Chores.

In the real world, people have to work to earn. Those earnings allow you to purchase necessities like food, clothing, shelter, utilities, gas, insurance, and other great stuff. So why would you inadvertently teach your child that all this stuff is free? That’s not an appropriate way to ready any child for the sometimes cruel and harsh real world.

As a matter of fact, the shock of leaving a comfortable environment and transitioning into something that’s not quite as easy may be a leading cause of depression in young adults.

My wife and I were bicycling through an upper-class development one Saturday morning, envying the beautiful landscaping many of these homes displayed. We were sure each of these uppity homeowners hired a landscaping firm to keep their lawns and foliage very tidy. As we turned a corner, we saw someone weeding the front flowerbed. It was a Caucasian teenage boy who couldn’t have been more than fourteen. He had a bucket and was diligently pulling grass and weeds from where they didn’t belong. As we passed by, he turned and smiled at us, as if he was actually enjoying this chore. I was so moved I nearly fell off my bicycle and puked. I wanted to meet these parents and learn more about their parenting style, and congratulate them on doing the right thing.

Your best bet is to assign each child a chore. Teach them the value of hard work. The chore should be appropriate to the child’s age, maturity, and physical build. If your kid isn’t quite tall enough to reach the sink, he probably shouldn’t be doing dishes just yet. Graduate them into new and more difficult challenges when they’re ready.

Quality assurance is very important in the real world, so you will need to stress that any assigned chores must be done thoroughly and correctly, or they’ll need to be redone. A child might blow through doing dishes leaving yucky food particles on plates or silverware, or neglect to dry and put away washed pots and pans. This is unacceptable. Share the failures with them, and explain why they’re failures, and have them do the chore again until it is correct.

There are plenty of progressively more difficult things to do that any child can safely help with if you’ve properly trained and supervised them. Here is a list of various things that children can do around the home.

  • Keep bedroom clean and picked up
  • Pick up bags, cans, glasses, and personal belongings
  • Empty bedroom and bathroom trash cans
  • Vaccuum carpets and sweep floors
  • Mop wet areas
  • Rinse dishes, load and unload dishwasher
  • Wash, dry, and fold laundry
  • Wash windows
  • Dust tables, counters, lamps, decorations, and electronics
  • Put trash and recycling on curb on appropriate days
  • Weed flower beds
  • Feed, water, bathe, and care for pets
  • Clean toilets, bathtubs, sinks, and shower stalls (age 14 or older)
  • Mow and edge lawn (best if age 16 or older)
  • Anything else that constitutes “doing the right thing.”

20121221_210852The last chore on the list is the most important one. If you see a piece of trash laying on the floor, a wet towel placed somewhere it shouldn’t be, or bathroom stuff left on the bottom of the stairs to be carried up, your child must be trained to never ignore it, but do the right thing, without asking. It’s purely common sense. We frequently set up situations like this and allow our children to encounter them to test them. If we see them do the right thing, we applaud them. If they miss it, we let them know, and inform them they have not demonstrated an appropriate responsibility. The next time they ask for something or to do something they want to do, we remind them of the list of common sense things they failed to do, and base our decisions on the weight of their successes and failures.

Should you give them an allowance? It is a good way to teach kids the value of money. Instead of creating the illusion that your money supply is endless and catering to their every whim, let them learn how financial transactions work. It is an important lesson teaching them that once it’s gone, it’s gone. Let them know that part of their allowance includes things that may appear transparent to them, like smart phone data plans, access to your home internet, and cable television. Failure to complete chores is like failing to go to work. As a result, earning no money results in loss of these utilities until the work has been satisfactorily completed.

Most schools don’t teach students how to balance a checkbook. We opened a checking account and issued our kids ATM cards. Any gifts or allowances are deposited directly into those accounts, and they are responsible for balancing them.

You may face significant resistance. In our house, it was not uncommon to hear things like “But I didn’t use those dishes, so why do I have to wash them?” Or, “I didn’t make that mess, so why do I have to clean it up?” Or, “Can’t I just do my own laundry?” Interestingly, those same chores were done with glee and zero complaints when one of our kids was at a friend’s or boyfriend’s house when asked. And our kids felt it would be acceptable to clean dishes at a restaurant “because you get paid there.”

Nipped that in the bud. One night, I grabbed a piece of paper and wrote each of our children a bill for dinner that night. “That’s about what you would pay for food and drink like this at a restaurant. And don’t forget my tip.” I then collected all the cell phones and told them, “I don’t use these phones, so why do I have to pay for them?” Finally, I unplugged the internet and the cable television, because since I would do all the chores that night, I was the only one entitled to “get paid.” The looks on their faces were priceless. They were chore free, but they were left bored without their favorite pastimes. The kids eventually recognized the err of their ways, apologized, and never complained about chores (within my earshot) again.

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Discipline — With Teeth.

They're so good... when they're sleeping.
They’re so good… when they’re sleeping.

Are you friends with your child? Do you consider yourself “cool” and “hip” and “one of the kids?” Do you engage in conversations on their level, and keep up with the latest trends in celebrities, music and fashion?

Then you’re a damned fool and a complete failure as a parent. Put your kids up for adoption immediately before you cause any further damage.

One not too bright mother made all the rookie mistakes. Beverly allowed her daughter to begin dating unsupervised at 14. She gave her a brand new car at age 16. Beverly considered herself a “cool” mom, so she decided against issuing a curfew. Beverly allowed her daughter to stay in a house that she rented for her at the Jersey Shore for two weeks each summer, completely UNSUPERVISED. What the hell was this woman thinking? Maybe she had a little too much antidepressant in her morning coffee. Any teen would think this was fabulous! But poor Beverly is now the talk of all her former friends as the mom who unwittingly created a substance-abusing irresponsible unemployable bitch who ultimately ruined her ex-husband and her daughter’s life too.

Never forget that until your child is a legal emancipated adult living away from your home, you are the boss. You NEED to be the boss. Your child subconsciously WANTS you to be the boss. Although it’s easier and may seem “cooler” to be your child’s friend, this is the single biggest mistake any parent can make. When they’re grown and have families of their own, then you can be friends. But for now, your child really wants and needs you to be in charge. Although they’ll never understand or admit it, most children feel more secure when you position yourself as a figure of authority. Authority teaches them to be more responsible. This will help them become better adults and hopefully responsible parents.

There is a trick. You can’t hold the reins so tightly it causes a rebellion. It’s a very delicate balance. I believe in a progression of freedom. You demonstrate to me that you can handle certain gradually more complex situations and responsibilities, and I will allow you graduated incremental freedoms. If you can’t get good grades, keep your room clean, and do the dishes properly and without me nagging you, why in hell would you think I’m going to allow and pay for you party with your friends until 1 AM? You need to communicate this method with your child, and make sure he or she understands exactly what is expected from them. Pay very close attention, and punish or reward accordingly.

You will run into significant resistance. Many of your child’s peer’s parents will not enforce any rules, and your child may think that normal. Naturally, they’ll become jealous. I blatantly tell my kids the truth — the other parents don’t care about their kids. I ask them, “Wouldn’t you rather have parents who care about you?” They think about this for a while, and usually agree. If they disagree, I’ve learned to slap their silly misdirected ambitions down anyway.

Unfortunately, in America, we can no longer whack kids with a belt when they’re out of line. We can’t even threaten to whack kids with a belt when they’re misbehaving. And thanks to several misguided liberal judges and their now silly precedents, we can’t even say words that might even elude to the usage of a belt or any other device, because that might technically be construed as “assault” with the threat of using an instrument of cruel and unusual punishment. As a matter of fact, if a child even feels slightly threatened, no matter what kind of havoc that child has directly caused, they’ve been conditioned to call the police on their parents to report domestic violence. And many do. You need to be aware of this. Just make sure that your children are well aware that if they call the police and you’re arrested, your kids will be immediately removed from their comfortable and familiar environment, lose all their toys and privileges you’ve been paying for, and they’ll be placed in a potentially shitty foster care situation. That should make them think twice about calling 911 the next time you punish them for forgetting to do a chore.

Heck, if your kids really suck and are too far gone to recover, maybe you should call 911 on yourself, tell the police you’re about to beat the living shit out of your belligerent 17 year-old drug addict child, and have yourself arrested. I am aware of a situation where this actually happened, and with a few other strange twists, actually worked out for the mom and her husband. The kid’s out of the house, not breaking down any more doors, and the parents are finally rested and seem very happy. Punkin’ is now in rehab. Perhaps that infant circumcision is payment in advance for all the grief some sons will inevitably cause their parents.

When you see parents ask their kids to do or not to do something and the child looks back and sneers, it’s because our society has removed the teeth of discipline. We are now faced with a few generations of people with no fear of civil or religious retribution. Wonder why our prisons are so crowded? Our bastardized Constitution has unintentionally produced a culture of citizens who are ill-suited for society.

Be that as it may, you should not make the same mistakes. Know that even though your disciplinarian hands are tied, there are still quite a few very effective tools in your arsenal.

Always try reasoning first. Tell them why you don’t want them to do what they think they should be doing. Project the long-term effects of a potentially bad decision.

For example, your 16 year-old daughter wants to go to a nighttime beach party or bonfire with a bunch of classmates. You ask who’s organizing the party, and you find that it may be a student, and not a parent. But she quickly corrects herself, and says a parent. You ask for the parent’s phone number to verify, but she doesn’t have it, and thinks it would be weird if you called. You decline permission on the grounds that it is technically illegal to have a party on the beach without a permit. Further, it’s a bad idea to be in the dark with a bunch of strangers, and chances are some idiot will bring alcoholic beverages, which could lead to fights, stupidity, physical harm, and a potential arrest.

She still can’t comprehend the problem, because nothing bad ever happens on the Disney Channel during beach parties.

You delve further into the possibilities. Dark areas could be an invitation for rape – a beach is a public place, and people other than your classmates may be there. Inadvertent physical harm from being in the wrong place at the wrong time during a fight, such as a thrown broken beer bottle, could lead to permanent disfiguration of her face or body, and who wants that? And an arrest on her record could hurt her job opportunities or her chances to get into the college of her choice.

Teenage brains are not wired to consider all these real-world circumstances, so it’s your job to do the thinking for her.

Listen carefully to their response, if they’re offering one. They may have the maturity to make the right decisions, apply the right care and reasoning, and ultimately offset your concerns. Or their argument might not be valid, but offer your counter reasoning as a discussion. Remember, it is your job to teach them from your experience so they won’t make potentially silly or damaging mistakes. Remind them of this fact. You might not have enough information to make an informed decision, but you do have the prerogative to decline permission based on that fact, and leave the burden of proof to your child. The delay in permission may give you enough time to avoid the potentially adverse situation.

If reasoning fails, you have the option to offer a substitute, such as a distraction. Play a game. Go to the movies. Have your own supervised (lame) beach party. Be a parent. Most likely, she’ll be mad as hell and storm up to her bedroom to fiercely defend her social status on the social network of the month. She’ll get over it. Bring her some ice cream a bit later, and at least attempt to talk with her. Remind her it’s for her own good, and that you love her with all your heart.

In the event that he or she has already done something stupid or disrespectful, you must show some authority immediately, or they’ll run all over you from this point forward. Yelling and showing your displeasure is typical and can be moderately effective, but it’s not enough. You need to invoke immediate consequences. Depending on the severity of the infraction, you should have a predetermined and reasonable punishment ready to deploy.

You have the power and authority to take away the things they love. You legally cannot and should never deprive them from basic needs like safety, food, shelter, and clothing — but you sure as hell can make that supply of basic needs seem miserable. It’s your hard-earned money and you’re the boss. These are just a few proven punishments that have enough teeth to show you mean business:

  • Ground them from all outside activities except school.
  • Increase chores.
  • Cancel the cable TV.
  • Cancel the data plan on their smart phone.
  • If they need a phone, replace the smartphone with a prepaid flip phone.
  • Change the password to the wireless internet.
  • Physically remove the cable modem.
  • Sell the video game system.
  • Hide the car keys.
  • Remove the car battery.
  • Sell the car.
  • Disallow permission to go to the prom.
  • Don’t pay for any fringe activities.
  • Cancel vacation.
  • Drop them off at your parents before you go on vacation.
  • Sell the dog.
  • Remove their trendy clothes and shoes from their room and replace them with clean and conservative thrift store clothes.

Punishments, although they should clearly suck, should not be unreasonable in severity or duration. Grounding a child for missing curfew should only be a week for a first offense, but let them know the next time may be longer.

Punishments you shouldn’t dole out include:

  • Shooting their laptop on YouTube.
  • Forcing them to stand on a street corner with a sandwich sign.
  • Anything having anything to do with duct tape.

Discipline is a love-hate thing. Children must be taught there are consequences for not doing the right thing. In the real world, you’ve got to compete against everyone else. You don’t yet realize that fact in the comfort of your childhood home.

If they go to work and decide not to do their job, someone else will, and the slacker will be fired. If you get fired, you won’t get paid, and no one will hire you because you’ll have a bad reference. If you don’t have a job, it’ll be difficult to pay rent, eat, buy beer, and make car payments. You’ll lose your cell phone, your internet, and you won’t be able to party with your employed friends.

Welfare averages about $300 a month for a single person. To put that in perspective, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is about $550 a month. You’re already $250 in the hole, and you haven’t eaten or bought toilet paper yet. Never mind your car, insurance, gas, the internet, or your cell phone. They’ll all be gone – you can no longer afford those luxuries.

You want to move back home if things don’t work out? I don’t think so! Make that option as remotely desirable as possible. We’ve already moved and downsized. Or we converted your room into an office. Maybe you could sleep on a couch for a few nights. But we’ll need to charge you rent. And you’ll need to do an inordinate amount of chores to pay for your meals.

Teeth. Feel them bitches.

The Birds, Bees, and Other Bulls***.

Why do you want me to learn how to poop on the potty? I'm fine the way things are!
Why do you want me to learn how to poop on the potty? I’m fine the way things are.

Hopefully, you’re a little older. You’ve finished college and are well on your way to a successful career. By this time, you’ve made all the right decisions and if you are pregnant, you’re very happy to have some alien creature growing in your (or your significant other’s) body. And I personally know you’re going to be a terrific parent, because you’ve taken the right steps and are looking for advice from others.

The young human mating ritual is as follows. Drink copious amounts of liquor to cloud judgment. Against better judgment, continue with poor mating choice. Upon adult maturity, discard poor mate, then repeat process.

Although my maladjusted Eastern European immigrant parents unknowingly sent my adolescent life into a meaningless mistake-filled spiral in this arena, allow me tell you about the birds and the bees, and the flowers and the trees, and all that other happy horsecrap that will do nothing but endeavor to destroy the otherwise productive lives of your teenage sons and daughters. Since your average novels, movies, and television programming have conspired not to tell you the truth, here’s how it goes in the real world. Share this with your kids well before you think they’re ready.

It all begins and ends in the sack. Human mating is inbred physically and cerebrally. And it’s centered around an unique physical and emotional pleasure most mortals find difficult to fight.

From the moment you allow that nasty, self-absorbed one-eyed monster to get into that wonderfully warm cave, you have to consider the fact that there’s always the possibility that you might be creating something you might not want, no matter how careful you might think you are. And that something will be up your butt, consuming a majority of your time, money, and all other resources – yes, sucking the life out of you — for the following 22 years (now longer in many cases).

It’s irresponsible to have sexual relations if you’re not ready to raise a child. And it’s inconsiderate and disrespectful to have relations with someone you’re not at least fairly certain you’d like to partner with for at least 18 years to raise that child. Lots of people tend to overlook that very important fact.

And ladies, feign all the responsibility you’d like, but unless you’ve been raped, the decision to have intercourse is ultimately yours. Keep your legs closed no matter how much he sweet talks you until you’ve got some history and you really know him. Ironically, your teenage brain isn’t yet capable of good judgment and you cannot yet distinguish reality from the pop culture fairytales you were raised on. Regardless, test him repeatedly. Don’t worry about losing him – if he splits because you won’t open the box, he wasn’t worth it.

A young girl, thinking she’s simply entitled to a boy who’s going to fulfill her fairytale relationship (modeled for them and imprinted in their brain by none other than the geniuses at Nick, MTV, and the Disney Channel), is already looking for her soul mate by the age of 11. And she’s ready, willing, and able to do whatever she has to do to get the best looking boy in school (because the teen show producers have inadvertently taught her that’s exactly what she is supposed to do). Of course, boys are already ridiculously horny as a result of Mother Nature’s hormonal confusion, and media-influenced peer pressure makes things even worse.

So we’re left with a paradox — silly teenage girls looking for a perfect boy for a life-long relationship; and boys solely interested in notching their belts to improve their social status so they can be the next generation of Jersey Shore losers. You can tell your daughters this is how it is until you’re blue in the face, and she’s going to think you’re stupid and out of touch. Thanks, media douchebags. Hope your daughters get knocked up too.

This is the conversation you need to have with your teenage daughters. And here are the cold, hard facts you’ll need to cover.

My little darling, relationships are never like they are on TV or in any movie. If Hollywood story relationships were like the real world, they’d be depressing and no one would want to see movies about them. Do you recall ever seeing a well-dressed welfare mom with a racially mixed child living in the projects on any adolescent-skewed cable network? No, and you never will.

Boys under the age of 30 are simply not wired to be interested in long-term relationships, regardless of what they tell you, and how well they fake it. Boys will lie, cheat, and steal to get into a girl’s pants. Unlike you, boys feel ZERO remorse whatsoever for breaking a girl’s heart. They’ll laugh at a girl who’s crying. Every single secret you tell a boy in confidence, be assured he’s going to tell his buddies, and they’re going to laugh at you. Good looking boys, especially athletes, are the worst offenders. They have many more opportunities to be with various girls, so they’re less likely to value your heart or your relationship because there’s always some other dumb chick waiting.

If you get pregnant, YOU will be stuck with the child, and the boy will continue to party. A young girl with a child is still looked upon as a whore by her neighbors, friends, relatives, and potential suitors. Society is a harsh judge of character. A young girl with a child will be shunned by truly good boys and miss many valuable (and fun) social opportunities. A young girl with a child will find it incredibly difficult to finish school or begin a career, cultivating a life of mediocrity or poverty. Babies require full-time attention for about sixteen years, so kiss most of your social life goodbye until you’re “old” like your mom (at least well into your late 30s).

No young boy wants to be a father, especially to another man’s child. There is a very high probability he will not marry you, and even if he did, he won’t stick around. Although I am personally blessed to have some very good responsible friends in this category, in several studies and books including “The Role of the Father in Child Development” by Michael E. Lamb, several citations indicate that young men are less likely to stick around to raise a child largely due to socioeconomic factors.

Boys will brag about oral sex too. One blow job with the wrong guy and you’ll be branded as a whore with a ruined reputation for your entire high school experience.

Boys know that girls with tattoos are open-minded and easy scores. Plus, feelings are temporary, but tattoos are permanent.

Alcohol and marijuana have been proven to impair your judgment. As little as one beer can devastate your common sense and defenses. It’s OK to say no. If it’s not OK, you’re hanging with the wrong people. It only takes one poorly thought-out mistake to ruin your life.

So, my little angel, keep your legs crossed and your mouth closed until your second or third year of college. By then, if you’ve paid attention, you should know how to recognize the difference between good guys and bad guys from the stupid mistakes other students and your friends have made. I’m not saying don’t date and don’t fall in love, I’m saying avoid the more permanent things until you’re old enough, mature enough, and responsible enough to handle the real world. Because when the world comes crashing down on you, Mickey, Cody, Cory, Carly, Charlie, Hannah, Zack, Zoey, or the Situation ain’t gonna be there to help.

Jake had an inkling she was a substance abuser. When they got back together about a year before his daughter was born, he thought she had kicked her habit. She and her mother told him she had been in rehab, and he believed them. At that time, Jake’s naiveté did not allow him to realize that you never really kick a substance problem. He later learned that all substance abusers are very convincing liars.

Long story short – she got pregnant, the timing sort of matched up, so Jake manned-up and married her. He thought it wasn’t that baby’s fault she was brought into this world, so the least he could do was give her a chance.

Jake’s friends and family thought he was nuts. “Get a DNA test! Are you stupid?” But he refused. To Jake, DNA didn’t matter. He decided this was his daughter, and that he would always love her as his daughter, and that’s all that mattered to him. What still bothers Jake the most is she may have abused substances during her pregnancy, which may lead to potential health issues for his child. Jake found several crack vials hidden in a closet and in her bedroom during her pregnancy. She denies using. But she denies everything. Sociopaths always do.

One night, after a tumultuous several months of arguments over her pawning his daughter off to grandmom every day (and night), she tried to stab Jake with a large chef’s knife during an unprovoked drug-induced rage. He managed to disarm her with a chair. She went for another knife, but he slammed her hand in the drawer before she could grab one. She then ran to the bedroom and called the police, telling them Jake was an intruder and he was trying to kill her. Jake thought about leaving, but that might have validated her story. So he waited outside. Lying face down with a mouth full of grass on the front lawn, handcuffed, with about twenty police cars (all with guns drawn) and every neighbor for blocks around staring at him, Jake decided that moment might be a good time to finally leave this crazy woman. The officer in charge took one look at Jake’s ex’s extremely dilated pupils, and then gave him five minutes to grab his clothes while they restrained her.

A day or two later, some dude named “Jimmy” supposedly called Jake from “prison” to tell him his child’s mother was a crack whore. Jake didn’t want to believe him. He asked for proof – thinking he’d never be able to supply it, so Jake could continue healing from his already destroyed life. Jimmy told him he’d have it soon. The next day, there was a knock at Jake’s parent’s front door. When he went to answer it, no one was there. But there was a poster lying on the porch, wrapped in brown paper surrounded by a thin rubber band. Jake hesitated with trepidation, knowing that this could be a pivotal moment in his life that might cause a downward spiral from which he may never recover. But Jake opened the poster anyway. And there she was – in full color – his child’s mother, butt-naked and spread-eagle on someone else’s bed. Jake’s heart sank as this hideous reality he had been denying for years suddenly became real. Jake later found Jimmy sent the same poster to her neighbors, her extended family, her church, and her school’s principal. She must have really pissed Jimmy off.

To this day, twenty some years later, Jake is not certain that his daughter is his biological child. Jake’s daughter and he are now estranged, thanks to her mother and her fabulously convincing fictional fabrications. Her mother has told him several times, usually during heated arguments, that Jake’s daughter is not his child. Jimmy told him the same thing. Jake will never know which words to believe from that woman’s mouth, and she is the only one who will ever know the truth.

Jake says he has no regrets, and chooses to be an optimist. But I bet if Jake could have that night back twenty-some years ago, he would have been at the bar with his buddies rather than with that psychotic crack ho. Several years later, Jake remarried. Another decade later, still gun-shy but a bit smarter, he was talked into having a second child in a more traditional way. And as irony would have it, that turned into a crash and burn too. At least Jake is fairly sure this child is biologically his.

We are human. Therefore, we are fallible. Ensure that you and your children enter every situation with widely open eyes, and collect all the information you can, and then sleep on it. Make the best judgment you can before you make a decision that will affect the rest of your (and your future child’s) life.

The Birth Experience.

In just a few short years, imagine the fun you'll have... just keep thinking that as you're unable to sleep for two full years.
In just a few short years, imagine the fun you’ll have… just keep thinking that as you’re unable to sleep for two full years.

“Oooh, it’s so beautiful. It’s the most amazing thing I have ever seen…” is what you’re supposed to say when someone asks you what it was like to see that bloody and slimy little rat shoot out of your woman’s vagina. Frankly, it’s more like vagina barf, but with a special prize hidden in the mess.

Nine months have passed since you shared your seed, and she’s about due. It’s probably been at least six months since you and future-mom were intimate (she was afraid your huge penis might dent her baby’s head). A few token hand jobs are in no way enough to disguise the fact that the woman you found hot enough to sleep with is now fat, sweaty, miserable, moody, and probably puking in the brand new Subaru station wagon that you hate but she forced you to purchase.

Don’t worry; regret is completely normal at this stage.

Mom-to-be is past the excitement of all the fuss and the baby showers. Now, she just wants that alien being out of her gut. She has taken over your favorite chair because it’s the only place she won’t bitch about being uncomfortable. The rule is if she has to suffer, so do you.

All the sudden, usually at the most inconvenient time possible, she feels wet in the ass. Whoopsie – what a mess. Hold the press! Stop everything! Call the address book! Her water just broke! Never you mind the disgusting mess of DNA and bodily fluid including mucus, urine, poop, bacteria, and even more fun stuff that just destroyed your favorite chair – you’ll tend to that later. It’s always better to give it a day or two to fester. For now, you’d better drop everything because it’s time for mom’s spotlight moment; the normal person’s equivalent to winning an Academy Award. Roll her fat ass into that Subaru and drive like hell to the hospital. This might be the only time you might get a pass for blowing that senseless stop sign at the end of your street with a “California roll,” so use caution, and have at it.

These days, the father is expected to be present during the birthing process. That means daddy too has to prepare for the birth in a human abnormality known as Lamaze class. Supposedly, these classes help pregnant women understand how to cope with pain in ways that both facilitate labor and promote comfort, including the initiation of strange breathing motions that were probably engineered for no other reason but to take mom’s mind off that pain. C’mon, it can’t be any worse than a smug kick in the gonads, or worse, a 6’6” monster named Bubba initiating you into the prison population. Whatever. Just suck it up and bring your pillow and check your attitude at the door at 6 PM every Wednesday night for six painful weeks as you’ll be forced to sit in some Yoga room and hold your woman’s hand and emulate her breathing with eight other pussy-whipped men.

Twenty some years ago, when my first kid was born, it was still optional for the father to be involved in the birthing process. I was present and ready with my Lamaze training like a good daddy. “Breathe, honey, breathe.” I felt like such a fag. But something went wrong. The monitoring hardware indicated that they lost the fetal heartbeat at some point during the early stages of labor. “Sir, you’ll have to wait out here,” said the masculine looking, morbidly obese medical practitioner as she grabbed my shoulder and pushed me out of the room, closing the door in my face. I very loudly and repeatedly asked what the deal was, but was shooed away. “What the fuck?” I yelled, as security quickly approached to investigate the situation.

My daughter’s mother endured an emergency Caesarian section, which for those of you who are unfamiliar with this procedure, is nothing like a salad. It’s essentially major surgery that involves cutting mom’s abdomen open and manually removing the child. In normal “natural” childbirth, the kid stretches and tears the hell out of mom’s vagina in a sometimes nasty hours-long process. But in the event the baby is positioned incorrectly, or if the umbilical cord wraps around the baby’s neck, or any other strange life-threatening malady, they’ll go in and cut the baby out to protect baby and mom.

Today, dads are expected to scrub in and hang out to see the cutting process. I’ll bet that was really cool to watch. I know I could have handled it, because I once dissected a dead frog in a driveway with a rock while I was in elementary school, and that was pretty awesome. I have always wanted to find that manly bitch who pushed me out the room and kick her in her balls.

There’s a new scary trend starting to pop up in upper socioeconomic areas. Many yuppie folks are now opting to have the birthing process at home. It’s a nouveaux way for them to be uppity as they sail back into the fond traditions of generations past. I’m all about natural remedies, better nutrition, exercise and less prescription drugs. But, in this situation, I hope these idiots are within five minutes of a hospital, because both of my kids might have died if we were that selfish. My son spent some time in the neonatal intensive care unit. I was wondering why he was gasping for air and turning blue soon after he was born. Apparently, he was choking on his own poo and we didn’t know it. Fortunately, they were able to clear his airway and pickle him with antibiotics to avoid pneumonia. He spent several days in the ICU unit. He’s a strapping and healthy young man today, but he may not have had that opportunity had he been born at home. Think about that before you let your trendy stay-at-home wife make that potentially fateful decision.

And then there’s the problem of legal torture. Apparently, male infants are not protected against cruel and unusual punishment by the Eight Amendment to the United States Constitution. So the question is left to you — to circumcise, or not to circumcise? Why? Why not? Who cares? The real question is would you let some shithead doctor cut skin of your most private part? That’s got to be painful as all hell! So why would you pay him to do that to your innocent little boy? Many monster doctors don’t even use an anesthetic during a circumcision. And since it technically is a surgery, there are associated risks including blood loss and infection. I’m no doctor, and I don’t have any religious preferences, so here’s the argument in a nutshell. Circumcision removes the natural foreskin on the shaft of the penis, leaving that little “head” part that looks like a mushroom. When you get an adult boner, you can actually still see the scars on your shaft under your head. Go ahead and look at it. Personally, I would have preferred a choice.

Some religious proponents believe a clean penis is holier. If their God didn’t want you to have a foreskin, why did He put it there? Some folks in the medical community justify circumcision as helpful from a sanitary perspective, potentially avoiding infection from bacteria that can hide beneath the foreskin. Opponents say it’s a silly, painful, cruel, and dated ritual with unfounded roots in religion that can adversely affect the sensitivity of the penis during sexual intercourse. If you teach your son to wash his penis thoroughly, he shouldn’t have an issue. Whatever you decide, remember that it is an irreversible procedure. So think about it, discuss it, and choose for your son very carefully.

Eventually, you’ll overdress your baby in that stupid blue or pink outfit and parade it out of the hospital for everyone to see. As you secure the 100 straps in your shiny new baby seat in the back seat of your shiny new Volvo, you’ll get used to the idea that you will be ignored for the next several months. You’ll begin scheming at how you can use this time to golf or play cards with the fellas, but your bubble will quickly pop as you’re expected to be immediately available at her every beck and call. Who said slavery was illegal? It’s alive and well, right here in your own home.

Since everything in America is now grown with or by genetically altered crap, it’s no longer safe to use, gasp, cow’s milk for baby. Even the baby formula you grew up with is being replaced by a nasty, odorless, nearly colorless liquid shooting out of mom’s own udders. Remember all the times you fondly nibbled on those nipples and nothing came out? From this point forward, they’ll never seem quite the same, you sick perverted bastard. How could you? That cute, adorable, helpless little munchkin will be suckling on those nips for sustenance, day and night, for the next several months.

Oh, and sex? Forget it. Better find a quiet place and some magazines, because the pleasure palace is closed indefinitely. Remember, you were there, a nine-pound turkey just came out of her vagina. That love hole was stretched and ripped to about twenty times its normal size. She probably had to have it snipped a bit to allow that baby to come out. In her defense, she’ll have to heal from stitches. What? She didn’t have stitches? You’d better hope she had stitches, or that tiny love canal will now be as wide as a great lake. It’s no fun banging around in a grand canyon when you used to be hugged firmly in a tiny crevice.

Remember your “office?” Your man cave has been evacuated, and your former office has now been painted an awful pastel color. And there are birds and balloons and all kinds of happy shit adorning the walls where your college degree and baseball trophies used to live. Hope your garage is air conditioned.

Get used to terms like “Diaper Genie”, “Huggies”, and Wipies. If your son has been circumcised, you’ll need to apply some kind of cream to his poor little wee-wee so it won’t become infected. That seems nasty and illegal, but you, as a parent, will be obligated to take on this chore. The bottom line is you’ll be exposed to blood, pus, snot, poop, piss, puke, and all kinds of other nastiness no one talks about and no one warned you about. If you’re the squeamish type, you’d better buckle up.