Five Ways My Kids Are Going To Get Me Killed in the Zombie Apocalypse

In the post-apocalyptic world, children are a death sentence.

“Wait”, you say shaking your head in confusion, “won’t children become even more important after the apocalypse?  Won’t we need them to propagate the species?”.

Nice thought, but the truth is just the reverse.  Look at the average behavior of any child under the age of six and it won’t take long for you to figure it out – the children aren’t going to save us.  They’re going to doom us.

Still don’t believe me?  Here’s the five things my kids do RIGHT NOW that I just know will get my ass killed when the undead come for us:

  1. They don’t listen –  I shouldn’t even have to mention this.  Have you ever met a child who listened?  Every single request or demand that I make of them is met with either negotiation, refusal, or outright tantrum.  That’s going to go real well when there’s a horde of walkers on our trails and I can’t get them to shut their mouths and hide because they just don’t feel like it.  That means I’m going to end up having to cause a major distraction to get the ravenous horde to follow me away from them.  That’s dead daddy 1.
  2. They’re pack rats – A key to survival is traveling fast and light.  You shouldn’t be carrying anything on you that isn’t a weapon, provision, or other item absolutely essential to survival.  Guess what – the damn Paw Patrol collection isn’t essential.  Nor are the five hundred different leaves that my eldest would be picking up for his nature collection while we’re trying to survive on the outside.  Ravenous horde comes, and they’re too busy picking up all the damn legos to make a run for it.  Oh, and God save us all if I try to leave “Blankie” behind!  Once again, I’ll have to be a distraction, one that will most likely get ingested quickly.  I just hope those zombie bastards lose some toes on the legos I’m going to be dropping in front of them.  Dead daddy 2.
  3. They eat all my food – I can’t come home for lunch without a roundbottomed-little four year old coming up to me, sweet little smile on his face, and asking, “can I sit with you?”.  Who can say no to that?  Next thing I know, he’s on my lap, gnawing away at the Jimmy Johns sandwich I had been salivating over all morning.  The same will no doubt hold true once we’re on the run.  What meager food we have will undoubtedly go to the children first, because I’m not a monster.  Of course, being so weak from hunger isn’t going to help me when I have to lead another horde off while little man finishes snacking off my portion.  Dead daddy 3.
  4. They loud as hell – The one thing every parent craves in life is quiet.  This is heartbreaking because that’s the one thing they will never get.  I’m not even talking about the loud toys, guitars, or drum sets your parents buy them just to torture you.  The children themselves are  sources of noise.  They scream, they cry, they NEVER STOP TALKING.  Not exactly helpful when you’re trying to hide from a mob of flesh eaters that respond to the slightest noise.  Cue another distraction, cue another dead daddy – the fourth.
  5. The wife likes them better – You’ve probably been asking yourself how exactly they’re supposed to survive on their own with me running off as a distraction all the time.  Well, that’s where Mommy comes in.  You see, it’s not that they won’t listen or be quiet, or share food.  They just won’t do it until Mom yells at them to do so.  By that point, it’s too late and I have to run off as the distraction.  Because she told me to.  She ain’t going to risk the kids.  She put a lot of effort into bringing them into the world.  Nope, I’m the expendable one.  Till death do we part, which won’t take long once my starving, lego-packing ass starts shouting for the flesh eaters to come after me so that she can run off with the kids and find a new daddy for them, one that actually knows how to survive in this world.  He’ll probably be a Cynthiana Sheriff’s Deputy.  Small consolation for dead daddy the fifth.

I know it sounds heartless, like I’d actually be willing to sacrifice them to save myself.  Well, I wouldn’t, and that’s the biggest reason I’m going to get killed.  I’ve grown awfully fond of the little tyros, so I’d do whatever it takes to ensure their survival.  It will be the most noble sacrifice I can think of to make, giving up my life for the children I love.  Just so long as they don’t end up becoming little Carl Grimeses……

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Building a Better Future

We live in a world of our own making.  What we’re experiencing right now, our present, is defined by what we choose to believe and what we choose to do with those beliefs from second to second.   Turning on the news, watching the tragedies that have unfolded and are unfolding as you read this, it’s a sobering realization that we, all of us, are responsible for the state of things.  We’re responsible either due to our action or inaction.

I’m not saying there’s not plenty of good out there.  Of course there is.  Like Mr. Rogers said, all you  need to do is look for the people who are helping.  There’s way too much bad, though.  So much bad that it’s perfectly natural to ask that age-old question, “who would ever want to bring a child into this world?”.

I think the children are going to be the only thing that save us.

We may define the present, but they will define the future.  It’s not an original sympathy, I know.  The piece I think we tend to overlook, though, is that we also have a hand in defining that future, most importantly what will come after we’re gone.  When all of the decisions are left to the adults we brought into the world as children.  Maybe you feel powerless right now.  Maybe you feel like there’s nothing you can do to make the world a better place.  That feeling couldn’t be any further from the truth.

If you’re raising a child, teaching a child, or influencing a child, you’re influencing the future already.  You’re building their world and the way they see it.  With every smile, frown, laugh, scream, hug, or punishment, you’re teaching them the rules of the world, what it takes to get along in it.  You’re showing them who they should trust, who they should fear, what they should do and what they should avoid.  They’re watching everything you do and absorbing it to build their own identity and world view.

So why can’t we show them something better?

I have two small children, 4 and 5 years old.  One neurotypical, and one on the autism spectrum.  They both came into the world blank slates.  As they’ve grown I’ve noticed something very important and beautiful about them – they don’t judge.  They came into this world with no preconceptions and completely open hearts.  My youngest will go up to anyone, and I mean absolutely ANYONE.  Sometimes that scares the hell out of me, because I obviously have concerns that he may come across someone who may not mean him well.  That’s why I watch him like a hawk when we’re out and about.  Still, I love the fact that all he wants to do is get to know people.  To be friends with them.   As an introvert, I have no idea where that comes from.  Must be his mother.

As for my other son, the autistic one?  He’s takes it to the next level.  He doesn’t just want to meet everyone.  He wants to HUG everyone.  This surprised the hell out of me at first.  Common wisdom would say that as someone on the spectrum, he would withdraw from others, live in his own little world.  Well, if you’ve met one autistic kid, you’ve met one autistic kid.  This child is anything but anti-social, especially when first meeting someone.

Case in point, his mother and grandmother had him and his brother out at the park one day.  They were walking along a path surrounding a huge water fountain when they came across a black gentleman sitting on a bench, staring at the water.  From what my wife told me, she had noticed him and had thought to herself that he appeared to be very depressed, with a far away look in his eye.  As they were walking by, my boy noticed him and wriggled his hand out of his mother’s.  Before she could stop him, he ran up to the man, smiled, gave his customary greeting (“Hello there!”) and started hugging him.  The man responded with tears in his eyes and a smile on his face.  When my wife came up to them,  he looked at her and said, “he just made my day.”

Our kids come into the world as blank slates, with no preconceptions or prejudices.  Both my boys have taught me that, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the most important thing I will ever do, the best way that I can contribute something positive to the world, is to not screw that up.

It’s the best thing we can all do.  We can swallow our pride, let go of our animosity, and help them hold on to those open hearts.   There are those that will say that is a hopeless proposition, that the realities of the world will beat them down and make them hard.  I say, only if we let them.  Only if we cling so tight to our own worldviews that we shout instead of listen, argue instead of reason, fight instead of love.  Both with our children and with others.

There is one lesson that I pray I’ll be able to impart to my children.  One lesson that covers everything they need to know about how to interact with the world and the people who populate it.  It’s a wisdom that transcends every nationality, creed, or ethnicity.  One that can be found in just about every system of belief in one form or another:

“Treat others the way you want to be treated”.

If we do that, if they see us do that, then they won’t be learning something new.  It will just reinforce that natural instinct they came into the world with.

We all have reasons for believing what we believe, acting the way we act.  We have reasons for how we treat people.   Whether someone would define those as “good” reasons or “bad” reasons depends entirely on what that person experienced during the course of his or her life.  Those experiences in large part were overseen by their parents, but you can’t just put the responsibility on them alone.  Every person they came into contact with  influenced them in some way big or small.  The people who make the most impact are the ones who reach out with an open hand to lift us, or those who choose to knock us down with a closed one.  In this way, these people build the future.

So which one will you be?

Which future do you want your children to build?

 

Keep Staring

I see them when we’re out and about.  Those people who can’t help but stare at my boy.

It starts almost the moment they become aware of him.  He’s easy to notice.  It doesn’t matter if he’s happy, excited, scared, or upset.  They can’t help but notice him.  If he’s happy or excited, they’ll see him hopping up or down, waving his arms, flapping his fingers.  It’s like he has so much feeling  inside him that he’ll explode if he doesn’t let it out.

The same holds especially true when he’s scared or upset.

Those times are worse.  Those times when he’s throwing himself to the ground, tears streaming down his face, screaming his heart out. Every limb is flailing, lashing out at me as I try to calm him.  That’s when all eyes are really drawn to him.  That’s when I see the heads shake, sometimes in pity, other times in disapproval.  In that single moment, I can almost hear them:

“What’s wrong with that kid?”.

“Why can’t he control him?”.

“That boy needs a good spanking!”.

“Thank God my kid’s not like that!”.

That’s when I want to stand up and shout to them the one thing I so desperately want them to hear:

“Keep staring.”

I want them to keep staring.  I want them to see that this is only a moment, an exception rather than the rule.   I want them to keep watching for what happens after he calms down.  I want them to see the sweet, happy little boy who has given my life new meaning.  The boy that loves music and Minions and Disney and any scrap of nature that he can get his hands on.  The boy who makes everyone smile when he greets them with, “Hello, Baby!”.

I want them to see the boy who does his best Flashdance impression when something excites him so much that he just has to dance, the same boy that stops dead in his tracks when he’s walking through the water tunnel at the aquarium, completely mesmerized by the sights before his eyes.

I want them to keep staring, because if they take the time to watch him long enough, to see what happens after actually get to know him a little, then they won’t be able to help falling in as much love with him as anyone else who’s really gotten to know him. His family.  His teachers.  The lonely man at the park he saw crying.  The same one he ran up and gave a hug to before we could stop him, who thanked him so much for turning his entire day around.

The boy who will give anyone a chance.

That’s who my boy is.  Not the “weird kid” who can’t control his arms and hands.  Not the “spoiled brat” having a meltdown in the middle of the store.  The boy who’s just like any other boy in that he has good moments and bad, and the bad ones don’t tend to last that long.  The boy who’s got an infinite amount of love and kindness in his heart to spare.

That’s what I want to tell them.  The people staring, shaking their heads, judging.  I don’t, though.  I don’t because if my boy is that upset, or scared, or having that bad a day, then I have something much more important to focus on.  Him.

In the end, he’s all that matters.  Not those who would snicker, or judge, or roll their eyes.  Not those who don’t know any better.  You see, my boy has taught me quite a bit since he came into my world, and the most important thing he taught me is this – don’t judge a person based on one bad moment.  Those moments are just snapshots.  They don’t give you the whole picture.

So they can just go on and keep staring, if they like.  Given enough time, they’ll see the whole picture; a picture of a boy who has been burdened with physical and mental challenges most couldn’t dream of.  A boy who doesn’t let those same challenges stop him from reaching out and making the world a better place for every person whose life he touches.

If he can do that, we can all do that.

Just watch.

 

 

Bend It Like Roundbottom

Fun fact:  soccer games for the 3 to 6-year-old league are a lot closer to rugby than European football.  It’s  a swirling mass of little bodies in a desperate contest to take the ball from everyone in the throng, whether they be on the same team or not.

Except for my kid.  He’s usually on the other side of the field, trying to chat it up with any females who happen to be sitting on the sidelines, regardless of age.  Y’know, when he’s NOT crouching and hopping like a frog.

At first, I viewed signing Roundbottom up for soccer as a good way to provide him with some exercise and the chance to socialize with other kids.  He’s usually home alone all day with Mommy or Grammy and the only real interaction he gets is with his older brother.  This is the same older brother who more often than not tends to ignore him completely  until such point as little bro makes the mistake of trying to steal away with items that are clearly marked “property of Cray-Cray”.

Better yet, it was also a chance to spend more quality bonding time with Uncle Studly,  who actually knows and enjoys the various pass-times known as “sports”, which I generally view as simply “torture with uniforms”.  Uncle Studly has played every sport under the sun, and has a special love for soccer, which he excelled at in college.  So taking that all into account, we signed Roundbottom up for this exciting new adventure.  Just one small problem:

He’s three, and he’s Roundbottom.

I don’t know what made me think that he would actually engage in something as structured and focus-demanding as soccer.  I don’t know what made me think that he would listen to a coach when I can’t even get him to listen to me (though I must admit, it does make me feel a little better knowing that I’m not the only authority figure he chooses to ignore).  He seemed excited when we told him he was going to play, though I probably should have taken his response at the announcement as an indicator that his intentions and ours didn’t exactly line up.  You see, when we told him he would be playing soccer, he had only one response:

“I talk to girls?”

Yeah.  He’s three, and already more girl crazy than I can ever remember being.

So here, two weeks into the season, are the biggest takeaways from Roundbottom’s burgeoning soccer career:

  1. He doesn’t quite grasp the concept that soccer is a hands-free game, both in regards to the ball and the other players he keeps trying to hug in the middle of playing
  2. Much like Gimli the Dwarf in “The Lord of the Rings”, his small and stocky stature make him a dangerous sprinter, lethal over short distances.  Of course, after such strenuous exertion, a rest is in order.  This usually takes place wherever he decides to collapse on the field.  No worries.  The other kids can play around him.
  3. He knows no allegiance but his own.  Just because someone happens to be wearing the same shirt as him, doesn’t mean he feels any sense of loyalty to them.  At first I tried to tell myself that he kept following the opposite team to the sideline in an effort to infiltrate, not defect.  Yeah, that doesn’t appear to be the case.
  4. Goal nets are fun to stick your face in.
  5. Directions from myself, his uncle, and his coach are not actually instructions so much as suggestions.  Really, really stupid suggestions.
  6. Gatorade and snacks at the end of the game are 90% of the reason he shows up.
  7. Introducing himself to attractive soccer moms is the other 10%.
  8. He’ll only kick and chase after the ball if it will get his uncle and I to shut up.
  9. Tag is more fun than soccer.
  10. I’m usually more exhausted after a game than he is.

Trying to reign the child in during these games is a monumental task, one my brother and I in unison are just barely equipped for.  I have no doubt whatsoever that every other parent in this league knows my child’s name, simply due to the number of times we scream it during the course of a typical game.

Lord knows I try to take it in stride.  I’m constantly trying to remind myself that he’s only three, is playing on a team with kids who all appear to be nearly twice as old as him, and that he doesn’t come by focus and determination naturally.  I really couldn’t care less what he does to be honest, as long as he doesn’t tackle another kid to the ground or keep trying to throw a ball in from the sidelines while there’s play going on.  My brother, on the other hand, is a different story.

The first game, we actually reached a point where Uncle Studly was pacing, muttering something I couldn’t hear under his breath, and looking as if he’s just lost a $500.00 bet on the Super Bowl.   While I couldn’t care less about sports, they’ve been a huge part of my brother’s life since almost day one.  He had a sparkle in his eye when I told him Roundbottom was going to be playing,  looking forward to the opportunity to pass his knowledge on to the next generation.  So of course when his nephew decided plopping down on the field and picking grass was more exciting than going after the ball, he became a little discouraged.

“I just want him to have fun,” my brother told me, the emotion dripping in his voice.  Of course, therein lies the rub.  Not just for my brother, or me, but any sport parent – a child’s definition of fun is vastly different to an adult’s  Kids are just happy to be outside and rolling around in the grass at this age.  Sure kicking a ball is fun, but so is playing with the nifty new water thermos with the top that pops out when you push a button.  When you’re three, you’re not worried about winning, records, or trophies.  You just want to run around and do your thing, which if you’re my kid includes stopping everything to do an impromptu “Catboy” impersonation from “PJ Masks”.

Adults on the other hand, want to see these games as an opportunity to instill certain virtues in their players – determination, focus, teamwork, a winning attitude.  Laudable goals to be sure, but not entirely realistic.  When you watch the kids ignoring everything around them, you feel an almost palpable dread creep up in your stomach.  “Oh my God,” you think as you watch the young whippersnapper score a goal in their own net, “my kid’s completely lost.  He/she’s not getting it.  They’re never going to make it to college!!”

As my brother and I have finally realized, it may be time to take a deep breath and dial down from that conclusion.  Watching him play the other day, I finally saw my brother crack a little half-smile, shake his head, and remark, “you know what?  We just need to let the boy do his thing.  He’s three.  He’ll pick it up eventually.”  That turned out to be most wise, as when left to his own devices, Catboy eventually decided to at least start chasing after the ball when it went by him.  Right there was 100% improvement on his first performance already.

So heed my words, sports fans.  Try not to let yourself get too upset during these early, tentative steps toward athletic glory.  Playing sports is like anything else, from learning to read to learning how to conduct yourself in polite society.  Time is the best teacher.  Let them do their thing, be patient, do your best to guide them, and they’ll catch on eventually.  In the meantime, no college scholarships are in jeopardy.  As with all things, it just takes time for them to develop their game.

Apparently not Roundbottom, though.  Based on what I’ve seen from his chatting up of the ladies, that boy has already developed more game than I’ve ever had……

 

 

 

 

“Daddying” with Depression

The hardest thing to do when you’re suffering from depression is get out of bed. You lay there, maybe having slept, maybe not due to all the thoughts running a hundred miles per hour in your head, and feel as if each of your limbs weighs more than your entire body.  The thought of facing another day isn’t just torture, it seems absolutely pointless.

That’s when you feel a little hand lay itself on your face, with a little voice asking you for something to drink.

Parenting with depression is a constant mental and emotional tug-of-war.  You feel like you have nothing to give, yet here’s this little person who needs you to give all that
you have.  All you want to do is stay in that bed, but staying in that bed isn’t an option.  You find yourself constantly assaulted by your thoughts, stuck in your own head, but there’s someone who desperately needs you to come out from inside yourself.  You do for him because you have to, because you love him desperately, but at the same time feel like it’s just that much more weight causing you to drown inside.

It’s difficult to put into words, and even more difficult for others to understand.  Children are seen as the ultimate joy, almost as if they’re a panacea capable of snapping anyone out of whatever funk they’re in with a smile or some silly thing they do.  Depression isn’t a funk, though.  It’s a pervasive feeling of hopelessness and inadequacy.  You look at this child who adores and needs you, and for the life of you, you can’t figure out why.  You can barely hold yourself together.  How can you do for him?

That’s where you have to make the choice, the hardest choice imaginable for someone with depression; the choice to live. One of the most common professions of love from a parent is that they would do anything for their child, up to and including dying for them.  For someone with depression, that’s not a hard choice. The hard choice is choosing to live. Fighting the pain and finding a way to truly live, not just for this
little person, but for you.

It’s not enough to just go through the motions.  Just showing up to feed them, clothe them, get them to school, take them to play dates, or catch their games isn’t
enough.  As a parent, your primary responsibility is in showing your child how to live.  You’re his guide in the world, and whether you feel prepared for it or not, you’ve got the job.  The only thing that scares a parent with depression more than the depression itself is the thought that they are going to pass it on to their child.  That’s where that choice previously mentioned comes into play.  If you truly love your child, if you truly want to do right by him, then you have to take the steps to get healthy. Counseling, medicine, exercise, whatever it takes.

We teach our children more with what we do than with what we say.  They pick up and absorb everything.  That means they’re picking up on your pain.  You have to show them
it can be beaten, that it’s possible to get knocked down again and again and still get back up.  You have to learn to believe in yourself because that’s how he’ll learn how to believe in himself.  You have to walk the walk.

Of course this kind of responsibility scares the hell out of you.  Of course it feels like that much more weight drowning you.  That’s when you need to look at your child.  Really
look.  That child is your life preserver.  Your child has enough hope for both of you, all the hope in the world.  Hold on to that.  Use it to keep pushing, to keep trying.  Let your child’s belief in you propel you forward, and you’ll both grow to live better, fuller lives.

Now. It’s time to get up.  Bubby needs his drink.

If you’re having thoughts of self-harm, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “HOME” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

To The Single Parents

You amaze me.  You really do.

I just happen to have a beautiful partner, an earthbound angel as terrific with the kids as any mother could be, and I’m still weary.  Even divvying up the feeding, clothing, cleansing, running, chasing, and housekeeping I’m weary.  Yet there you are.  Doing it single-handed.  I can’t even fathom trying to juggle all this “fun” on my own, and yet you do it everyday.

It’s not that I don’t know how you do it.  Or why.   The answer to both those questions is the same and currently running you ragged.  It’s just that I don’t think you get nearly enough credit.  Parenting is the most thankless job in the world, which is ironic considering that it’s also the most important.  You’re doing the job of two (realistically, 19-and-a-half) and yet are somehow not celebrated as the modern miracle you are.  Whether you’ve taken on the responsibility solo by choice or otherwise, you’ve still taken it on, and for some reason people look at you as if you’re missing something.

If anyone’s missing something, it’s them.

You’re incredible.  You’re a warrior.  You’ve got a depth of love and devotion to your kids that no one can touch.  This is how and why you get up and do everything everyday for them.  The Energizer Bunny has nothing on you.  Marathon runners are pansies compared to you (unless they’re also single parents in which case, OH MY GOD).  You’re an example to be looked up to, not derided.  You’re the best of the best, and it’s way past time that you heard that.

Of course you get tired.  Of course there are probably days where you just want to stay in bed and say, “to hell with it!”.   Days where it all feels like too much.  Truth is that there’s not a parent in the world who doesn’t feel that way at some point, and that’s including those of us with partners.  Yet here you are.  Getting up and showing us just what kind of strength love can really give you.  You’re amazing, and you deserve to hear it.

So with that said, take a bow.  You’re doing the job of an army, and probably doing it far better than any army could.  You’re the real deal,  two parents wrapped up into one mighty package, and you are an inspiration.  Wine glasses and beer bottles raised, here’s to the single parents!  You’ll never find a better example of pure awesome.

Dear “Fur Parents”

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Hi.

How are you doing today?  Well, I hope.

Listen, we need to have a talk.

It’s come to my attention that you are a young, responsible, loving individual(s) that has taken on the responsibility of pet ownership.  I can only imagine how excited you were the first time you saw your little ball of fluff, snuggling it and petting it, playing with its little paws.  I have no doubt whatsoever that the love just washed over you.  You took it home, got it’s food and water dishes put together, maybe bought or made it a little outfit, and then began enjoying the playful little scamp.

Eventually you took it to its first vet visit, shelled out the money to cover its flea/heartworm prevention medicines, and then smiled as your little one hung its head out the window on the drive home.  It was at that point that I’m sure you thought to yourself, “wow, being a parent isn’t so hard.  My little baby makes it easy”.  Only one, teensy weensy, minor problem with that thought:

THAT’S NOT PARENTING.

My dear friend, if you let an actual child hang its head out the window during a drive, you would be pulled over and arrested.  If you fed a child from dishes placed on the floor, you would get the stink eye from anyone who happened to be there during dinnertime.  If the only clothing you had for the child was one or two cute little outfits, then that child would quickly end up the subject of much derision on the playground.  Don’t even get me started on letting it sleep outside all the time.

So you see my friends, pet ownership is not exactly the same as “parenting”.  I don’t say this to be mean.  I just think you need to be set straight.  Why?

BECAUSE I USED TO BE YOU.

I’ve owned a dog.  I’ve owned cats.  Before I actually had a child, I was under the mistaken impression that caring for these animals was simply the first step in preparation of real parenthood.  I was wrong.  So, so wrong.  Owning a dog or a cat is nothing like being responsible for a child.  You can’t let a child run around completely naked.  You can’t feed it off the floor.  The neighbors look at you weird if you play “fetch” with a child.  It’s just not even close.  If parenting was judged on a scale of 1 to 10, owning an animal is about a .5.

“How can you say this?” you ask as the rage within you builds, “I’m responsible for a life!  Who are you to question?”  It’s funny you ask, because my answer to that is actually some questions I would put to YOU:

  • Can you leave your house anytime you like, day or night, at the drop of a hat,  with your “baby” completely unsupervised?
  • Can you stay out as long as you want or even overnight somewhere as long as you left some food out for said “baby”?
  • Can you get completely wasted when its just you and the “baby” in the house?
  • Do you walk it on a leash (actually, cancel that one.  I see leashed kids all the times these days.  It’s not necessarily a bad idea)
  • Do you get a regular, full-nights sleep with the “baby” in the bed with you?
  • Do you allow your “baby” to defecate in the yard or a litter box in the laundry room?
  • Does your “baby’s” toys consist or a ball of yarn or chewed up old tennis ball?
  • Do you put it in a cage to sleep at night?
  • Did you pay for a procedure to guarantee it didn’t make you any “grandbabies”?
  • Was there a one-time $25 to $100.00 fee to bring it home?
  • Do you squirt it with a water bottle or hit it in the nose with a rolled-up newspaper to correct it?
  • Does it do what it’s told without any talkback?

If you answered yes to all of these questions, you are either a pet owner or need to be put away in the darkest rat-infested hole imaginable for the rest of your hopefully excruciatingly painful days.

So friends, just keep in mind that you have a long way to go until you can actually claim the title of “parent”.  It’s a long, arduous, sleep-deprived, blood, sweat, and poop-stained journey to get there.  Come to think of it, this is probably why you should just stick with the pets.  They are SO much easier, the love is unconditional, and you never have to argue with it about eating its ^&*%ing dinner.

In loving memory of Darwin and Gertrude, for whom I had to find another home when it turned out that Cray-Cray was deathly allergic.  That’s the other difference.  Unless there’s something really, really wrong with you, you don’t get rid of the children for the sake of the animals.  Don’t forget that rat-infested hole.