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Dad up! I never realized "settling down" meant anything but. 

That's why rock stars never stop touring. 

 
 

obamabow

Today he said the wisest thing I’ve heard from a child or any aged philosopher. He later said the dumbest thing and then the weirdest thing too, but we’ll get to those in a bit. It inspired me to get back to trying to inspire with our occasionally inspirational tales.

Leave it to the youngest to figure it all out. Like him, I’m also the youngest of three. That means I can identify with him. But usually I identify with what I put my Dad through by being a big wuss. As the “baby of the family” we are coddled the most, but anxious to grow up fast to play with the olders. The youngest are often the most creative and the most expressive. With less pressure and expectations than their elders, we youngest are allowed to be introspective observers of life. WTF am I talking about? My point is I’m writing this so if he ever grows up to doubt himself and give in to the pessimistic thoughts, then he’ll have this post to remind him that at age six, he figured it all out.

Don’t ever tell my wife this or I’ll hurt you, but sometimes when Mom goes away, it’s a good thing. Out of their comfort zone, without all-knowing Mom to save the day, dads and children make breakthroughs. “You and I have to have a man to man talk about your Wubby.”

This week Mom went on a business trip which meant Dad was losing it the very first hour of the first morning she was gone. I couldn’t prepare a breakfast anyone would eat, pack a lunch anyone wanted, and nobody was ready for school with the clock ticking. The middle child was dressed but the youngest wasn’t which makes for a problem.

The youngest is too scared to go get dressed on his own for whatever reason. I blame my wife allowing him to watch scary movies. And then also for indulging his fears. And I also tend to blame her for any other faults our children have. Father of the Year needs some work. Since the boys share a room, he will only go to his room if his brother or someone accompanies him. He claims he’s scared of the giant cyclops from some movie, and the dark, and everything else that we’ve tried to reason with him about endlessly.

So here we are this morning. (who knew there was so much back-story but we’re almost to the pay-off) I’ve got no time to escort him. I’m in the garage knee-deep in boxes of Costco snacks trying to make a school lunch. I scream at him, “Go! Get! DREEESSSED!!” Maybe I was scarier than a one-eyed giant because when I emerged from the garage he was coming up the dark stairs from his room alone and dressed.

Shocked I said, “You did it. How did you do it?”

He replied simply, “I just didn’t listen to the bad thoughts in my head.”

(clap, clap) Bravo! There it is. All these years, I’ve never been able to put it so simply. Now I know what all those therapists have meant.

Just don’t listen to the bad thoughts.

Sure, replace them with positive thoughts or focus on the task at hand instead of dwelling on the bad ones. I wanted to put him on a pedestal and let him shout it to the world but, alas, we had to get to school where, I’m told, he shouts plenty.

I had spoken to the wise man and I could climb down the mountain and teach it to the people. Or, at least, the few people that follow me (Mom?).  I know this is common practice for many of you positive thinkers out there. For a proud pessimist like myself, it can be hard to see the reason we do what we strive to do. We get buried by the endless amounts of burden that lay in our path. And we fear the scary cyclops waiting for us in the unknown. Leave it to a stressed-out little six year-old to teach us how to cope. He at least inspired me to ignore my excuses and get back to blogging immediately. And now, a week and a half later, I am. Of course, I was supposed to be doing the taxes. Ugh.

pottythinker

I usually resist posting all the silly, wonderful things that kids spill from their naive, under-developed minds. Yet some are worthy. Just subscribe to a couple of parenting blogs and you’ll be covered in inspirational, funny, and stupid cute things kid say that will change your life. But, don’t really. Just follow mine.

I told you he said the stupidest and weirdest thing I’ve heard a child utter. That’s a day in the life of a child, I guess. Since I’m breaking my rule of quoting kids, I’ll repeat them.

The dumbest was he somehow downloaded Kidz Bop (my tormentor) player on his Leapster. For friggin’ days he’s been playing the screeching child renditions of Taylor Swift and Bieber everywhere we went. In the car ride home I finally told him, “If you play that one more time, I’m going to lose it.”

He replied foolishly, “Dad, why wouldn’t you want to hear Kidz Bop Justin Bieber all of the time?” He was genuinely puzzled.

Finally, later in the day, out of the blue and unprompted, he said the weirdest thing I’ve heard from him. “Dad, will I ever get to watch 12 Years a Slave???” I have no idea why he’s interested nor could he explain his desire. However, after finally overcoming the fear of the cyclops, I’d say he definitely has to wait a few years to watch anything rated higher than PG.

Perhaps next week I’ll tell you my answer to his bedtime question, “Dad, is being a dad hard?” I’m still trying to formulate the proper answer to that doozie. I think I’ll relate his overcoming the fear of the cyclops with being a father. One day you’re a kid who’s scared of spiders. Then you’re a dad and suddenly you are the one who has to take out the spiders.

 

In the meantime, I’m not really a Eminem fan but I’ll definitely play this over Bieber. And lyrics are fitting.

top10                           tweetlist
It’s all about lists these days. “40 things to know at 40″. “9 things you should be eating daily.” “12 things you never knew about your rectum.” If I could write a top ten list why we can only digest news in list form, I’d have a lot more followers.

But whether you know me or my “list of things a dad learns”, you should know my motto and your one key to parental bliss in the shortest list possible:

1. One and done you can still have fun!

That’s the mission of my blog and the reason I was put on this earth to father multiple children.
Well, my mission would really be to discourage the harmful spread of all children, but I realize we need to repopulate the world. And since many of you feel it’s your purpose in life to grow your seed, I’ll settle for encouraging people to stop after one life created.

The only list I can think of for having more than one kid would be:

1. Help with the crops (no longer applies.)

2. Tax Breaks (doesn’t equal the rest of the breaks they come with)

3. An excuse to keep buying Cheetos (this one is valid)

Though I love and appreciate all three of my children infinitely, I realize it would be easier for want-to-be parents if they just had one single humongous responsibility. So in the hopes they come across my pearls of wisdom, I vow to keep blogging. Truth be told, the actual only mission of my blog is to make me rich and famous. But since I’m no Kardassian then my faux credible mission is to reduce the world’s population by screaming the truth about parenting. Or something like that until my sex tape gets out and I’m Kardassian famous.
This Huffington Post blog I found buried in an endless sea of lists, reitterates my blog’s mission. estelle-sobel-erasmus/tips-for-parents-suffering-from-the-only-child-syndrome. Here are some points I lifted off the Huff article that lifted off the book The Case for the Only Child, written by social psychologist Susan Newman.
-Mothers of one child are the happiest (older parents are happier too).
-Siblings are not essential for “normal” development and the stereotypes we’ve heard about the only child (bossy, pushy, selfish, lonely) are not correct.
-Adding more children to a family has no effect on fathers’ happiness, but a negative effect on mothers’ contentment.
I feel she should read some of my stuff before stating “no effect on father’s happiness”. Did I mention I love my children? I feel you judging.
-According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the single-child family is the fastest growing family unit and has been for more than two decades.
That means I’m making a difference! I suppose I can’t take full responsibility for the last two decades. Still I’m sure that every time I’ve taken my brood out in public over the last decade, I have dissuaded all the would-be parents who were unfortunate enough to be around us. You’re welcome, World.

I’d encourage you to read the post but then you’ll be bombarded with links to lists you must read or you’ll die.

12listsrudd
To further hit home my one reason about having one child, let me give you one example. This is where I got the idea for my motto. Go to any restaurant. The only time you’ll see a family having a civilized meal, is if there’s one child.
Last night my weekly amnesia kicked in and I let the wife talk me into having family dinner in a restaurant. We arrived on this busy night at the exact same time as another family arrived. They had one boy about six, the same age as my youngest. As a party of three they were sat before our party of five. We sat next to them but I never heard a peep from them. Perhaps it was because I couldn’t hear them over my children’s loud arguing about who could play with Mom’s phone, or the whining about when the food would arrive, or shrieks when one sibling stole a fry off the other’s plate.
I kept having to peer at the other table to make sure they were still there. They were. The only child was watching a video on a non-disruptive screen quietly eating his vegetables. The Dad was drinking a micro-brew while he and Mom had a…. what’s that called? Oh, right, a “conversation”.
I rewarded my kids’ bad behavior with dessert, over-tipped for all the food they spilled, then went home to take as many aspirin as I had children. And vowed to never take them out again. At least, not until my weekly amnesia kicks in and they promise, promise, promise me that they’ll be pleasant.
Other than being seated next to us, the “one and done” family had a nice time. See, even one and done with a son you can still have fun. That rhyme got me searching and Dr. Seuss never had any biological children. That’s probably how we able to write so much. He said, “you have them, I’ll entertain them.” Guess where I got that tidbit.
http://www.history.com/news/9-things-you-may-not-know-about-dr-seuss  There was also:
15 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Dr. Seuss – TheFW
The Quick 10: 10 Grown Up Facts About Dr. Seuss | Mental Floss
5 Things You Didn’t Know: Dr. Seuss – AskMen

 

man equations

Things used to add up. Then kids happened. I’ve noted some new equations to factor in that one variable that skews all.

This is just the start of a list. I ask you to add to it. Leave me your own equations in the comments.

Dad Years
1 child  = + 12 years
Ex: I’m 39 with 3 kids = I’m 65 in Dad Years

Hearing & Perception
7 times repeating something = 1 time child hears you
4 times wife says something = 1 time husband hears

Nutrition
8 Costco free samples = 1 balanced meal

Playtime
1 bat + 1 wrecking ball + 1 grenade = destructive power of 2 boys

Hygiene Odds
28% = times kids remember to flush
17% = times kids close doors when going to the bathroom
19% = times kid close any door
60% – boy pee makes toilet
2 mins of dentist recommended brushing = 7 seconds of actual kid brushing
Trash =  3% in trash can, 70% on floor, 25% stuffed behind couches, beds and car seats, 2% wherabouts still unknown

Time/Space Continuum
One 30 min TV show at 6am = 6 hours of parental sleep
1 stick of gum/candy = 4 mins of behaved child
1 promise of future candy = 15 seconds of behaved child
1 pack of gum (20 sticks) = Infinity of sugar overload, hysteria, paranoia, and meltdown

boy equations

Education
reading 20 pages of Dr. Seuss for millionth time = reading 800 pages of Dostovetsky

Word Problem:
the number of years between age of oldest child (11) who is able to get herself ready for school and the age of the youngest child (6) who can’t figure out how to put cereal in a bowl = a thousand more years I have to still do this!

True stats
Average cost of raising a child $241,080 = much more than that    *(boy skew would increase by 75% for each boy)
Cost of raising a child $241,080 + all shit they break = 4 BMWs, 8 trips to Europe, 9 home remodels and 1 MLBaseball team (Tampa Bay only)
Box of condoms = not sure but probably more than cost of a six-pack of beer?

 

Help me think of more. I will post them. Let’s get a real definitive list going.

girl equations

shining I’m up against it, people. It’s not my archenemy, summer vacation. But it’s a formidable foe: midwinter break. Most of you don’t have to tangle with this parental nightmare. Yet with so many snow school closures, we all are feeling like Jack in the Shining.

At least with snow caused closures there is only the weather gods to blame. There’s also hope that “the sun will come out, tomorrow”. Shut it, Annie! Go to school!

Anyway, after relocating north from eternally 78 degree L.A. a few years ago, I was shocked when, just six weeks after winter break and on the heels of MLK Day and Presidents Day, I learn of this new thorn in my side. I nearly bit the head off of the mom who broke the news to me. She kindly explained midwinter break is a chance for parents to go somewhere with sun. So that families don’t get too depressed over the dark days and add to the high suicide rate. I see. Tell me again why I agreed to move here from Disneyland? Oh, right, for the kids. Always for them. Someday they’ll appreciate that, won’t they? Or yell at me to take them to Disneyland during the break.

Great, so it’s an opportunity to cheer-up with some free, natural Vitamin D. But we all know freedom isn’t free. Nor is Vitamin D. For many people, flying south for the winter isn’t an option. Most just get an extra week to try to figure out what to do with the demanding, gorging, little wrecking balls. Redrum redrum. (I really should stop watching Shining so many times.)

I found a better explanation of this self-imposed burden from the East Coasters:

“In 1977, New York City’s Board of Education unanimously approved closing schools for a week in February during the 1977-78 school year. A memo from the board at that time called the decision “an experiment for the purpose of energy-saving. But saving energy is not today’s reasoning for a February recess. The midwinter break became a permanent feature of the New York City school calendar as part of a budget-cutting deal between the Board of Education and the teachers’ union in 1991.”

The budget is what seems the more logical explanation for my woes. Unlike children, money is always a reason for the otherwise unexplainable. Children I can find no logical reason for. Other than because their parents had nothing to do over the cold winter months.

Fortunately, we all have this blog here to let our frustrations out. So let’s have another poll. Since they’re fictional, it’s alright to vote on which TV kid we’d rather punch in their chubby belly. Vote away. Together we can get through this thing called life and school breaks.

Fictional kid you'd like to punch in the gut
It's okay, they're not real. Just real annoying. All polls are anonymous and these fake kids have it coming. Click them where it hurts!

Cailloudorasidelmo

 

 

 

 

 

 

And to think, after reading my post on scarymommy, my Dad was happy my blog has gotten less angry. Ha! If you’re new to THK, don’t flee. I’ll follow-up with something nicer soon when my kids aren’t suffocating me. I mean, love you.

It turned out even better than I envisioned. Amazing work, Ransom Cosper, despite what that old Hollywood adage says; never work with kids, animals, Seattle sun or pregnant wives. (no, that’s not my prego wife. Thank doctors.) The response has been great. Please keep sharing before Dr. Dre pulls the plug. Thanks!

 

Here’s the original we’re spoofing:

Together we can stop the madness of children. Everyday, or once a week if my kids are sick, thenkidshappened.com is doing our public service to warn the world of the dangers of reproducing. I am thrilled many of you have put on your cape and joined my crusade. It’s not an easy role that we’ve taken on- looking beyond cute baby pics and excessive exclamation points to see a cranky, gyped parent hiding behind it. However, if we can help just one person out there save their sanity by having zero, or only one child, then we are making a better world for our…well, for ourselves. Remember us?

batman and kids

Today’s TKH hero is subscriber Josh who sent me this article from Gawker.com entitled

Studies Confirm: Kids Ruin Your Life

I highly recommend that you read the short and entertaining article. I DO NOT recommend that you glance at the title, scream out “I knew it!”, shove all your children out in the cold and lock the door behind them. Then you have to explain to Child Protective Services that it was just a joke and you may have accidentally mixed up your meds, again.

I also recommend reading the LA Times article from the science section on which the the Gawker article bases most of it’s findings. Definitely do that BEFORE you start spouting off to Child Protective Services that all children are evil and you’re fleeing to Bermuda where they’ll never find you. If you were to read that article before authorities were dispatched, you would see the ultimate findings that a parent or non-parent’s happiness is based on their choice to reproduce.

The researchers conclude that in the United States, and other wealthy countries, parenthood is often a deliberate choice. So, if you have children because you wanted children, you are likely just as satisfied with your life as a friend who does not have children because he or she did not want to have them.”

Who knew? It comes down to choice. If you do the things you wanted to do, you are happier than when you do things you didn’t choose to do. I wonder where the research is for those who didn’t realize where babies come from and, three kids later, they’re thinking they should have read more so Child Protective Services would stop showing up at their house. Oh, that doesn’t apply to anyone you know? Let’s just see about that.

I have in my hand a magical poll machine that gets the truth out of people since it is completely anonymous. Really, it’s my poll and I cannot see who votes what. It occurs to me I should be using my magic poll machine more often.  Here I can ask the things you can’t ask people in real life though you desperately long to know. Seriously, Grannies, you can’t ask that. No matter how much you’ve been drinking.

Work the poll again for me, parents. Just to the right there. I swear that even I cannot see the anonymous votes.

And thanks to Josh and all my THK subscribers. We are gaining in numbers and power. Well, at least numbers. I appreciate all of you, sincerely. Remember, only you can prevent children.

MCAandgirlMCAfinger

Who invited the smart chick to our dumb guy party? That’s how I felt when my daughter rode shotgun yesterday while my boys and I were bumpin’ to the Beastie Boys classic, Girls.  (The jam is the subject of a recent copyright debate between Boys and girls. More on that in a bit.) But that moment cruising in the station wagon, the first cool album I owned as a boy would prove what a cool Dad I am now. Aww, yeah!

And then it happened. I started to hear the lyrics through my daughter’s ears. I cowered lower in my seat to avoid her judging eyes as her little brothers sang along, “Two at a time, I want girls!”

licensetoillNo, it’s not age appropriate music for my 6 and 7-years-old boys.  But since they’re too young to know what the lyrics mean, I let the untimely death of Adam Yauch (A.K.A. MCA) give me an excuse to buy them the coolest album a wussy white boy could own (for a fourth time). I was right. They love all that shit -from the bandits’ ballad Paul Revere to the quintessential teenage anthem Fight for Your Right (To Party) and the extremely chauvinistic Girls. My boys were just as entranced by the first crossover hip-hop album as my pre-pubescent burb buddies and I were when we played it incessantly, never contemplating the meaningless lyrics. Paaaaaartay!esq-beastie-boys-1009-lgThen you grow up, grow your seed, grow lame, and one day your precocious 11-year-old daughter says “You listened to some ancient music, Dad.” I’m used to her making fun of my music as all kids do to their parents before they develop taste.  But this time she was referring to the lines her naïve brothers were belting. Girls! To do the dishes / Girls! To clean up my room / Girls! To do the laundry/ Girls! and in the bathroom

I suddenly realized why my friends and I celebrated these sexist songs on the daily; Because we didn’t hang out with girls.

My sweet little angel, feeling empowered by her move to the front seat, grilled me, “How old were the Beastie Boys? What century did they live in? Are they still alive? Do they have wives? Do they have kids?”

I could only offer her , “Well, a company for girls’ toys used this song with different words to encourage the development of strong women. GoldieBlox. I’ll show you the cool commercial.”

“Oh, OK.”  She seemed satisfied.

Then I had to add, “That is, until the Beastie Boys told them they weren’t allowed to use their song.” This she wanted to hear all about.

The recent story is over this awesome commercial.

The clever spot captured the spirit of parents and kids alike going viral immediately. The only problem is they never paid, nor even asked the Beastie Boys for the usage of their hit. Perhaps they knew the answer would be “no” since Adam Yauch clearly stipulated in his will that his songs could never be allowed for commercial use. This was gratifying news to fans, sparing us the inevitable Fisher-Price froggy training toilet singing “Fight for your right to Potty!”

The remaining Beasties had their legal team question the company’s use of their song. The young company fearing the repercussions their new fame caused, drew legal first blood suing the Beastie Boys. The band then accused the company of copyright infringement and GoldieBlox conceded . They announced their intentions were never to tuss with the legends and changed their commercial to feature non-Beastie, ineffective music.

The surviving band members did what any artist and friend would do. However, from everything I know about the rapper turned activist, if Adam Yauch were alive, I believe he would make an exception for this one. Hear me out.

My daughter could take comfort knowing that MCA, unlike so many fame-seeking artists, used the wealth and clout earned in his youth to make change as he matured. He was an activist for Tibet, among other political causes. He married, signed the all-girl punk band Luscious Jackson, had a daughter, and the once bad-boy rapper was one of the first to demand the hip-hop culture change its misogynistic ways.  His lyrics then stated:

“I want to say a little something that’s long overdue / The disrespect to women has to got to be through / To all the mothers and sisters and the wives and friends / I want to offer my love and respect till the end

I should explain to my wise, outspoken daughter, who I’m constantly proud of, that boys are dumb. Dumb boys think it’s fun to tease girls and treat them as inferiors. But, really, boys wish to love and respect women. Yet we are intimidated by the grace and strength and compassion girls have for us silly boys. When boys mature (though some never do) we wish to make amends. We want our daughters to be strong, independent leaders.

It’s a tragedy MCA/Adam Yauch didn’t live longer to give us more music. It’s more tragic to think of all the changes he would have led us to if cancer hadn’t stopped his climb.

In the end of the GoldieBlox feud, I think everybody won. The Beasties upheld the group’s commitment to never selling out. And a young company trying to make a splash broke a bunch of rules and got their message heard by millions. I wonder if the fact that the ad is still on Youtube means Adam Horovitz and Michael Diamond agree with me. They did release this open letter in the heat of the feud:

“we were very impressed by the creativity and the message behind your ad. We strongly support empowering young girls, breaking down gender stereotypes and igniting a passion for technology and engineering.As creative as it is, make no mistake, your video is an advertisement that is designed to sell a product, and long ago, we made a conscious decision not to permit our music and/or name to be used in product ads. When we tried to simply ask how and why our song “Girls” had been used in your ad without our permission,YOU sued US.”

My music-making friends would disagree that Yauch would ever approve of blatant thievery. But it should be noted the Beasties’ second album Paul’s Boutique is considered to contain the most amount of illegal samples in music history prompting lawsuits and copyright changes by the industry.  It is also hailed by critics as one of the greatest, groundbreaking hip-hop albums of all time. It seems you gotta fight and steal afterall.

MCA also known to say –“Well I got to keep it going keep it going full steam/ Too sweet to be sour too nice to be mean/ On the tough guy style I’m not too keen/ To try to change the world I will plot and scheme”- Intergalactic 1998

“If you can feel what I’m feeling then it’s a musical masterpiece/ If you can hear what I’m dealing with then that’s cool at least/ What’s running through my mind comes through in my walk/ True feelings are shown from the way that I talk” Pass the Mic 1992

Here’s a great link I found from Jessica Valenti after his death in 2012 http://www.thenation.com/blog/167768/mcas-feminist-legacy#

Another good one – http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/music_blog/2012/05/an-appreciation-age-wisdom-tamed-beastie-boy-adam-yauch.html

mcaquote

Santa’s little tattler, The Elf on the Shelf, causes fear in all of us.  Last year I announced to my friends online that I was going to take care of the creepy, peeping rat in Goodfellas style.

elfonshelf

For those not familiar with the leering imp, let me alert you. In case the age-old Santa lie wasn’t enough to trick kids into behaving, there is a real representation; a weird doll to sit in their room and watch them for Godfather Clause. When your child is asleep, the “scout” reports back to the North Pole. Parents move the doll to a different place each night to perpetuate the figment. Oh, and if your kids think he’s cute or a fun toy, it should be known that no playing with, nor even touching the doll, is allowed.  I’m not sure why. Since his creation in 2011, he has been a very popular tool for deceiving and threatening our kids over the holidays.

True story: the day after I posted my plan to make Elf go bye-bye, the Elf was gone and could not be found. Be careful what you joke about online. I was framed! I had nothing to do with his disappearance, I swear! My wife and kids never prosecuted, but I could feel their judging eyes throughout the holiday season.

I was not absolved until he turned up in our recent garage sale. Wasn’t me.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but according to the plot of Double Jeopardy, I think I can now go Badass Ashley Judd and take Elf out legally.

elf revenge(found this pic online. Not anyone I know, but enough proof for me.)

Well, it turns out my wife rendered Chucky’s holiday rival powerless before I could this year. As I was sharpening my knives for the stuffy dismembering, the kids broke the news that Mom spoiled the greatest ongoing conspiracy known to man. Aliens, WMDs, and dead Elvis got nothing on Santa, but no longer in this family. Ironically, my wife who is Christian, grew up knowing Santa was a lie while I, growing up Jewish, was raised to believe in the jolly stalker. I was looking forward to sharing that magical deception with my kids.

However with our first child, my wife, being the nice and always right parent, never wanted to deceive our daughter about Santa. Though I agreed a myth should not get credit for the things I worked hard to buy, I still wanted our younger boys to have the fun I grew up with. They believed it for 6 good years, which beats my wife’s previous record for keeping a secret – 3 hours.

It turns out that she cracked under interrogation this year and the Santa cover-up is now over. The Elf on the Shelf’s disappearance from last year, however, still remains a mystery. I only know none of us banished him to the garage. Perhaps he really did have the power to move himself until we stopped believing in him. Please don’t clap your hands to bring him back.

So, what do I do now? No Halloween candy left for bribing. No naughty list to use as blackmail. I suppose I’ll have to read one of those discipline books I’ve been receiving for Christmaskkah all these years.

Wait, there is another hope.

 

 

 

grandmataped

Dreading a holiday visit from your parents? Your parents who now reap vengeance by spoiling your children with noisy gifts and toxic amounts of sugar while questioning your parenting of your loud and wild children? Then read on, this is your defense lesson.

I’m ok posting this since my parents, who are suddenly experts on raising encouraged kids, have yet to subscribe to my blog. And I’m done blaming them for all my shortcomings now that I have bigger kids to fry. I mean fish, not kids.

Since I have a blog, it seems I should offer helpful advice every once in a while. Let’s solicit some expert opinions on this age-old conflict with our loving, helpful, monstrous parents turned grandparents.

In my past 11 holidays as a Dad here’s how I would usually cope with the “it’s none of my business, but…” parenting tips.

  1. Drink Alcohol and watch sports nodding and shrugging periodically
  2. Blare Rage against the Machine                         
  3. Repeat steps 1-2 increasing the volume until they leave.

I see now these are not the healthiest tips.  Experts?

This is best one I found -http://www.empoweringparents.com/grandparents-and-parents-disagreeing-11-tips-for-both-of-you.php –I’ll give you my edited highlights if you’re too busy cleaning the house for their visit or, at least, pretending you are cleaning for your wife. I edited out the tips for the grandparents assuming they will need you to teach them how to use your computer and it’s not worth it. Click the link for complete list.

“1. Assume the best. If you’re a parent whose feeling like the grandparents have been stepping on your toes, start by trying to assume that they have the best intentions. Help them feel included, important and needed.

2. Don’t criticize. Focusing on the positive will do wonders for your relationship.

3. If a boundary is crossed- If a grandparent says something to the grandkids like, “Your parents don’t know what they’re doing,” or “I would never do it this way,” or to the parents, “C’mon, give them a break, you’re too strict with them,” they’re stepping over a boundary. If they’re openly saying to the parent, “I think you should do it differently,” or “This is how I would do it,” without being asked, they are also showing a lack of respect for your rules and ideas. That’s when you have to make sure, as a parent, that you are clearly stating your boundaries.  And the slogan you can say to yourself is, “This is about them, not about me.”

6. Support your mate: Support your mate when it comes to parenting. You might have to tell your own parents to back off a bit and that they are intruding. While it’s important to get this point across, be sure to never make them feel like a burden. Communicate boundaries, but find ways to make grandparents also feel respected, honored and wanted. Both of you can decide what the boundaries are for you as a couple. Clear up your issues together first, make sure you’re not working this out in front of the grandparents or making them uncomfortable. Then communicate what you need or expect.

Related: How to get on the same parenting page with your spouse.

7. Define yourself and your role. Be clear, honest and thoughtful about what you will and won’t do as a grandparent. Some grandparents feel they have already done the job of raising kids and don’t want to be called to babysit or be at every event. Others long for the invitation. Know what you are willing to do and not do and make this very clear. Communicating honestly will prevent difficult feelings down the road. If you live close by, are you willing to be called to pick up or drop off kids, babysit, called at the last minute, watch sports events? How often? Being clear about your role is better for everyone involved.

8. Unresolved issues. Parents, if the role that you’ve played all your life in your family is no longer working, change it. Don’t spill your unresolved issues onto the next generation; work out the differences that are still affecting you. Recognize that it might be your own insecurity as a parent causing you to hear helpful advice or suggestions from the grandparents as criticism. If necessary, guide them to better ways of making suggestions that won’t leave you feeling undermined or criticized.

11. Work to make it work. Most importantly, work to make this work. Parents need their parents, grandparents need their children and grandkids. This relationship is enriching for all and doesn’t last forever. Whether you live close or far away, make sure you find ways to make everyone a part of each other’s lives.”

If none of those work you can always passively aggressively blog about them. Or feel free to post mine.

Here’s more helpful links selected from searching way too many Mom blogs. Is it possible for someone to choke on excessive exclamation points? Again, if you’re supposed to be cleaning or cooking or drinking in anticipation of their visit, they all say set boundaries, communicate, and stay positive. Yeah, I know. They don’t know our parents. Good luck. Remember it’s a vicious cycle and their parents were worse. Just be thankful they don’t live with you. Yet.

http://www.parents.com/parenting/dynamics/grandparents/how-to-deal-with-your-pushy-parents/

http://life.familyeducation.com/in-laws/family/48061.html?page=2&detoured=1

http://www.whattoexpect.com/toddler/ask-heidi/when-grandparents-spoil-your-little-one.aspx

dadcoffee

In an effort to control the population, I submit a typical morning with kids:

7am- I awaken to the sounds of high-pitched screaming from the kitchen. I realize it is not a cause for alarm it is just one of my children enjoying their favorite hobby- loud shrieking for no reason (in rhythm similar to a car alarm. And if your car alarm was a cat having it’s tailed pulled repeatedly).

7:05- The other child joins in with the high-pitched staccato screaming for no reason. I futilely cover my head with pillows.

7:06- My wife comes into the room and blasts the light on to get dressed. I finally yell to the kids, “stop screaming!” and bury my head back in the pillows.

7:08- Youngest child stops screaming and jumps into bed with me. He hides under the covers touching his icy-cold feet to my warm legs and shouts, “Mom can we play hide-and-seek?” Surely my wife will defend my few precious minutes of peaceful rest. She disappoints me with her response, “Sure, honey! I’ll count to 20. 1…2…3…4…5…6…”

7:09- I leap out of bed, “20! Get out of my room!” Wife replies, “Well, it’s time to get up anyway. Don’t yell at the children. Oh, and after school the kids have a party at the skate rink if you can take them.”

7:10- Muttering to myself, I stumble into the kitchen and discover why I still love the mother of my children- because she makes coffee every morning. I there find my alarm clock, the middle child. He is high pitched screaming as he plays video games on my phone which now has less energy than I do.

7:12- Coffee in hand, I read over the permission slip for the “Skate Party!!!” If I can make it through the morning, I can look forward to 2 hours of mobs of squealing kids not being able to get skates on, not being able to skate, and then pleading for money for video games, money for snacks, candy machines and prizes they don’t have enough tickets for. Ugh.

7:18- I demand my phone back from the child playing games on it and tell him to get dressed for school.

7:20 – I actually get my phone back from child.

7:22- Instead of getting dressed the one child starts playing with a balloon and smashing it into the other child.

7:23- Other child retaliates from balloon attacks using a pillow. Both beat each other while shrieking wildly.

7:25- wife shouts, “Bye!” to all on her escape out the door. She gets in one last, “Don’t yell at them, honey.” before she abandons me with the loud mayhem.

7:26- I realize the time and yell at them, “GET DREEEESSED!” There are a few last hits and panicked scrambling by all.

7:30- It is time to go to school and none are dressed, fed, teeth brushed, nor happy.

7:36- Somehow kids achieve some of the aforementioned things ( half-assed) and we make it out the door for school. All are exhausted before the long day begins.

Stay tuned for my second installment towards pitching birth control – “The Skate Party!!!”