Monday, January 10, 2011

Binky's Guide To Parenting

In the past few days, I have been inundated with links to this article in the Wall Street Journal. A "must read," according to the conventional wisdom.

If opinions are like assholes, then surely parenting advice is akin to what issues from those ubiquitous orifices. And apparently owning one of said orifices is the only necessary qualification for writing a parenting book or article. So, I've decided to write my own. Here's an abstract, for those of you who want to get an exclusive sneak peek before publication:

Kids today are not being raised right.

• Just yesterday, I saw a toddler having a tantrum in a public place.

• Someone my cousin knows – we'll call him "Johnny" – had to go to community college instead of real college (or maybe it was a public university, one of those with the word "state" in the title – I forget) because his parents, lamentably, simply did not place enough emphasis on his education.

• Also, there's a lot of crime and stuff.

Research [1] has shown that when kids turn out wrong, it's their parents' fault.

Are you worried that your kids will turn out all messed up? You should be. If you're not, they will definitely turn out all messed up. So here are my simple rules for ensuring that your kid will not turn out all messed up:

1. No children's programming on TV, ever. Period. End of story. Reruns of Matlock and Murder She Wrote are fine.

Why? Studies[2] show a high correlation between viewing Matlock and Murder She Wrote and not being either a community college student or incarcerated.

2. Feed your children only circular or cylindrical food. (E.g., Cheerios, pancakes, logs of chevre, burgers)

Why? Because I said so. Now shut up and eat your Chevre McMuffin.

3. Sleep is a privilege, not a right. Before letting their sweet little heads hit the pillow, why not require them to calculate pi to twenty or so decimal places, or compose a short sonata?

Why? Studies have shown that sleep deprivation is a powerful motivator. If you miss this opportunity to motivate your children to hit important academic milestones, you are a lazy mother.

4. The only acceptable extracurricular activities are Spanish Club and clown school.

Why? Because other kids will beat your kids up if they join the Chess Club, Spanish is a useful language to know, and clown school may come in handy if your child does end up like Johnny (see above).

5. All petitions for an allowance, requests to exceed curfew, and other applications for variances of house rules must be submitted in Latin (or Pig Latin, for children under age three), on legal-size paper, in green ink, and notarized.

Why? I think this one is self-explanatory.

The rest of the book will be filled with mildly humorous (or deadly serious) anecdotes that illustrate nothing whatsoever.

Conclusion: All you have to do is follow these simple rules and your kid will absolutely not turn out all messed up. And remember -- if your kid does turn out all messed up, it's because you applied the rules wrong. So it's still your fault. Sorry.

[1] Just Google "research parents' fault" -- you'll see. Also, I read several parenting books and they all agree.
[2] My own carefully conducted research, which included reviewing the Tivo playlists of my parents, my inlaws, and some of their friends.


Eric Grant said...

If I ever have a precious snowflake of my own I'm just outsourcing the responsibility bits to you.

Karen Hough said...

I'm more in love with you, Gina, than I ever have been before after reading your article. So glad you and the Chinese dragon are in agreement.

Misty Anderson said...

Just read this out loud to Andy. He thinks it sounds perfectly reasonable. His reply follows. Shame I have no Latin. Xo

Andy Tirro said...

Illae condiciones vitae probantur a me. Certe, possunt cupitus pro miseram poenas propositus a patem et matem mei.

(Er, I may have gotten some bits wrong here and there. However, translated, it means: These conditions of life are approved by me. Certainly, they are able to be desired before the miserable punishments put forth by my father and mother.)

Binky said...

Puer, obvium est ut nonquam spectabas Matlock.

Andy Tirro said...

Est verum. Non spectabam. Explica quis traderet in Matlock.

megan said...


kathasaurus said...

Jessica Fletcher is MY personal savior and hero......I'm sooo glad to see she's someone else's!

KCS said...

This is great Gina. I'm so tired of Amy Chua and all the rebuttals that are still giving her attention (not yours! not yours!). But what do we do if our son's extra-curricular activities are Spanish and Chess Club? He'll get beat up, but he can tell them off in Spanish? Better yet, he's taking choir too; he can sing them off in Spanish? We're doomed.