What I’m reading

“Never would [my parents] have blindly defended me or even asked for my side of the story, as that would have put me on the same level as the adult. If a strange man accused you of doing something illegal, you did it. Or you might as well have done it. Or you were at least thinking about doing it. There was no negotiating, no ‘parenting’ the way there is now. All these young mothers chauffeuring their volcanic three-year-olds through the grocery store. The child’s name always sounding vaguely presidential, and he or she tends to act accordingly. ‘Mommy hears what you’re saying about treats,’ the woman will say, ‘but right now she needs you to let go of her hair and put the chocolate-covered Life Savers back where they came from.’ ‘No!’ screams McKinley or Madison, Kennedy or Lincoln or beet-faced baby Reagan. Looking on, I always want to intervene. ‘Listen,’ I’d like to say, ‘I’m not a parent myself, but I think the best solution at this point is to slap that child across the face. It won’t stop its crying, but at least now it’ll be doing it for a good reason.’ I don’t know how these couples do it, spend hours each night tucking their kids in, reading them books about misguided kittens or seals who wear uniforms, and then rereading them if the child so orders. In my house, our parents put us to bed with two simple words: ‘shut up.'”

– David Sedaris, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls


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