Over the last 15 months, I’ve discovered a secret about parenting… nay… THE secret of parenting. Lean in close, so I can whisper it into your eyes: parenting is a competition, and it’s every soccer mom and super dad for themselves. I say we stop with the pseudo-compliments and just get right to it, Roman style, via a series of carefully curated events. Events that will weed out the willing from the weak, the powerful from the pathetic, the ingenuitive from the incapable. I present to you, The Parenting Olympics.
For our first event, please grab your stroller and line up at the starting line. A $1200 stroller does not a good parent make, but rather how you manage a stroller, one-handed (because you are obviously holding your child), while navigating through the crammed sale racks at your local discount retailer at Christmas time, 1 hour past your toddler’s nap time, while your blood sugar dips dangerously low, now THAT is worthy of praise. So line up, give your kid their least favorite sippy cup so they are agitated, and get from Housewares to Hosiery without knocking the faux fur sweater vest from the otherwise naked, severely emaciated mannequin. Extra points if you come out on the other side with both baby shoes and the paci.
Next up we have the Grab and Haul. As we all know, taking the babe out for even the simplest of errands requires no less than 16 things when it’s all said and done. So for our next event, we will give each toddler 30 seconds to collect as many things as they deem necessary for a jaunt out for milk, then you will have to pick them up, locate your car keys, wallet and phone, grab the diaper bag and the reusable grocery bag, exit the house, and get them into the car without forgetting anything, or letting anything hit the ground. Now, go get your milk, come home and bring everything back inside PLUS the box that showed up on your doorstep. Extra points if you don’t strain a muscle in your shoulder, or let the door slam on tiny fingers silently investigating the hinge. Extra extra points if you remember to put the milk in the fridge.
Our third event is all about speed and dexterity. It’s a triathlon that will test your patience, persistence and ingenuity. On paper it’s a seemingly simple set of tasks, but in practice it can drive even the most patient of people to drivel and maybe even drink. For round three I will ask you to remove the laundry (you know, the load you washed last week?) from your dryer, fold it, put it away, and load the dishwasher. This all must be done while the child is awake, and free to roam. Because we aren’t famous rich people, the laundry folding station must be your couch, and because we aren’t famous rich people, and we rent, your kitchen can’t have a baby gate or effective child-proofing locks on your cabinetry. Points are docked for every time you raise your voice in frustration as the child knocks over a stack of folded clothes or rips a handful of folded clothes out of their drawer and spreads them willy-freaking-nilly around the house. Double points are docked for every time your child removes a dirty knife from the dishwasher and chases your cat.
The fourth and final event of our series is a combination of our three previous events. It’s truly a measure of an Olympic Gold Medal Parent. For this event, I will ask that you take your child out for an outing that requires driving at least 15 minutes away from your house. The outing must be timed where, upon its termination, the child will need to go down for a nap in precisely 20 minutes, leaving you a generous 5 minutes of wiggle room. When the timer hits zero, you must extract your child from the outing of your choosing (read: the most fun your child has ever had, and whole-heartedly believes they will ever have again), navigate your way to the car, buckle them into their car seat while they do their best impersonation of a rodeo king/queen, exit the parking garage that was obviously built exclusively for smart cars without hitting anything, then make it home WITHOUT letting the exhausted child fall asleep. You will be disqualified for disobeying traffic laws, cussing out loud at the trash truck who is blocking THE WHOLE STREET, or getting into an accident. Extra points will be given if you turn this into a “teachable moment” by choosing to sing the ABC’s in a volume appropriate for a Death Metal concert, but a tone that would charm a little baby lamb.
So there you have it. The Parenting Olympics. Got any ideas for next years events? I’d love to hear ’em!
Naomi Watts: http://cdn04.cdn.justjared.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/watts-hands/naomi-watts-has-her-hands-full-03.jpg
Pet Sematary: https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/_yzXc2oxZKh4/TU–WgrVIdI/AAAAAAAAAPY/038-Fq4TF4A/pet-sematary-remake-1.jpg
Car singing: http://rixbury.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Screen-Shot-2014-03-13-at-9.56.28-PM.png