This is a new segment I’m starting called #ParanoidParenthood.
I’ve been a father for a little over 2.5 years and I can honestly say that it’s one of the most interesting learning experiences of my life. Unfortunately, when you procreate, you don’t get a step-by-step guide to raising a model child. This is where my paranoia steps in.
Am I doing this wrong?
Is he going to hate me for this?
Will I ever sleep in again?
There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call #ParanoidParenthood.
My Backyard, 1pm on a Sunny Summer Sunday
I kicked the soccer ball towards my son, but he turned and ran in the opposite direction. Nice.
“Come back this way, buddy,” I said as the ball began to roll back down the slight incline of my yard.
“Rock, Dad!” he shouted back before squatting down and attempting to unearth it.
“Oh yeah,” I said, making my way over to him. “The rock is stuck in the dirt.”
He signaled that he wanted me to help him pull it out of the ground. I squatted down beside him and pulled the rock free. I handed it to him.
“Rock!” he exclaimed.
“Yeah! Rock!” I said.
Then he pointed back to the ground. “Bug!”
I looked down at the hole left behind after my excavation. “Oh, yeah. There were ants under that rock.”
“Bug!” he cried, his expression and tone becoming more desperate. He mimed stomping them with his feet and pointed suggestively. “Bug, Dad! Bug!”
I really don’t want to kill these ants, I thought. “They’re crawling away.”
“Bug! Bug!” he screeched as if my refusal to take out the threat had compromised our safety.
I reluctantly stomped one. My stomach turned as it thrashed about. With his encouragement, I hunted down and slaughtered the second and third.
Satisfied with my work, he turned and pointed. “Rock, dad!”
As we continued our playtime, I grew concerned that I was teaching him to kill helpless animals. Am I raising a serial killer? Where does this end? At ants? Lizards? I thought of my cat. Will he want me to snuff out the cat next?
I’ve killed my fair share of insects, arachnids and the like, but the older I’ve become, the more I’ve felt the need to preserve life ― even these small lives that most people think of as pests. Here I am, compromising on my convictions to pacify a toddler.
“Bug, dad!” he yelled again.
I know that children all around the world kill ants and small bugs everyday and a very small percentage of them grow up to be homicidal. But what if my son is the exception?
My son will be a case study for abnormal psychology researchers at Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
I’ll be the feature for Parenting Magazine in 2035. “This parent made a grave mistake that led to his child growing into a blood-thirsty monster.”
In two hundred years, parents will tell their kids: “Don’t kill that bug! You don’t want to end up like that Wilbourne child, do you?”
What About You?
Are you raising a killer?
Am I raising a killer?
How do you keep your toddler from killing small animals?
If a tree falls in milan and no one’s there to turn it into a beautiful work of architecture, does it make a sound?
Let me know in the comments below!