Saturday, January 22, 2011

Waffling Moules-Frites Parenting for Dummies

By now you are all, presumably, well versed in the proper Chinese-mother techniques to create the highly motivated, perfectly smart and super-focused child?
But what if a perfectly smart and perfectly well-behaved child is not what you are seeking? What if you long to be contradicted and questioned? What if your fondest hope is that your beloved daughter scarifies herself with tacky tattoos and runs off with a tantric motorcycle guru? What if you drag your precious son to Karl Marx’ graveside, attend mother-son yoga camp with him and bankroll his tuba lessons, in hopes that he will toss it all away and become known as the Baby Doc of Hedge Funds?
Then where do you turn?
It occurs to you that I might have some words of wisdom on this subject, having produced and raised two offspring who, though smart enough, do perfectly well what they want, when they want and how they want.
How did I accomplish this feat of what I shall now refer to as The Waffling Moules Frites of Franco-Belgic Mothering?
Rule #1: Threaten anything and everything, but never follow through.
Rule #2: When threats do not achieve the desired results try bribery.
Not a rule: Read aloud everything, including the copyright & publishing information.
Merely a Suggestion: Your children can never hear enough about the gruesome deaths inflicted by Diocletian upon the 3rd century Christian martyrs.
Rule #13: Save every scrap of artwork ever produced by your prodigiously gifted offspring, then have the pieces lacquered and turned into fine dinnerware and give this to them as wedding gifts. Gratitude is overrated.
Rule #3.14: Learn how to cook your national dish. If your national has no dish, you are f***ed. Your child will suffer the lifetime consequences of ostracism when he/she fails to delight at his/her school’s Celebrate your Ethnic Origins with Food (enough for 12) and a Recipe (50 copies) Festival.
Advice: Perfume can solve most grooming mishaps. What perfume cannot do, epoxy can fix.

Welcome to the Happy World of Manneken Pis!


William V. Madison said...

Wonderful! I'm tempted to run out and have children, just to test these rules!

Diggitt said...

I rejoice at this post. When asked to produce my national dish for the class Thanksgiving celebration, I did a plate of hot dogs, cut into 30 pieces.

I admired (and pitied) the Indian mother who showed up with a staggeringly beautiful grain pudding studded with almonds and jewellike bits of fruit--only to see the kids cluster 'round the bits of hot dog.

Twenty-two years later, I am still irked by a school curriculum that teaches that Thanksgiving is about food food food and ethnic diversity. Whatever else the gang who put together the Salem Covenant of 1629 and various other documents shared, it was not devotion to ethnic diversity. Our culture's worship of food they would have regarded as a conceit, a frivolity, detrimental to their covenant.

Diggitt said...

Actually, in my home, the Prodigiously Gifted Offspring could not hear enough about neuroscience and the Tudors. Oh, or geology or mergers & acquisitions.

Impossible to communicate the level of PGO's delight in those topics today.