Bill is an advertising copywriter living in Niagara Falls, New York with his wife, Jenn, and 2-year old daughter, Katie. He still finds it shocking that the universe has entrusted him with the fate of another living thing.
It’s not just okay to have a sense of humor about parenthood – it’s downright necessary for your long-term sanity. Particularly for those of us sporting the Y chromosome. This whole situation is surreal enough. Take away our basic instinct to mock what we don’t understand and, well, you’re just being mean-spirited.
Now, we all know those super-parent types who take themselves very seriously. The ones who believe they have a parenting pipeline directly from heaven itself. Sadly, they are ruining it for the rest of us who cope by finding borderline inappropriate humor in challenging situations.
I’ll use my own experience as an example. You should probably know that I’m a smart-ass from way back. So when my daughter, Katie, was born two and a half years ago, there really was no chance for me to play it straight.
For instance, when Katie was a newborn, she would attack her bottle like a ravenous lion pouncing on a defenseless zebra. Hence, I dubbed her Discovery Channel Baby. Most people found that quite entertaining. Yet there were always a few poop faces (if I may use the children’s vernacular) who would hit me with, “Oh, that’s terrible” accompanied by a look that suggested they actually just got a major whiff of excrement. Yeah, well here’s my rebuttal: That’s not terrible. It’s really funny. And it helps me deal with the fact that a living thing has suddenly moved into my home and is depending on my wife and me to keep it alive.
This situation has only become more complicated over time. You see, when Katie got older, she was quite large for her age. Not freakishly so. Nothing glandular that indicated a life in carnivals might be on the horizon. But she did have a tendency to barrel through anything in her path, pounding her meaty thighs as she went. So, naturally, I took to calling her Kate Kong. Again, this metaphor drew mostly rave reviews. Except for the aforementioned excrement smellers and their crinkled up noses.
Fast forward to just last week, when she needed steroids to help her battle the croup (which, by the way, is perhaps the most unpleasant sounding word in all the land). My young seedling developed a slight case of ‘roid rage, which compelled her to run around in circles and lift heavy objects menacingly over her head. This, of course, led me to refer to my child as Baby Bonds. I’m sure you can see where this is going. The fun police shot that one down on sight.
Here’s the thing that I don’t think Mr. and Mrs. McSerious are stopping to consider: I actually love my kid. A lot. And, I would never say anything out of malice to or about her. I will never belittle her or do anything to damage her self-esteem. I’d throw myself in front of a moving train to save her (not sure that will ever come up, but still). And in 13 years or so I will be taking martial arts classes so that I have the ability to destroy any suitors who might ever do her harm.
The fact that I make the occasional quip is better for all of us. It allows my wife and I to relieve the tension of being new parents, and one day Katie will grow up with an appreciation for the humor in life. That, I will not apologize for. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go spend some time with my little angel, and try to get her to say “big truck.” Why, you ask? ‘Cuz her “tr” comes out like “f” and I REALLY want to get it on video.
In his next article Bill will be delving into the remarkable transformation of his own father – from the tough guy authority figure of his childhood to the puddle of sweetness he has somehow become as a grandfather.
This column is for all parents even if they have two X chromosomes!