Dec. 16, 2017 at 10:30 p.m.
Updated Dec. 14, 2017 at 2:41 p.m.
Here is the thing they never tell you about being a parent (or at least not in an official pamphlet form): Once you get to a certain point, past the "I just really need both of us to survive this" stage, you will spend the majority of your parenting time arguing.
Arguing about very stupid things.
For example, say you buy your small child a sprinkled donut. Because he INSISTS he wants a sprinkled donut. But then he hands it back to you and wants you to take off all the sprinkles. All the sprinkles off the sprinkled donut that he REALLY TRULY wanted. Because he apparently only likes the ghostly essence of sprinkles on a sprinkled donut.
Because 3-year-old logic.
Now, as a parent, you have several options here.
You could flat-out refuse, because it's a ridiculous request. Which will likely lead to a stupid argument and end in a tantrum (yours or his).
You could try to reason with him, which will likely lead to a stupid argument and end in a tantrum (again, yours or his or, let's be honest, both).
And lastly, you could just shut up and do it. Which means every time you get donuts now, he will ask for a sprinkled donut and ask you to take off all the sprinkles. Which means, six months from now, you will likely have a mental breakdown as you are scraping sprinkles off the 27th donut, and while you are busy rocking back and forth in the corner, sucking your thumb and sobbing, your small child will turn to his father and ask HIM to take off the sprinkles. Which Daddy will likely refuse to do (because he's not an idiot). Which will lead to an argument and a tantrum as they are driving you to the nearest asylum.
Sigh. In case it wasn't already clear, there are no winners in these kinds of scenarios. Only survivors.
And yes, I know. Hey, man, with kids, you have to pick your battles. But that's the thing. I already am picking my battles. Which is how he won the stupid pizza argument.
What's the stupid pizza argument? So glad you asked. The stupid pizza argument began because my 3-year-old claims to LOVE pizza. But what he really means is he loves pizza crust. And only the crust. If there is even the tiniest remnant of cheese or sauce or anything that actually makes a pizza a pizza, he will hand it back and ask you to remove it. It doesn't matter if your big 'ol dumb adult eyes can't see this alleged speck of sauce. You are to remove it. All of it. And he will hand it back to you over and over again until not even one of those nerds on one of those CSI shows could find trace elements of sauce.
I know, I know. Ha! Ha! Kids, huh? They're so funny with their weird quirks. But wait! There's more! Because once the pizza crust has been professionally picked clean, he will then proceed to dip it into a small bowl of pizza sauce.
No matter how much I explain the irony, my son doesn't get it. So, do we go through this whole ritual every single time we have pizza? You bet your happy ass we do. Because you have to pick your battles.
But you can't always give in either. Because then they know that they own you. Which, hey, may not seem that bad now. But wait until they're 17 and you're having the stupid "being a DJ is not a career" argument and they won't listen to you because you decided when they were 3 that it was just easier to pick the sprinkles off the stupid donut.
Which is why you simply can't give in during the stupid "stop saying shut up" argument even though you know how stupid it is and even though everyone is staring at you because you are the crazy person yelling at your son to shut up about saying shut up because only grown ups can say shut up so knock it off and shut up because I am gradually going insane and so many brain cells are committing suicide right now.
And so, in conclusion, alcohol is terrific. Cheers.
Aprill Brandon is a columnist for the Advocate. Her column runs every two weeks in the Your Life section.