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A Parenting Guide

by Albin Johnson

Old Noah (no last name) was wise enough to gather one of each gender to repopulate a devastated world. When the water receded, he said, "git and begat!" Awhile later a younger Noah (Webster) describes a parent as a father or mother, a precursor, a progenitor, and a protector. I suppose he assumed that the reader would heed old Noah's words.

Almost any male over the age of 14 (sometimes younger) has the equipment to procreate or "beget". Most generally the female gender is receptive to the male partner's spermatocyte and will nourish any resultant zygote into the GREATEST MIRACLE in nature. Now that seems like a damn simple task, yet it has taken generations of intellectual sociologists, moralists, devout clerics, and medical precisionists, plus dumb blind reasoning to "BAM", take it up a notch and start real parenting. This is something neither Noah's seemed able to define.

Continuing on, new parents will face a loss of sleep and freedom. There is formula and warm milk, stinky diapers and often a discontented baby who will not stop crying. Oh yes, there are also the "have all the answers" in-laws. Most men and an occasional woman will never adjust to those first 12 months. They know they are parents but can't quite grasp parenting. What does that lack of understanding mean anyway? The best answer I can think of is to lay the blame for your shortcomings directly on the kid's grandparents. After all they were the ones who caused you!

Women are genetically formed and given the right to birthing. They have a personal vested interest to do their best to raise that child. What do men do? I'm not sure, but did you know that it was actually Rhett Butler in GWTW who said, "I don't know nothing about birthing no baby." Thank God for mothers.

Now let us move on and offer some sage advice to the younger set of "would be" parents. Start immediately after conception to call, send notes and cute cards and generally warm up to your parents. Keep them informed concerning any hot flashes, vomiting, food cravings and most certainly each little baby movement. Keep this up for all those 275 or so days, (and nights too). Grandmas eat this up, but grandpas may need a bit more convincing to overcome the memories of that pain in the #@&+>% you kids were when growing up.

I know these things because I am a father of four and a grandparent of eight. I also know that MACHO man melts when that tiny package of warm flesh is first placed in his arms. OK, so grandmothers know all about how to "grandparent" this wonder of life-changing extraordinary event. Grandpas may need more convincing. Here are some remedies that worked for me. I started thawing when they would run and give those little hugs and pecks on my cheeks. I'm not wild about my birthdays, but Father's day is good. School magazine sales are iffy, but cookies and candy sales are fine. Zoo visits are fine but rock music is far, far "out". Introducing that clean-cut, shy young boy or girlfriend is in, just don't show me navel plugs or tattoos. Don't tense up if I ask to touch that spiky pointed hair, or pull the earplug on their radio or turn those damn phones or game boys off. There can be exceptions especially if they tell me how great seeing me at their soccer and ball games. Those prompt thankyous for the birthday saving bonds sent each year are well received by grandpa.

So, it is my advice to grandchildren that they should observe grandparent's rules, no matter what their parents tell you about all the terrible things they had to endure growing up. All those feeble efforts to discredit us should fall on deaf ears. On the up side, grandparents will listen to all those stories about how mean their parents are. We have the right to know. Don't push that recourse too far. Just keep in mind that "good behavior goes hand in hand with basic economics".

My last bit of sound advice to not tempt fate and ask grandparents for money. At best it will ignite a very long and sad tale about how grandpa was only 7 when he cleaned mortar off of 2000 grade school building bricks for 1 cent apiece and then offered the $20 to my parents to help pay for my upbringing. You can dream, and who knows what may happen. Right? And grandpa will offer to baby sit your kids too. HA