Meet Bill Castengera. He lives in the US in Jacksonville, Florida with his wife and three children. He manages a blog and adds new content weekly. He also is an indie writer with four books self published, including one sci-fi advernture where God is an alcoholic.
Seven Things I Never Thought I’d Say…Then I Had Kids
As a father of three children, I have often said some things that my young, pre-parenting self could never have conceived of uttering. There’s a switch, I think. It flips on the second the child emerges from the birth canal. My wife and I have strung some words together in such an exact sequence, in such a particular way that we never could have fathomed that we might string them together so…eloquently. The following is a list of things that my wife and I have actually said to our children, and then had the presence of mind to consider exactly what it was we had just said. If you’re a parent, I’m sure you can relate, and I’m positive that you probably have some things of your own that you could add to the list.
1. Please don’t point at people with your corndog.
I said this to my son while eating at a restaurant. My wife and I are constantly telling our kids that it’s impolite to point at people, so my son thought he had found a loophole, a glorious chink in the almighty rule of ‘do not point at people.’ We squashed the notion quickly with this simple statement, but he did use our temporary inability to fully explain the rule against us this one time. There have been no further corndog pointing incidents, I’m happy to report.
2. Suck it, loser.
Playing video games with my children gets pretty competitive. Some parents choose to let their kids win occasionally to prop them up, to build confidence, etc. Not I. I have always told my kids that I will never just let them win, that when they finally beat me at a game, and they will, that it will be a true victory. Until then, however, I talk an unseemly amount of trash. I found myself, shortly after delivering a crouching uppercut death blow to my son’s onscreen character, uttering the words ‘suck it loser.’ A long awkward silence followed. My wife’s jaw was on the floor. The implication of the context of what I had just said to my seven year old son was disturbing, to say the least. I vowed to be a little less competitive, to talk a little less trash, but the damage had been done.
3. Stop saying ‘granola’ and spinning around in the shower.
When my daughter was very young, maybe three or four, my wife would stay in the bathroom while my daughter was taking a shower to sort of keep an eye on her and coach her through the steps. One evening, I heard my wife say these words to my daughter. Apparently my daughter had eaten a granola bar earlier in the day and had decided to sing about it in the shower while dancing. The lyrics consisted of only the word granola, so it was more of a chant than a song. Nevertheless, neither my wife nor I would have guessed that either of us would ever string together those particular words in that particular order.
4. Don’t cry to me when you break your head open and die.
My middle daughter wore us down. The standing rule was that she was not allowed to ride her bike unless she wore a helmet. She fought this rule at every opportunity until she finally broke us. We had both had a rough day, had been mentally taxed, and we were just plain tired. That is when she chose to strike. The constant complaining and begging to not wear a helmet had finally come to a head..pun intended. I’m not saying that the techniques we employed were great parenting, but when my wife spoke these words, she was trying to illustrate the severity of the consequences of not wearing a helmet through sarcasm and maybe it got away from her a little. Certainly I don’t condone such graphic explanations and certainly it wasn’t intended to sound flippant or uncaring, but after an exhausting day and then dealing with an argumentative child, well, those things can lead to a poor choice of words.
5. We don’t punch babies in the eye with a hammer.
My oldest daughter has a baby doll. One day she was in the other room with her younger sister. Suddenly we heard a repetitive pounding noise and my younger daughter began to cry. Naturally my wife and I expected the worst and jumped up to find out what had happened. My youngest daughter was crying and saying that my oldest daughter had punched her baby doll in the eye. We admonished my oldest daughter. “We don’t punch babies in the eye.” My oldest daughter defended herself. “I wasn’t.” My wife and I were determined to get to the bottom of these shenanigans and took in the whole scene. On the floor was the doll, next to it was my son’s toy hammer. My wife, ever quicker witted than I, decided immediately what had been happening, but formulated her sentence based off the first assumption of punching. She came up with this gem and we have been using the word ‘punch’ in reference to striking anything with any implement ever since.
6. Sit on the couch correctly.
A simple request, and not exactly noteworthy by itself, but when children hang off the side of the couch, upside down, an intervention must occur. I’ve added it here because despite the lackluster explanation, this has always sounded a bit redundant to me. We are constantly trying to teach our children the proper way to behave in public and I always imagine this particular lesson. I imagine that I remove the ‘sit on the couch correctly’ lesson from my lesson plan and the kids never grow up learning of its importance. I imagine my child in the future, forty years old and hanging off the couch upside down or sitting on the arm rest. If only I had taught them to sit on the couch correctly…
7. Beauty is only skin.
This one is not one that I have ever said, but I added it here because my son said it to me, and I thought it was insightful. I told him the old adage that beauty is only skin deep, explaining that what’s inside is what matters most, not so much outside appearance. He seemed to understand, but a few days later he attempted to quote the adage to my wife and told her that beauty is only skin. To my wife’s credit, she never missed a beat. “Yes,” she said, eyebrows raised. “Yes. I guess that’s true.”