Parents are some of the biggest, most resilient superheroes around. Think about it, moms and dads, you have a mission – you are sworn to protect and develop your children and yet there are forces out there attempting to thwart your endeavors.
So consider this your dossier on some of the biggest archenemies in the fight against parenthood. Beware — they can get ugly, but be strong, parents. Be strong.
Pets are deceiving. They are loving and furry and all that jazz, but beware these machines of destruction can do more than pee on the carpet. Some are so destructive that they are known to chew toys, gobble food off of tables, and even leave hair on beloved blankets. Not all of these animals are evil, but don’t underestimate their abilities.
It is indeed a necessary evil. Given the opportunity, it can be transformed into a cornucopia of pure evil. Toilet paper is innocent, but small idle hands can find joy in ripping it into small pieces, or attempting to flush an entire roll down the urinary water slide. Also be warned the dangers that can occur when the seat has been left up. Entire children have been known to disappear momentarily in The Bowl of Terror only to reemerge drenched in a filth that not even a hundred showers can remedy. Also, be aware of visiting public potties at large venues; while hand dryers are green and help to reduce litter and germs, their high-pitched screams send many children wet handed into the warm embrace of a parent.
Any parent who has visited an event where face painting is offered knows the inherent danger of this colorful frivolity. Yes, kids love it. Yes, it looks great. However, the line it causes often grinds your experience to a halt. Parents and children must both exhibit extreme patience – especially when your child’s beloved design isn’t available. Be forewarned: On hot days these temporary expressions of personality may melt or get wiped away with sweat. This causes tears. Children have also been known to attempt to avoid bathing because of these facial adornments. Approach with caution.
Whomever invented this device is well trained in the art of torture. Beware these Prisons of Prizes are composed simply of disappointment. They are, at best, a mirage. The worst thing you could ever do is play one of these games … and actually win. They are not only a pit of prizes, but a detention home to your dollars. You will spend at least 400 times the value of ANYTHING you could hope to free from these vaults. Yes, it looks easy, but it is the most basic of all deceptions. When you see The Claw, run. But be sure to take your offspring with you because once they see it, they will go into a trance that you can’t break for less than $10.
They will become the bane of your existence. When your children are small, they can be entertained with images of things that don’t belong to them. However, once they are able to voice their appreciation and undying want of a thing, commercials may become your most ardent enemy. They promise happiness (but no batteries – those aren’t included) and satisfaction, but they are merely the stepping stone to more clutter and unfulfillment in your home. If you let the commercials play, your floor will become filled with trophies that pay tribute as testaments to your inability to say “no.” Commercials may be the biggest threat to your children, home, and pocketbook.
Batteries are traitors. They offer power and give life to various toys, electronics and (most importantly) remotes. Batteries are treacherous because they go unseen and unheard, and, therefore, often forgotten – until they don’t work. They offer a false sense of security – the lie of everlasting life. They make you believe that every time you flip that switch, or hit that button, your toy, device, TV will come to life and be at your beck and call. Be warned: batteries have no master. When they have had enough they will quit with no warning, leaving you in the presence of a sobbing child who repeatedly presses a button (the child version of toy CPR) believing their toy will come back to life. Always keep backups of these traitors on hand, and if you have the capacity, try to fill their ranks with rechargeable batteries. This can help prevent emergency runs at 2 am for that “monster” flashlight that helps your child sleep.
He needs no introduction and his reputation precedes him like the harmonic tunes that fill the neighborhood before his truck arrives. Use caution. The ICM is powerful. This Pied Piper of Pint-size Pleasure is no rookie. He has haunted our parents, their parents, and the grown people that proceeded them. If he had been around, ice cream may have supplanted the apple as the symbol of temptation. When Mr. Softee comes to town, your best bet is to use ear plugs and to lock your doors, but chances are it will be to late once you hear the first note.
A version of this first appeared on Tales From the Poopdeck.