Monday, June 06, 2005


You know you’ve turned into your dad when you hear yourself uttering the following phrases with absolutely no forethought:
  • "I don’t care who started it. I’m ending it."
  • "I’m your father, and I said so."
  • "No, you can’t use your brother’s head as first base without his consent."

However, you know you’re fully entrenched in parenthood when you hear the following phrase leak from your lips: "Okay, Jack, don’t put your foot in the toilet anymore. Okay?" This is further underscored by the fact you uttered these words in a very matter-of-fact voice – no venting of frustration, no exasperated tone – just as if you’re asking the pimple-faced clerk at Albertson’s where the non-fat milk is located.

Let’s analyze these sentences for a moment. The first word uttered is "okay": this would signify a direct and unmitigated acceptance of what just took place. Next, the verb "put" is used – not "jam", "dunk", "stick", "shove", etc. – which is an innocuous way of addressing the action. There’s not surprise or fear of imminent danger associated with the word "put". One "puts" socks in a drawer, keys in a pocket, tires on a car, etc.

Obviously, the words "toilet" and "anymore" should never be used in a sentence side by side. Consider the possibilities: "Frank won’t use the toilet anymore." "Frank doesn’t flush the toilet anymore." Ouch!

The final word is "okay" again. This would signify that you’re making some type of reasonable bargain. In a reasonable bargain, generally reasonable actions have preceded the pact. In some strange parental way, by use of "okay" at the end of the discussion, one has either implicitly or explicitly accepted these events as normal.

Just remember: Parenthood is an exploration of the many grades and variations of normal.

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