How do you define a parent? Of course, there’s the biological way, but if our celebrity counterparts have taught us anything this year, a 40 lb. DNA match and Bugaboo stroller a true parent does not make. No, to be a real parent you need to get into character a tad more (ironic isn’t it?). How do you know when you’ve successfully crossed over and truly embraced the biggest role of your life? Here’s my list:
- You don’t know what you’d do if they never invented the phrase “we’ll see.” -- Who is the genius who thought of this? He or she should get a posthumous Nobel Peace Prize. It’s the platinum card of our parental phrase arsenal. Why? Because it allows you to defer the “no” (and the whining) to a later, more convenient time or locale. When a request is made, the answer “we’ll see” is a win-win. The child holds onto the hope that this request may still be granted, and therefore withholds all protest. The parent buys extra time, during which the child may forget about the request altogether, or you’ve made it home, where whining can be sufficiently contained.
- Your currency reference shifts to Bionicle (or other) toys – In my younger days, the CD served as my go-to currency reference. “What? 60 bucks for this shirt? I could buy like 4 CDs with that!” As I got older, it became rounds – “Aw man! I could’ve bought at least 5 rounds with that. I’m never playing blackjack again!” Now that my transformation is complete, my money bitching resembles something more like this: “What? $3.30 a gallon? That’s like 1/3 of a Bionicle!”
How the 'New Rich' Live
- Your criteria for what determines a good restaurant changes—it used to be “oh, they have a great Chilean Seabass, I’ll make a reservation.” (Chaya… *sigh*). Now it’s “they give you a new box of crayons and you can draw on the table! We’re there!” (Macaroni Grill) or “They have big booths so Marcus won’t bother people. It is decided.” (Outback).
- You shake your head and mutter “punks…” as you walk by Emo kids loitering in Old Town Pasadena – oh, sorry, that was for my “How to Tell if You’ve Become a Grumpy Old Dude” list.
- You know what this week’s happy meal toy is (for those of you playing at home, it’s Bee Movie toys).
- When you make your dinner selection at a restaurant, you think about how it pairs with what your kid ordered because you know you’ll be stuck eating half of it. Hmm… should I go with the Steak au Poivre and Chicken Fun Fingers? Oh you’re ordering the Git Along Little Hot Doggies? Maybe the Cedar Plank Salmon might be a more appropriate complement.
- You not only know what channel Noggin, Playhouse Disney and Cartoon Network are on, you can punch those numbers on the remote by feel without lifting your head off the pillow on a Saturday morning.
- You get Wiggles tunes stuck in your head during meetings at work (Bowwow! Bowwow! Bow wow wow wow, do you give a cow a bone? No! Give a horse a bone? No! Everybody knows you give a dog a bone!").
Get thee out of my head Greg Wiggle!!
- The first thing you do at the supermarket or Best Buy is make a mad dash to the shopping cart area to snag a racing car (why do they only have five? That’s just mean).
- Your child becomes your new social litmus test. You dislike people you’d otherwise be ok with because they don’t adore your kid; you like people you otherwise might not get along with because they love your kid (there must be something right with them).
- When you’re crossing the street with your friends, you reflexively extend your arm out in front of them when a car passes by.
- You’ve become really good at cutting fruit.
- You get sympathy anxiety for complete strangers when you see their kid throwing a tantrum at Target.
- The new “best feeling in the world”: after you’ve successfully put your kid to bed.
I’m sure there are a lot more, but my train stop is coming up. I’m sure I missed a whole bunch. Feel free to comment on this post and add your own. I’d love to see them! What makes you think yes, I have truly crossed over?