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The Art of Parenting

I think when you have kid, you are automatically given a new skill: the ability to make terrible jokes. And we use the same ones over and over. The more irritated the kids get with our jokes, the funnier (to us) they become.

"I'm hungry," one of them will say to which James will respond, "Hi hungry, I'm James. Nice to meet you." If they are, actually hungry (which they probably aren't...these days they are eating purely out of boredom), this will be met with a lot of eye rolling, and a speedy transition to (drink) "hangry." To really get under their skin, he'll finally kill the joke, but will offer them a big bowl of cabbage to appease their hunger.

Then there's his famous "getting hurt" line. If one of them stubs a toe, without fail, James will offer to cut the toe off so it doesn't hurt anymore. This (drink) used to be met with giggles, but now, it just makes them cry harder. I wonder if they would be secretly disappointed if he didn't say it?

I started thinking about all our stupid jokes this morning when Abigail brought her breakfast plate to the sink (the only child who actually does this consistently), and headed upstairs to start her schoolwork. "Have a great day at school!" I said, as I do every morning. It's my little quarantine joke. "Don't talk to strangers on the way!" She pity (drink) laughed as she does every morning and told me I needed to get new material.

Another skill parents magically acquire the moment they procreate, is the ability to locate any item at any time, no matter how obscure its whereabouts. Not only that, we can identify exactly which game a mysterious piece of plastic belongs to. Which is probably (drink) one of the major reasons kids won't let us out of their site. "Where's the legs of the Lego policeman? Not the black ones. The ones with the white stripes and red pockets." "Second toy bin to the left, under the purple princess crown, next to the walkie talkie." And can anyone identify the different categories of figurines to which the following belong?

From left to right: My Little Pony, Banana Surprise, Hatchamal, Littlest Pet Shop. Bam. Who says I have no skills to put on my resume?

Here's a really useful parent skill: totally tuning kids out. It's particularly handy when they're tattling on each other because the long winded accounts rehashing the massive blowout that resulted in shoving and pinching is mind-numbingly boring. (Drink) As they tag team on throwing each other under the bus, I'm usually calculating how many hours until I can pour myself a glass of wine.

It's a two way street, of course. Kids are masters of (drink) selective hearing - especially when involved in any kind of screen time. Sometimes I literally have to stand in front of them and press the pause button to get their attention. But if I so much as whisper the word "cake" it's like a chorus of, "cake?" "where?" "when?" "what flavor?"

Another two way street? Bullshitting. While kids take the win on zoning out, parents definitely have the advantage on the bullshit front. We can see right through their lies, but (drink) I've had my kids believing the most ridiculous stories. I can't tell you the number of times we've forgotten about the tooth fairy. Our tooth fairy has had a broken wing, a case of really bad diarrhea, and even a drone she was experimenting with to airdrop the money, but it failed. #winning We forgot the tooth fairy not too long ago, in the midst of the quarantine, but I didn't have the heart to blame the Corona Virus. The elf on the shelf on the other hand...

I definitely feel that these often overlooked parenting skills have sharpened over the last two months. But I think Abigail may be right - we do (drink) need some new material when it comes to jokes. So if you care to share your personal favorite one-liners, we're all ears.

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