Vox ran an article called “This is how parents turn their kids into narcissists.” Other than getting that Montell Jordan song in my head, it ticked me off a bit. It’s been in vogue recently to bag on positive parenting, saying that constant reassurances are turning our children into arrogant monsters.
Show me a parent who thinks their child is better than every other child and I’ll show almost every parent. If you don’t think this about your child, then I feel sorry for you. But this doesn’t mean they will grow up to be a narcissist. Life has a way of beating most parents, and children out of the delusion they are better than everyone else.
Granted, like everything else, too much of anything can be a bad thing, including affirmations. But compared with known negative effects of growing up with low self-esteem, I’ll take my chances with the possibility of my child being a douche.
What is the best way to go down the subway stairs with a child and a stroller?
This is one of those questions that people without kids think is idiotic, “these crazy parents over-think everything.”
But parents think it’s a great question and invariably have the answer and a few tips.
I recently was taking my two-year-old daughter into Manhattan; she’s a good walker but walking several blocks necessitated the stroller.
When we got to the F train stairs, here were my options:
The Slow Roll
With my daughter’s hand in my right hand and the stroller in my left, walk down the stairs step-by-step. Of course, if it is busy and you are taking up two-thirds of the staircase as you amble down the stairs, you will need to dodge the daggers coming from the eyes of busy commuters because your little brat added a few more seconds to their commute.
The Loaf of Bread
Grab your kid under one arm, stroller in the other, and hurry down the stairs. This is dangerous, as a flailing child could send you off-balance and tumbling down the stairs, and even if you do get down safely you’ll need to dodge the daggers coming from the eyes of busy commuters angry at someone who’d carry this darling angel like a loaf of bread.
Pop a wheelie, and bounce on the back wheels down the steps one-by-one. Note: Depending on the weight of you child and the amount of junk you keep underneath (I usually pack like I’m loaded for bear), this method may render the stroller inoperable; since the SoHo Maclaren mechanic went out of business, you’ll need to buy a new stroller.
Just grab the left and right sides of the stroller with your child strapped in, yank it up (thanks to the awkward position you end up lifting entirely with your back), and muscle her down the stairs. Make sure your chiropractor has a tenth-visit-free option if this is your lifting choice.
The Damsel in Distress
Stand at the top of the stairs looking helpless until someone helps you portage the loaded strolled down. Note: This does not work with men.
I opted for “The Muscle” ….then a cab home.
How do you get down the subway stairs?
The New York Times had a piece about New York City parents having to go on waiting lists for schools, camps, classes, and day cares. It was spot on, but I can think of a few waits they missed. (Granted, these are #parkslopeproblems, but #parkslopeproblems are my problems):
- Swings at the playground – Does that 8 year old kid really need to drape himself over the swing and dangle for 23 minutes?
- Frozen yogurt – People, figure out your toppings before you get on line…and yes, those white things are mochi.
- Brunch – I know, everyone has this problem, but I thought going to brunch at 10:30 AM was supposed to eliminate this wait, but apparently every other parent with a ticking time bomb child has the same idea. And whatever puritanical A.H. who said you cannot get bloody mary before noon on Sundays never had kids.
- Haircut – If I don’t want my kid to get a fireman’s cut, I need to make an appointment a week in advance?
- Santa – I would rather be on a wait list than go on that interminable line again. At least if we were wait listed, we could just go to our safety holiday character at Pratt.
- The street fair bouncy castle – You try telling a 5 year old juiced on cotton candy that a 30 minute wait for 3 minutes of jumping isn’t worth it.
- ANYTHING interactive at a museum
After the horrible events in Newtown, CT, something occurred to me that caused a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, and that feeling emanated from a small box on the high shelf in my closet.
I am not much of a liberal prosthelytizer, but my heart bleeds, more often then I’d like. Children, the environment, equal rights, seniors, dead pigeons, you name it, I bleed for it. In an odd paradox, I am also a gun owner. I have 2 single shot nickel plated dueling pistols. They were a wedding gift for my parents 50 years ago, then they were a wedding gift to me. My parents were not gun “enthusiasts,” but they both grew up in the midwest, and had some familiarity with hunting, so owning a guns seemed very normal to them. The wedding gift was meant as a joke- dueling pistols for the newlyweds. Ha. When I was a kid on vacation in Virginia we’d shoot cans with the pistols, or more aptly, we shoot at cans. These guns were remarkable hard to shoot straight. But I admit, they were fun.
The pistols went with the other unused wedding gifts (a bread maker, a crystal caviar dish) sat in my closet for years. I never gave them a second thought, until the tragic events at Newtown. Hearing about Sandy Hook Elementary made my heart bleed again, but then it nearly stopped. In the home of my 5 year old son, and my 2 year old daughter were 2 lethal pistols. No they weren’t loaded, there was no ammunition in the house. Nonetheless it terrified me. I did not want guns in my house.
I thought about just throwing them out or selling them. But I did not want someone else to use them to harm others or themselves. I thought about tossing them in the Gowanus canal (the only body of water in the world that is 90 percent guns.) But I’m not a criminal, I shouldn’t have to “dispose” of the evidence. Someone suggested taking them to the police. Maybe that was the best idea, but it seems like an invitation for an interrogation. I looked for gun buy backs (which aren’t nearly as common as one would think) but even the thought of carrying the guns in public was unsettling. I ended up taking them apart, taking out the hammer assembly entirely, rendering them no more lethal than the crystal caviar dish.
There must be some stat sent to all publications that says if you create a conflict between parents and non-parents, readership goes up. Because there can be no other reason for the New York Times piece “A Child-Friendly Beer Garden Doesn’t Seem So Friendly to Some Adults.” The premise is this, the new Park Slope beer garden, Greenwood Park, welcomes parents to bring their children to the open-air spacious garden bar, but the childless patrons think the children are running amok, and there is a deep tension between adult drinkers and the self-involved parents.
overused interesting meme story, expect that all the “complaints” about children in the bar come from Yelp. The Times does quote a couple of parents at the bar who are glad there is a place they can relax with their children, but all the vitriol comes from quoting a website whose main purpose is to vent and spew vitriol.
This storty had two reporters, yet the Gray Lady really couldn’t find one real person to go on record? I doubt even the snarky (yet often hilarious) Brooklyn blog Fucked in Park Slope, would call this “reporting.”
I’m sure I could find Yelp reviews on a bar that has too many “frat-boys” and an equal number who love the bar, but I would hardly consider a made up feud worthy enough to get over one thousand words in the New York Times.
But if they are using Yelp as a source, the the Times should definitely send over Frank Bruni to this place.
A least a half dozen friends forwarded me the the New York Times article about injuries toddlers receive when going down the slide with their parent. It seems counterintuitive, but when a child goes down a slide with an adult, they are more at risk of being injured if their hand or foot gets caught on the slide. The additional weight of the parent can break a toddler’s arm or leg, and apparently this is a common injury in ERs.
I have always been advocate of letting my children go solo at the playground. (Although have been spotted on a few slides, it was more for my own enjoyment than helicopter parenting.) That said, it’s not always easy getting a child to take the plunge for the first time, so I certainly cannot begrudge any parent doubling as a toboggan.
And be aware, a hands off PG approach has its downside. My 4 year old son has broken his arm twice due to his adventurous spirit that his dad encouraged.
But I always tell him, broken bones heal, chicks dig scars, and Park Slope has the highest toddler-to-pediatrician ratio on the country.
When I tuck my four-year-old son into bed every night, I repeat the same thing my mother always said to me at bedtime, “Happy dreams.”
But recently, my son told me that he never has happy dreams. He has always been a good sleeper and other than the obligatory asking for a glass of water, he has never had problems going to bed. So when he said he only had bad dreams, I was very surprised.
But it’s when he describes his dreams that I get upset. His nightmares go from the classic, dreams about falling, to the heartbreaking, dreams about being hit by a truck. His surreal dream-scapes really freak me out, “There is a scary puddle with a face that turns into a monster,” and “A monster swallowed a balloon.” When I ask why this is scary, he tells me, “Because the monster is choking.”
It is bad enough that he has nothing but terrifying dreams, but the biggest monsters in his dreams are his parents. I can hear myself yelling at him:
“Don’t climb up there, you’ll fall!”
” Do not step in the street!”
” You better not run through that puddle!”
” Do not leave balloons on the ground; your baby sister could choke to death!”
His nightmares don’t seem to affect his sleep, but should I be concerned that he doesn’t have sweet dreams and that my anxieties seem to be the inspiration for his bad dreams?