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Date archive for: September 2012

Go, Losers!

Men are supposed to be the logical ones. The more rational sex. And to the extent that they’ll fetch a tool or phone a repairman when something breaks — as opposed to weeping, repenting to the callous gods of karma, and then yelling at it, as I typically do — I concede that guys are largely governed by reason.

But when football season begins, their logic vanishes like a bowl of Hot Wings Doritos in front of a flat screen on a Sunday afternoon. (I know, I’m generalizing. Brace yourself because I’m going to do it some more.)

Football fans spend four months of every year hooting and rooting for teams that they’ve chosen to support for cockamamie reasons.

“Where I grew up, I was a Bears fan. It was expected of me. It was the right thing to do.” … “I bought my son a Broncos sweatshirt when he was 3. He’s still a fan.” … “I’ve liked the 49ers since I was young because games in Kezar Stadium looked so glorious when it was snowing in my native Ohio. And the red and gold looked much better than the hideous schemes offered by the Bengals and the Browns.”

Implicit obedience? Wardrobe attachment? Color schemes? These are dudes we’re talking about — right?

They pledge their undying, unsound fidelity to a team because it’s the one their dad rooted for. Or rooted against … whichever. My husband still flies the Raiders flag because, as a boy, he loved Ken Stabler’s nickname, “The Snake.” My sons chose their teams because “I wanted an underdog” and “my best friend hates them.”

Continue reading Go, Losers!

Kid Herding

Never mind the baby books. Forget the motherhood magazines. Everything I needed to know about parenting I learned from other parents. Wiser parents. Parents who went before me, hacking through the murky jungles of momhood with the Machete of Courageous Experimentation and calling back to me each time they lurched into the Quicksand of Poor Parenting: “Okay. So you’re gonna need a rope …”

When I was pregnant, a friend advised me to get a pedicure because I’d be spending countless hours of labor staring at my feet in stirrups and would be disheartened if — on top of soul-splitting, sanity-rattling, life-begetting contractions — I had icky toes. I got the pedicure, and the merciful, thank-ya-Jesus foot massage that went with it. It was the best advice I ever got.

The best advice my husband ever got also came while I was pregnant. An experienced dad told him, “Listen, there will be a moment when you have a strong urge to hurl your crying baby at the wall. Sounds crazy, I know. Just trust me, it’ll come. And here’s all you need to remember: Don’t do that.” We figured the guy for a nut-job until … it came. And my husband heeded the advice — relieved to know he wasn’t the only frustrated father to have ever needed it.

Even now, with my oldest entering high school, I’ve benefited from the been-there-learned-that counsel of my friends with older kids: Take Spanish in the summer, bring blankets to the football games, and choose water polo for PE; it’s the only sport where your kids come home nearly clean.

Continue reading Kid Herding