The Cheerio-flinger mentioned in this post about how NOT to read a thriller reminded me of this Blast From The Past.
Free Parenting Advice–Barb Taub, Champaign-Urbana News Gazette, February 8, 1981:
Since I’ve been writing this column, I have occasionally offered free advice on child-related matters. Apparently some of you don’t realize that such advice is worth what you pay for it and, being gluttons for punishment, have asked for more.
Q: Do you have any advice about taking children into restaurants?
A: Yes. Don’t.
Q: But what if you HAVE to take children into restaurants?
A: Let’s analyze what could possibly make you – theoretically an adult capable of life-appropriate decisions as complex as which shoe goes on which foot – take a child into a restaurant:
- You’re on the road, miles from home and anybody you know.
- You’ve worked 138 hours since last Thursday PLUS the time you spent at the office and you just want a nice, civilized meal that doesn’t come on little pierce-film dishes in packages labeled “Le Yuppie Lite”. Out of common humanity, we must consider case #3. (In case #1, you can only hope that it isn’t hereditary and in case #2, who cares?)For those of you who find yourselves in the position of appearing in public with offspring who make Genghis Khan look like a date for Miss Manners, I have a few tips:
Never eat in a restaurant with ferns. They have obviously been put there to hide something, like the fact that the entrees come on little pierce-film dishes. (This advice is part of The Meaning of Life and was given to me by Great Aunt Fanny, a cosmopolitan globe-trotter. If you cannot come up with an Aunt Fanny of your own, you will be reduced to taking advice from some total stranger in a blog.)
Don’t change the baby’s diaper on the table even if the eau d’baby is causing strong men at nearby tables to pass out.
- Unless you don’t want the rest of your meal to be served until the next shift has arrived, it is also not a good idea to hand the offending diaper to your waitperson, especially if the baby is still in it. Remember: even though they pretended to admire your baby, the staff is probably out in the kitchen laying bets on whether the kid looks more like Alfred Hitchcock or a pit bull. The winner gets to spit in your soup.
Q: A colleague will not talk about anything except the respective merits of different brands of disposable diapers. What can we do?
A: This is yet another shocking example of the effects of massive sleep deprivation. This person, once a human being, is now a parent and thus no longer capable of normal conversation. You should help him by taking every opportunity to tell him about your vacations in the south of France, visits to three and four-star restaurants, and the latest concerts or Broadway hit shows that you’ve attended. Also, he would be very interested in your new sports car and high-tech audio equipment and will probably be sympathetic to your concerns about the best tax strategies for your wide-ranging investment portfolio.
A word of caution – among very new parents whose metabolism hasn’t adjusted to going months at a time without any sleep, the above therapy has been known to result in assault or even homicide charges.
Q: My husband wants to get a train set for our son, who is 2 ½ months old. Do you think this is a good idea?
A: Frankly, I’m amazed that your husband has waited this long. A recent scientific study by the Bureau of GSWLOTGMTUU (Government Scientists With Lots of Tax-funded Grant Money to Use Up) has indicated that in many cases news of a woman’s positive pregnancy test causes a hormonal reaction in the husband which makes him crave model trains. This condition is characterized by changes in his speech patterns, producing sounds such as “HO Gauge” and “Lionel”. Although scientists have documented cases of fathers who have been in the basement working on “the kids’” trains since the Korean War, this situation is generally not considered life-threatening unless the victim also starts talking about “environment accessories” or “landscape layout”. If this occurs, emergency intervention is necessary. With electric-shock therapy, many of these tragic cases can again become contributing members of society.