your new baby should be asleep. If new baby isn’t asleep then it’s possibly defective and needs to be returned or exchanged immediately. Check hospital return policy and read vagina for any fine print.

 

Feeding the Baby

My wife was skeptical of breastfeeding, but after researching the subject, she accepted and ultimately loved the experience. She describes it as her “motherly bonding time.” I describe it as “those are mine and I want them back!” This is probably where sharing problems begin for early childhood development. Fathers and babies fighting over boobs for hundreds of thousands of years. Be warned, men. Your nipple-play will diminish to nothing. You will possibly even resent your newborn for hogging the happy-station. But it’s okay – just don’t blog about it for your mom to read.

  • If you are lucky enough and get the occasional green light to paw around… you’ll probably just get squirted with breast milk.
  • Prepare pre-mixed bottles for late night feedings. It will save a ton of time when tears are abundant and you’re half asleep.

 

Sleeping?

Once you’re a parent you will never really sleep again. Unless you’re a shitty parent.

  • Breastfeeding equals more sleep for you. So push for that.
  • Sleeping also equals guilt. Find the balance.

 

Cuddling the Baby

Baby cuddles are the best, and dad naps are awesome! After everyone’s belly is full, and dad and baby have been changed. It’s a great time to lie down on the couch, aka your new bed, for some z’s.

 

When to Return to Work?

Go back to work as soon as possible. Make up some excuse about how you can’t take a full week off work.

  • Having to work in the morning equals more sleep for you the night before.
  • Returning to work equals more guilt.

 

When to Return to Pound Town?

LOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!! LMFAOOOOO!!!!  Once you’re a parent you’re on a lifetime ban from Pound Town.

  • You may want to check out some DIY videos.
  • You will serve a minimum 1-5 years before being permitted to engage in just Charlie Chaplin sex. Good luck!!!
charliechaplin
Charlie Chaplin, a Silent Lover.

Additional Notes

  • Babies are usually found in cribs, seats, and on floors. Don’t step on them or drop them onto hard surfaces.
  • Babies cry a lot. If you can’t get your baby to stop crying. Just cry with them. Mockery will prove to be very soothing for you.
  • Utilize Grandma, Gammy, and Nana whenever possible. They can provide you with a much needed break to grab some nutrition, sleep, a shower or sedative. But don’t expect them to change any diapers. NOTE: Don’t leave the baby with Grandma Mimsy. She’s drunk.
  • Don’t throw the baby away, or out the window. This is not only illegal but also very uncool.

 

drunkmimsy
Drunk Grandma Mimsy

The depiction of dad’s on TV, and the idiots from this video “How to Interpret Your Baby’s Cries” inspired this post. You may want to grab a pen. 

Happy “April Fool’s” Birthday to my friend Blogless Joel.