January 18th, 2011
To: The Kids
Re: New Family Policy To Be Effective Immediately
Based on a few serious discussions that have recently taken place between your father and me, I must inform you that there will be some major changes taking place in our household starting today. The reason behind this big shake-up is simple: you’re both major disappointments to us.
And we will no longer live with the humiliation of average children.
Oh, sure, we let you slide for a while. We gave you plenty of breathing space when you were learning to walk and to read and to potty train, but now those salad days are over, man. Like Tina Yothers found out when she reached her teen years, you can only stay adorable for so long. Now you slackers are actually going to have to work at being special. And good frickin’ luck with that.
Because seriously, you two are now 7 and 9-years-old and just what have you accomplished? I don’t see a national chess championship trophy on your dresser. There’s no agent on the line waiting to negotiate your talent deal with Disney. And don’t even get me started on your dismal Olympic chances because we all know the 3-year-old next door with the private archery coach can kick both your asses. Blindfolded.
See, even though you’re both “well adjusted” and “happy” and “enjoying childhood,” has it ever occurred to you how that load of crap makes us look as parents? Has it? Robert Kennedy Jr.’s wife gets to tell people that their 9-year-old son just read the Odyssey and is now writing his own version. You know what I get to tell people? That you can burp the Sponge Bob Square Pants theme song while accompanying yourselves with armpit farts. Isn’t that just terrific? If I were a Tiger Mom, I’d probably push me down and kick me in the crotch until the cops showed up.
“But, mommy,” you’re saying, “maybe the reason we didn’t win the spelling bee or the science fair is because you didn’t forbid play dates or bribe us with an iPhone like the other parents at our school (allegedly) did. It’s not our fault—it’s yours!” And, yes, you’re probably right on that count. I didn’t take the elementary school competitions seriously enough. I didn’t push you to exhaustion. I didn’t hire a reading tutor to make sure you totally annihilated the other first graders in the Read-A-Fun! program, thereby ensuring early admission to Brown and a problem-free future. Yep, that’s all on me, kids.
And to be completely honest with you, I also totally regret all the times I forced you to go outside and whack things with a stick instead of making you do math drills. And all the times I said, “I’m proud of you for just trying your best.” (Which is complete bullshit.) And for letting you only take one after school activity at a time because I need to be home for 5 ‘o clock cocktails every night. For the love of God, I’ve been such a jackass, lazy parent. If I’d been Beyoncé’s mother, she’d probably be working the register at Chik-Fil-A right now. Probably wouldn’t even know how to do those super awesome hair flips, either.
So that’s why we’ve decided it’s now crucial that our family enact the “Policy to Render Excellent Student Success Until Rewards Ensue” (P.R.E.S.S.U.R.E.) system that I created after drinking a pot of coffee and seeing Black Swan three times in a row. Your father and I are still working out the details, but just know that from now on, you can kiss all free time, playing outside and watching anything on TV that isn’t narrated by a British man good-bye. Yep, adios, mofo. It was good while it lasted. In their place, you’ll find private lessons, coaches, tutors, cash outlays, tension headaches, resentment, disharmony and possibly a peptic ulcer before middle school if we’re doing our jobs right.
Just remember boys: achieving excellence isn’t easy. Any former child actor/parolee could tell you that. But once you two finally accomplish something noteworthy enough for us to rub in every other parent’s face until they feel completely inadequate and enact their own PRESSURE system at home, it’ll all have been worth it.
Now go put on your shoes because it’s time for your archery lesson.
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