By: Kipp Tribble
When you have children, not only is life as you know it over, but many curve balls will be thrown at you daily for the next 18-some-odd years. It’s tough to deal with sometimes, especially with everything else you have going on in your life — buying beer, ordering the latest “Girls Gone Wild” DVD, spying on the neighbor lady — but you can overcome. First, admit to yourself that your days of being a suave bachelor are long gone. Second, resign yourself to being a dad that will experience many, many uncomfortable situations, thanks to your children. You can handle it. I have — and still am handling it. Here are some ways I reacted when my little demons did this…
Locks Him/Herself in a Running Vehicle
Let’s just say you are on a road trip in oh, I don’t know, Arizona. Not Phoenix, but the middle of nowhere part of Arizona. You and your wife get out to switch off driving duties and fuel up at a gas station — which resembles something out of The Hitcher — when your 16-month-old, who you just let out of her seat to stretch her legs for a few minutes, slams her hand down on the door lock and locks herself in. And locks you out. Luckily, we had just gassed up. Oh, that’s right. We hadn’t gassed up yet. So the car is running and your young child is exploring the interior with what appears to be a desire to rip the f***er apart. And if it runs out of gas, you’ll have to push the thing 30 more feet in Arizona heat to the gas pumps.
Logical Option #1: Call AAA and wait for God knows how long for them to arrive.
Logical Option #2: Call 911 and say you have an emergency involving a child.
Logical Option #3: Go into the gas station, buy a couple of 40’s and commence to drink.
What I did: Break a window. Yeah, I was that guy. I put a brick through the back window. But this was after about ten minutes of using gestures and odd noises trying to communicate with my daughter to manipulate the lock and let us inside. I think she thought we were playing a new game called “Wounded Monkey” because all she did was laugh at us. But think about my options: you can wait hours for someone to come unlock your SUV or try and explain to a cop why your child is out of her restraints in a running vehicle — and you and your wife are drinking 40’s from the gas station. I made a decision and that was to break a window. Now here is where the finesse comes in. And yes, it was finesse.
We still had a lot of miles to drive, so smashing a front window would have been hell on us all. Smashing a back side window would have just stirred up anything in the back seat and sent it into my face while I was driving. The best bet is to smash the very back window. We were in an SUV and the back windows are pretty flimsy. But no matter the car, if you have more miles to travel and have to be without a window, go for the back window. Even if it rains — which it did — you are relatively safe. Just $500 out of pocket to get it replaced.
Vomits on a Plane
Those of you who have kids know that vomiting is a sick, sick reality that happens way to often. Those of you without kids, don’t have them. Okay, seriously, if you have them, be prepared for random vomiting at the worst possible time. Like on takeoff from the East Coast headed back to LAX. Those are some good quality times with the kids, let me tell you. In my opinion, a plane might be the worst place possible for a child to throw up other than on a stranded subway car or on the President while he is on national television. I can vouch for the horribleness of puke on a commercial airliner and there is no vomit bag aboard that can properly assist you.
Logical Option #1: Push the help button, even though you are in mid-takeoff.
Logical Option #2: Put in an early order for adult beverages.
Logical Option #3: Open the emergency exit door. Jump.
What I did: Let me wife handle it. Just kidding. We corralled the grossness as much as possible — blankets make for great vomit holders, FYI — and punched the help button. The plane will level off enough within five minutes for a stewardess to approach you and ask what you could possibly want this early in the flight. Luckily, we got one that was cool and she let me wife head to the bathroom for some wash up time while I was stuck making trips back and forth to clean the couple of spots where the wonderful puke had escaped our blanket trap.
The best part about your child letting loose on a plane is the A-hole that will undoubtedly be seating in front of or behind you. Be prepared for not only the stares from them, but the helpful advice they feel compelled to offer up. Sorry, did I say helpful? I meant passive-aggressive advice. Everyone’s favorite. I had to deal with these comments while going back and forth to the lav — still officially during takeoff, mind you — until I finally told the nosy bitch in front of me to turn around and shut up. That seemed to work because she sulked and watched Meet the Parents on her computer the rest of the flight. Without a word.
Curses in Public
Yes, I drop the F-bomb probably way too many times every day. Okay, every hour. But I am quite PG around my children, which is something I wear as a badge of honor and believe I deserve an award for it. But somewhere, somehow, my kids have been able to pick up a curse word or two…and the know the context (nsfw). Nothing can prepare you for standing in line at Starbucks and your sweet, innocent child screaming “son of a b****!” because you won’t let them have a hot chocolate. It happens . And it will happen to you. Try as you might to shield your kids from the adult world of profanity, you will only be able to hold it off for so long. They will learn the language of the world. And there is nothing you can do about it.
Logical Option #1: Look around you and smile sheepishly.
Logical Option #2: Ask your child, “Where are your parents?”
Logical Option #3: Curse back at them.
What I did: This was a tap dance moment for me. I apologized to those around me and then tried to explain that my kid did not learn this sort of behavior from me. Of course, no one believed me. I blamed the reprobate kid at school and TV’s declining moral code. Then I tried to tell my daughter that the term she just blurted out is not acceptable in a public setting. Or private setting when you are six years old. It was difficult to get through to her, though, since she was bouncing in the basket filled with Starbucks stuffed bears.
Some other parents claim that exposing their kids to cursing helps them grow into a more well-rounded person ahead of schedule. Well, apparently Child Services has a different idea, so I try damage control every time my kids drop an adult bomb on the ears of the public. Side note: it is kinda’ funny when they do this, but not funny at the same time…
Calls Out Fat People…Loudly
Okay, sure. I like to have a snicker or two at the expense of someone that has cellulite bursting out of the top of their pants because it has nowhere else to go. But I have always been careful not to do this in front of my children…too much. Kids, however, are perceptive and notice that some people on this crazy planet we call Earth like to eat until they are teetering between lucidness and a coma. Inevitably, your child will declare — rather loudly — that the person seated at the table next to you in a nice restaurant is fat. And before you can shove a mouthful of food in your tyke’s mouth in order to get them to shut up, they will continue with statements like, “Why do they eat so much?” or “Being fat is ugly!”
Logical Option #1: Apologize to the offended and claim your child has Turrets.
Logical Option #2: Ignore the situation.
Logical Option #3: Set the place on fire.
What I did: I made like an ostrich and buried my head in the sand. I didn’t exactly ignore the situation, but I didn’t address it like fatty may have wanted me to, either. I explained to my child that some people are made differently than others (interpreted: some people eat like food is going out of style) and we shouldn’t point that fact out to them at a high volume in public places. And I avoided eye contact with the table next to us. Not that I was afraid of what Ms. Obese would say, I was just really into my turkey sandwich at the time.
This event has been repeated by all of my children at one point or another. Personally, I blame the public school system and all their talk about health and exercise and not eating crap. The kids have been brainwashed into thinking they should go on a large person witch hunt. I’m definitely all for health and not being a plus-sizer, but I really don’t need the pressure of worrying what fat comments will come spewing out of my kids’ mouths when I am out enjoying a dinner at Burger King.
Clogs Your Toilet With Your Cell Phone
A cell phone is a valuable piece of technology. And to me, my cell phone is ranked in the top five things I need to function, along with oxygen, sex, booze, and TV (water and food are ranked #9). So when my cell phone is destroyed, it’s the equivalent of having my arm chopped off. I’m disoriented, screwed for the week, and bleeding. And when you add in the fact that said cell phone is clogging my toilet (toilet use is ranked #6 on my functioning list), my world is nearing a total collapse. Kids love cell phones. They love punching the buttons and throwing it against the wall. They also love throwing things in the toilet. It’s only a matter of time before they combine their two loves and subsequently destroy your week at the same time.
Logical Option #1: Call the God of plumbers.
Logical Option #2: Reprimand your child and buy yourself an industrial-sized plunger.
Logical Option #3: Move to Tibet and become a monk.
What I did: Experts always say count to 10 before you respond in anger. I counted to 1,234 on this occasion. Then I went to work. I used a wire hanger to fish out my cell phone, although it took about thirty minutes to accomplish. The cell phone is pointless to use at this point, although some models will still have a useable SIM card so you can transfer all your phone numbers and data. You have to get the cell phone out of the pipes because all the Drano in the world will not eat it down to a size that will be swept into the sewer.
Don’t bare-hand anything when dealing with the toilet. I shouldn’t even have to mention this. Especially if you are digging something out of your toilet, you should not touch it with your bare hands. Use rubber gloves or at least latex gloves to handle the cell phone and pull out the SIM card. You may still have to use a plunger after you get the cell out, but if I have to explain how to use a plunger, you need to be beat about the face with one.