also appearing on keeping your cool

My brother bought me a book How to Raise Children At Home In Your Spare Time. The humor is so dry it's tasteless, which is my favorite kind. The other cool thing is that the author, Marvin J Gersh, MD, looks like Lurch.

Lurch--er, Gersh takes a casual approach to child rearing, which is how I take it, too. I mean, it should be fun, at least part of the time.

One of the quotes on the back says how the book emancipates parents again. Really, maybe they should reprint it. People are so damned serious about their little shi--, darlings, that they have lost all sense of fun. All these retired power-mommies run their three-year-olds around from playgroups to piano lessons, packing snacks and powerbars and wondering how they'll fit in toilet training, what with the schedule and all.

I just heard a review about those BabyMozart DVDs and how the company did no research on television, or even their brand of television, on small children. People seem to think every second should be a learning moment, doubletasking fun and learning like the kid is running out of time or something. (Phonics placemats to little toilet letters for the kid to aim at with his pee.) (Ok, I made that up, but really, it's not so far out there.) The reporter did extensive research and her stunning conclusion: little kids really just want to hang out by their folks. Notice the preposition by as opposed to with. To be clear, I loathe playing with my children. I just feel stupid sitting there with my half-dressed Barbie making small talk. They don't need me. They can play alone or with friends or with each other. Kids are supposed to play with kids. I also loathe sleeping with my kids. I've slept with each of them perhaps twice and it was four times too many.

HTRCAHIYSP also has great chapter titles. "When Kids Should Be Shot." "How Many Times Is Normal." My kid had just dropped the f-bomb (I have no idea where he heard such language!) and when I opened the book, I turned right to the chapter entitled "Oh, He Said A Naughty Word." There's "How To Camp Out With Your Kids, or Not Be A Square Parent." That one's about what not to say, As in "IF YOU EVER..." or "When I was your age..."

Oh, and on sex he says, ...convinced that the varieties of sexual behavior are probably infintite, and I feel that adults ought to be allowed to engage in any activity that doesn't frighten the horses in the street. (Street sex in the country: Out. Check.) He also points out that he's talking about adults, not kids. He says he described sex to his kid and she said, "That's odd." Which it, in fact, is.

The most important thing he says, still in the sex section, but it applies to overall child rearing is To be perfectly realistic, I don't expect them to behave the way I would like now and forever; they are subject not only to other influences but to the sheer contrariness which makes every generation react against its elders. However, I would try to influence my children as much as I can.

That there is freaking brilliance. I think my bro got his 69 cents worth.

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