“Hey Dad, what the hell is this website we found containing tons of pictures of, and stories about, us? Also, you’re an asshole and we hate you.”—My children, circa some day in the not-too-distant future
Dear Jon’s Children,
I’ve tried, children. I’ve tried to be nice. For days now, I’ve sat quietly on a shelf, or hung from the Christmas tree, or peered down upon you from atop the mantle or the cabinets or the china cupboard or whatever other wacky spot it was into which I’d been wedged. And I’ve tried.
I’ve tried, by virtue of my silent presence, to gently coax you into compliance with your parents’ wishes. And I had hoped that my mere presence alone would be enough to keep you in line … but, after the display the two of you put on this morning, it has become clear to me that my pixie-ish grin and my kind, blue eyes aren’t getting the message across … so here’s how it’s gonna be:
When I was a little boy, and thunder rumbled in the distance, my mother would react as though the approaching storm was an Afghani mortar attack instead of a minor weather event. Because of this, I spent much of my childhood reacting to thunderstorms in a similarly panicked fashion.
When my mother was a little girl, and thunder rumbled in the distance, her parents presumably reacted calmly … until that one time when the electricity went out during a storm, and they sent her to get from her upstairs bedroom something to play with, and she opened the door at the bottom of the staircase, and looked up to see that the second floor was engulfed in flames … because lightning had struck the house.
So she gets a pass.
I can’t believe I forgot to introduce you all to the newest member of the family! Where are my manners?
This little bundle of joy is Baby Alive Tink & Poops. No, that’s not her real name, but that is what Jayna has been calling her since, like, a year ago when she first saw the commercial. As you can probably surmise, the “Tink & Poops” part means she not only urinates—which is just so yesteryear—but she also defecates. And if there is one thing we need around here, it is a fake baby who shits herself, amirite?
Tuesday is my morning to chauffeur the lovely Miss Jayna to her nursery school, and doing so is always a bit of a crap shoot, because I never know which Jayna I’m going to get. Will it be the “Yay! School!” Jayna, or the “I DON’T WANNA GO TO SCHOOL! [weeping and crying and screaming]” Jayna?
This morning, it seemed to be the middle ground: she was neither psyched nor horrified by the prospect … and when your child is balancing between the realms of “Best Possible Outcome” and “Worst Possible Outcome,” ye must tread lightly and be on the lookout for potential landmines, for one wrong move and BOOM! And that explosion, brothers and sisters, will topple your little bundle of joy from the balance beam of ambiguity into a very clearly defined emotional realm, and you will wish you could put your fingers in your ears and curl up in a ball until The Screaming and The Crying have stopped.
And you definitely, definitely, de-fin-ite-ly do not want The Screaming and The Crying to take place as you attempt to part with your little bundle of joy during the preschool drop-off, because then you have yourself A Situation—or, worse yet, A Scene.