- Family and Parenting
My unfinished Book on Fatherhood
The following is an excerpt from a book I'll probably never publish
All humans face challenges in one way or another, and I am no exception. I believe that challenges are good, they make us stronger, better more refined. But as a father, I think there are an added amount of challenges that must be addressed on an everyday basis. Me, being a comedian, makes this adventure a little more interesting because I naturally find humor (or it finds me) in the daily challenges of fatherhood.
In early 2011, I decided to write a book about the rigors of child rearing. Being a writer, comic and father was the perfect storm. But being a chronic procrastinator and lazy would be my epic downfall. I would complete first drafts and throw them away, or lose them. When I would complete chapters, they would kind of be too short to include in what I would be happy calling "completed works". So, as any other lazy writer would do, I let them sit. I thought about performing them out as part of a one-man show onstage, but I'd rather just stick to my brick and mortar joke telling style.
I was reading through some old emails the other day and ran across some chapters of the book I was writing. The chapters felt good to read with fresh eyes. I regained confidence in my works and felt like sharing them. These chapters are mostly first drafts or rough revisions, but the points are clear and concise enough to share via internet. So, I decided to post them here for you to check out. I try to show examples of my writing whenever possible because you never know what may become of it. The following is a chapter of my book on parenting regarding children not confessing when asked what happened in a situation where a child may be hurt or injured while playing. Most of these incidents happen to parents so I thought I'd give my spin on it. Enjoy.
Chapter named: "It Wasn't Me"
You're sitting in your living room watching television or reading a paper. You hear children playing, jumping on beds and such. All of a sudden you hear a loud crash and the breaking of what sounds like glass. Then silence. The silence is followed by the whaling cry of your youngest child.
You drop the paper and yell "What just happened?". No response. You yell for the children to come here. Two of your three children walk slowly down the stairs, heads held low. The youngest is still crying upstairs, but much more under control by now. Immediately, you repeat, "What just happened?" The children respond in slight chorus, "It wasn't me."
What you do next is vital to finding out what happened upstairs to cause whatever just happened. The first thing you must do is separate the suspects. Take the oldest child to the next room. Begin the interrogation by letting him know that you already know what happened up there. Don't blink. Stare hard. Remind him that he will be in worse trouble if he lies. Calmly allow him to blame the other child without becoming angry. He will in most cases blame the other child, its all he knows. Shake your head and dismiss him.
Call the other child into the room. Let her know that her brother just told you everything and that all you need is her side of the story. Don't blink. Stare hard. As she begins to cry, let her know you already know what really happened up there. As she begins to blame the other child, let her finish. Tell them both to stay downstairs. Shake your head and dismiss her.
Next, go upstairs to the scene of the incident. Investigate. Ask the youngest what happened. The youngest, in this case, is an inexperienced liar and will most likely accidentally tell you the truth. Praise the child for his courage. Call the other children upstairs to clean to the room. As they clean, render your judgement. Convict the two older children of playing with conspiracy to commit storytelling. Asses them with an extra hour of quiet time. Give a short/sweet lecture on owning up to what happened. Tell them that next time, "It wasn't me." isn't an acceptable plea.
Then, when you go downstairs, and your wife asks, "Well, who was it?" Reply, "I have no idea, but at least I got them to clean up that room."
Chapter titled: The Tooth Fairy
Your kids lose teeth, you lose money.
The tooth fairy can present many problems to the unprepared father. For children, the fairy is the reward for the pain and suffering which is teething. For Fathers, the tooth fairy is having to wake up at 3 am and crawl into your child's bed with a dollar bill, hoping to not wake the child as you lift a slobbery pillow with a decaying tooth placed under it.
The tooth fairy trick has to be planned the night before if you want it to be easy. It all starts with tucking the child into bed. What I prefer to do is to put the tooth in a plastic sandwich bag with a small string (or dental floss) attached. When its time to make the switch, you don't find yourself searching for the tooth.
Another outcome the father must be prepared for is NOT finding the tooth, and still leaving the dollar. When the child arises and finds them both, you have some explaining to do. In cases such as these, you must yell to your wife, "honey, get up here!". Whisper into your wife's ear confused and bewildered as your wife plays along. Explain to the child that in rare conditions, the tooth fairy's pouch (where she keeps the teeth) was full. Tell the child this is rare and is said to have produced good luck for the person who wakes up to find a tooth and a dollar. If the child looks skeptical, let them know it also happened to you. Explain that that was the year Santa brought you the bicycle your Dad said he couldn't afford.
There will also come a time when a child runs into your bedroom at 6am yelling "Dad, the tooth fairy never came!". The secret to pulling this trick off will take coordination from you and your wife, so be ready. Wake your wife up and let her know what is going on. She'll need to be the decoy while you make things right. Next, have her divert the child by calling them into the kitchen for a question about chores they didn't do. If they've done all their chores figure out some question to ask, in the kitchen. While she's throwing distraction, you scurry into the child's room and place the bill between the sheet and the mattress. Scurry back to bed and ask the child to come to your room. Tell the child the dollar has to be somewhere because you heard the tooth fairy laughing as she flew away. The child will deny receiving anything. Tell the child that you will help look for the money. When assisting the child, never go straight to the money. Lift pillows, move blankets, the whole nine. Lastly, in frustration, remove the sheet. As the dollar appears, the child will be surprised and slightly confused. Explain to the child that the pillow must always be under their head or the Fairy will have to leave it somewhere else. If they don't buy that just tell them, "Hey, be glad you got anything. I once didn't leave my pillow under my head and the Fairy didn't leave me anything." Make coffee for your wife, the decoy.
Thanks for reading.
Well, I hope you enjoyed the chapters. Maybe I'll post a few more later. ANyways, leave a comment if you dare, if not, have a nice day.