I remember back before I had kids, when I first found out my wife was pregnant, I had plans for what type of parent I was going to be. I remembered the mistakes my parents and my friends with kids had made and I was going to do it better. Gone were the bad habits, and the tricks parents used to not really engage their kids. I was going to do it right, and I wasn't alone. My childless friends felt as I did. We knew how to do it better.
Now that it is four, almost five years later, let me tell you, I was wrong. I was very, very wrong. It didn't take me four years to realize this, it just took me four years to have enough free time to write it down.
My children will eat what I cook. I will teach my children to appreciate fine cuisine. They will have expansive palates and enjoy trying new things.
Please eat. I don't care what. We've been sitting at this table for over an hour. Please eat something. I long ago gave up on making exciting new dishes. Now I make whatever the kids want if it will just make them eat. Hot Dogs and Pop-tarts for every meal? Fine. Just please eat.
My children won't be lied to. I'm won't to lie to them, I'll be honest with them. I'll tell them how things work and won't dumb things down for them. Knowledge is power, I want them to have it.
I lie every day. Why can't we go to McDonalds? It's closed. Can I have a snack? No, it's almost dinner time (in four hours). Can I play with your iPhone? The battery is dead (or I want to play on it). Why? Because I said so. Sometimes a quick lie will save hours of arguments and explanations. Sometimes one lie will get me an hour of quiet, and it's worth it.
My children won't eat fast food. The food served to my kids will be organic and healthy. We will take the time to cook good foods and my children will not become part of the raging obesity epidemic sweeping the nation.
Unless you're planning on coming over here to cook, I don't want to hear it. Also, read number one.
My children won't destroy my things. I won't allow them to act like the ruffians I see at playgrounds. My children will know better and will not break things. They will respect their own as well as other people's property.
The kids break everything they touch. If they can get near it, they can break it. The only things I have left are those that I keep on high shelves. For example, my mom bought my kids a snow globe. The girls loved it. They also broke it in less than an hour.
TV will be limited. My children will learn to play outside and the amount of time they spend watching TV, playing video games, and entranced by other such electronic devices will be very limited. Their imaginations will be their entertainment, fostering their growing creativity.
As we watch "Frozen" for the 1,000th time, I have to admit that I let this one get away from me. Sometimes if the kids are fighting and I turn on the TV, I can get five minutes of quiet. FIVE uninterrupted minutes of quiet! When we travel, the iPad is a must-have item. But some good has come from this, my daughter uses a few learning apps that have been great for her (she's reading at four!).
My children will respect and listen to me. I will teach my children about listening to and respecting adults. My children will not talk back or scream like those hooligans I saw at the store crying and acting out despite what their mother said. All because she didn't give them some trinket they wanted.
The other day I gave a long speech about responsibility and listening. I talked about good behavior and not being naughty. I was talking to the cat and I think got further than when I gave the same speech to the kids. When I am less than a foot away, they claim they can't hear me. Excuses like that make me wonder if they're dense, or just think I am.
My children will keep my house clean. From birth I will teach my children to put things away so that they will be responsible for their belongings. I am not a maid and won't clean up after them.
Yeah, I was dumb.
This article was previously published on kzoodad.com