Being a parent is tough work. It’s my job to teach Mason all I can about the world he will encounter, and he doesn’t make it very easy. In turn, Mason has taught (or reminded me of) some things that can be used in daily life to make it easier, more fulfilling, and just plain better.
1) If you don’t like what you get, bitch, bitch, bitch.
This one is quite simple. The screaming baby gets the Froot Loops. Whenever Mason doesn’t get what he wants for food or activity, he just starts screaming. Sure, we play the “ignore it and he’ll stop eventually” game, but it rarely works, thanks to his stubbornness. Obviously, screaming won’t work for the rest of us, but a good old-fashioned gripe usually aids us in asserting our opinions or desires.
2) The best way to draw attention to yourself is via the sense of smell.
This is another “adapt for adults” tip. Mason knows to hover nearby our noses when he’s created the latest version of gag gas. No one wants to be near the stinky one, so off he goes immediately for a changing. On the flip side for big folks…deodorant works wonders, people. The better you smell, the better you sound, look, feel, etc. Now, where is my Gravity?
3) When breaking rules, smile and continue on.
Mason loves giving lessons on this one. Every time he’s somewhere he isn’t supposed to be (fireplace, near the stove, repeatedly flushing the toilet and our money with it, etc.), he gets sternly spoken to. “Mason! NO!” He just busts out the biggest, cutest, most heart-melting smile you can imagine, even as I approach him with stern eyes. And, dag nabbit, I just can’t keep the damn stern face on! It’s toxic! I still haven’t tried this, but my theory is: if I smile and stare at someone while doing something I shouldn’t, they too will melt and eventually leave me be. Does anyone else want to try this first?
4) Sometimes your best defense is not speaking English.
Babies have no way of explaining themselves until they can speak a few words. Mason uses this to his utmost advantage.
“Jeez Mason, what’s with your attitude today? You’re being a grump!”
“Ah gah bah gah…? BAAAH!”
This is likely used in the adult world plenty of times. Just play the “I don’t speak English card and you usually get away with anything. Beware the flip side though. To quote Homer Simpson: “Whenever in trouble, always blame the guy that doesn’t speak English.”
5) When in doubt, get the hell out.
There’s this thing Mason does that’s halfway between troublemaking and good behavior…I call it “the pause of suspicion.” If Mason is headed out of our living room and down the hall, he always stops and looks back at us, as if he’s testing us to see if we’re after him. So either Holly and I feed into it with, “Mason?! Where are you going?!” The kid smiles big, immediately turns his head and hauls ass down the hall as quickly as possible, automatically prompting a parental chase. It’s actually a pretty smart move. If you’re even caught in a web of suspicion, just run away and let them wonder what the hell you were doing.
I’m sure there are many other lessons I’ve been taught since mason entered my life. These just stick out. I’m sure as he learns to walk, talk and explore even more of his world, the lessons, like any educational path, will get more complex and more bountiful. For now, I’ll just bone up on my Spanish for #4.