Thursday, November 11, 2010

Classic Post: Parental Thesaurus

I don't have time today to write a new post, so I'm gonna repost.  But instead of highlighting my laziness, we'll just call it a "classic post."

Being a parent is just as awesome and satisfying a job as people told me it would be. And it's just as frustrating and difficult as my parents claimed it was when I was a kid. But what I've really been surprised about is the little perks that come with being a parent. Perks like the ability to ignore conventional medical wisdom and wipe my son's nose with my hand and rub it on the grass. Or the new ability my wife and I have to hold a child in one arm, keep the other kid back with a foot, and take a casserole out of the oven without burning anyone. But, by far the best unforeseen perk is the training we've been getting as game night competitors.

Let me explain. My family and I had family game night growing up. It wasn't always official or planned, but we'd play all the board games and party games we could think of. We played Taboo, Charades, Pictionary, Stratego, Boggle, Life, Scrabble, Skip Bo, Uno, and Yahtzee to name a few. Yeah, we were complete and total nerds (that's not even a comprehensive list by the way). But I think I would be even better at some of those games now because of being a parent. I know I'd be better at Pictionary because I have to draw stuff for my son now. And if you can get a two-year old to figure out that you're drawing an elephant, it's perfect training for Pictionary. My stick figures don't cut it anymore, so I've graduated to advanced figure drawing, level 2. Which means I am able to draw non-stick people figures who don't have distorted faces or hands (most of the time). And I've even better at Charades and Scrabble. Because there are certain words we don't/can't/shouldn't say in front of my son now because he can repeat anything he hears. We don't use bad language, but certain things are inappropriate for a toddler. And it's a lot easier to stop my son using the term "stupid-head" if we stop saying it altogether. And it's only funny to hear him say "that's stupid" when we're at home. Not so much when we're at church. So we've learned to spell naughty words really fast so he doesn't hear them. Hence the new Scrabble skills (although, to be honest, I was already an excellent Scrabbler). And the Charades come in handy when we're too tired to spell multiple words. That way, if we want to ask the other spouse if it's okay for him to "go outside" and play with a "ball" or if he can have one more "cookie" before we "go to the store", we don't have to sound like a spelling bee on fast-forward. We can just use gestures and motions, and he's none the wiser.

But my favorite is the Taboo training. Because we have to find the strangest ways to say stuff. This weekend, my son was feeling a little sick. And I wanted to ask my wife if we had any children's Tylenol with us. But my son knows the words "Tylenol" and "medicine" and the phrase "give to Andrew". So I found myself saying, "Honey, do we have any... uh... toddler's pain reliever to give to... our male offspring?" And we have to do this all the time. Because I'd rather him not see me eat dessert at 4:30 in the afternoon or even hear me ask for it. So the other day I had to ask my wife if we had any "non-vanilla baked good with buttercream topping" (chocolate cake) left over. And then if we had any "frozen dairy baked goods companion" (ice cream) in the freezer. Then I had to eat it alone in the garage so he couldn't find me.

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