There are many, many things in life that I do not enjoy, including but not limited to: temperatures below 65 (you will never catch me skiing, although rosy cheeks are a really good look for me, and I’ve always thought I would look cute in a rustic cabin with a mug of spiked cider in my fingerless-gloved hands), any activity that bumps my heart rate over its usual 90 beats per minute (unhealthy, though I tell myself that having the BMI of a cricket reduces the likelihood of an eventual stroke), large crowds (I dare you to tell me it’s fun being at a street fair, when all you want is an apple dumpling, but instead your dumplings get felt up more than they did in high school), and watching Lifetime movies (listen up, Buttercup, no man will EVER chase you to the airport, buy a ticket just to get through security, and profess his love to you at the gate à la Ross and Rachel).
Here’s the thing about all that: once you have a kid, nobody really cares what you do or don’t like. I mean, it’s not like you can say to your toddler: “Hey Sweetie, how about if you read quietly to yourself while Mommy watches the Channing Tatum E! True Hollywood Story?” There’s a much better chance that your kiddo will suggest a trip to Chuck E Cheese, and you will end up forking over cash with one hand, while using the other to Google how safe it is to spray your child with Lysol, and whether they make Haz-Mat suits in a size 3T.
That’s not to say you can’t attempt to mold your child into your Mini Me when he is young and impressionable. Can you imagine the relief you would feel if your child asked you to turn on some Amy Winehouse instead of a VeggieTales CD when you’re stuck in traffic? (Sidenote: If a blind cat playing with a ball can get 1 million YouTube views, imagine the goldmine you are sitting on when your 4 year-old belts out ‘Rehab’.) What about the pride your would feel when some peppy Mom asked your kiddo if he wanted to go to the petting zoo and he sincerely said: “No thanks, I’m not really a joiner.” (What? When I was 5, my parents took me to visit a friend’s farm. What they didn’t tell me was that goats are like ninjas, and if they sense any weakness, they will strike. Trust me, you only have to be chased by a goat once in your life to harbor a lifelong grudge.)
A few months ago, we were at a sports-themed birthday party. My son threw a fit the week before, the day of, and in the car on the way there. Did I want to go? Of course not. It was raining, I was having a great hair day, and the last thing I wanted to do was fake enthusiasm for Go-Karts and batting cages. (The last time I faked interest in anything was during a camping trip with my high school youth group. The thought of no toilets and mosquitoes made me want to stab myself with a fork, but there was a really hot guy in that group. I had this whole Reality Bites seduction planned, but when he told me he only liked me as a friend, I caught a bus to a hotel faster than you can say Baby I Love Your Way.)
But guess what? My kiddo and I had a fab time riding the Go-Karts. And he got a Hole-In-One at miniature golf. This doesn’t mean I’m going to let him get a pet goat, or take him skiing. But maybe next time he wants to listen to Justin Bieber in the car, I will give in.
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