VC fathering

24 Oct

That not venture capital. My wife’s best childhood friend and their family came to visit this weekend, two startlingly darling kids, two startlingly delightful parents. I know it sucks to say super-nice things about other people’s kids and parenting, since inevitably with something as anxiety-fraught as parenting, if you are too nice, people think you don’t have a realistic view of their lives and kids, and the pressure just ratchets up. And there were a few minor meltdowns, true. But on the other hand, when 5-yr-old daughter scrubbed out the sandwich board sign outside the brunch place this morning, mom gently but firmly made her go to the hostess and tell her, then apologize. Without drama or tears or big deals. Totally well-played all around.

After they left, having given us some vital baby stuff and conveyed both confidence (want!) and information (maybe getting overloaded, but wife loves!), we realized that we’re decidedly lucky to have people like these in our lives. I mean, we know this in our heads, but it’s still a trip to have it demonstrated.

But enough nice. You want to hear the amusing, don’t you? Don’t you?!

While ladies were fussing over registry (and while I was being delightful about that, in the ‘fuck you, you backseat driver!’ sense), I was talking with dad about how they’ve dealt with sleeping issues. I was relating this story, some friends of friends had a bunch of kids, and they said that for the first one, they were all kinds of quiet around bedtime. Then the second, when bedtime got a bit louder, and by the third (and I think, fourth!) they would go ahead and vacuum under the bed while the kids were trying to sleep. And what they found was that the louder they were, the better the kids slept. She was telling me this story with the youngest kid slumped over her arm, while an afternoon party went on around him. And so:

Dad: Yeah, I think I regret a little bit how we did it. We use a sound machine, which totally works. But that means that we’re now locked into bringing that sound machine wherever we go. The thing is, there are lots of times when what’s easier in the short term kind of makes it harder in the long term.

Me: You think it would have been better long-term if you suffered through without the sound machine?

Dad: Oh yeah. I mean, it’s like Vietnam. You do all these little things that make sense at the time, but then you look up and you’ve kind of stuck yourself in a totally fucked up, escalated situation.

Me: Huh.

(Long pause)

Me: Wait, are your kids the Viet Cong in this metaphor?

Dad: (laughing) Fuck. You’re totally going to blog this, aren’t you.

Yep. Thanks for coming, Bostonians. We had a ball.

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2 Responses to “VC fathering”

  1. Kim October 27, 2010 at 10:29 pm #

    Who *are* these people?! I wish I could parent like that. 😉 Seriously, if we all had more square footage and vacation, I’d love for you and E. to spend a week with us to see all the ups and downs…and ups. The whole thing, I’m not gonna lie, is exhausting and overwhelming and inexplicably exhilarating and meaningful. And lots of times, just plain silly. I’m excited to start learning from you guys–we already do, but it’ll be cool to see you Peterize parenting. If how you are with our kids is any indicator, you’re going to be a natural. Love you guys!

  2. Peter October 28, 2010 at 11:49 am #

    I think Peteriz, without the ‘e’. I can be like the Simoniz of parenting. A couple of quick coats, and your kids will never know what hit ’em.

    Yes yes, by all means it sounds like it’d be a treat to get the ups and downs. Actually, just give us the downs – a parade of A&K melt-downs and bad days. So far you’ve been altogether too nice about providing just the good times.

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