Myths of Childhood Part 1: The Tooth Fairy

Lying is an integral part of being a good parent. All the best parents have that in common; they can successfully and consistently lie to their offspring. Most lies are to give a sense of hope; to soothe your offspring in stressful situations. Some lies just help you get through the day in one piece without strangling them.

We are going to discuss the more universal and socially expected lies or, as I like to call them, the myths of childhood.

There are several of these myths that we delve into overtime. Today, though, I want to discuss one particular lie we tell our young and that is the existence of the tooth fairy.

For the few who aren’t familiar with this phenomenon, let me explain. When a child loses a tooth (and they do this a few times in their life cycle- refer to my blog about teething earlier in this series) parents convince their children to put the detached tooth under their pillow so when they are sleeping called a tooth fairy comes and takes the tooth. In exchange, the tooth fairy leaves a few bucks under the pillow.

I can’t think of anything more terrifying to tell their kid.

This is the kind of lie that makes things like the human organ black market possible. Not only that, stop and consider what message this sort of thing gives young and impressionable minds. Kids are a lot smarter than they pretend to be. It’s not going to take them long to figure out that one child’s tooth is pretty indistinguishable from another. BOOM! Suddenly your offspring is borrowing your toolbox to “play” dentist with the neighbor kids.

Also, what about the natural progression of this? What I mean by that is children are, in fact, worth some serious cash. If a stupid fairy will pay a couple of bucks for a small tooth, how much would their leg be worth? Their spleen? Where does it end?

Pretty soon there will be a suspicious amount of red in your laundry and a distinct increase in kids with deformities in your neighborhood.  

And it’s all because of one innocent lie about some fairy with a tooth fetish.

For shame!

Azra

***Disclaimer***Azra has been around children for centuries. While not having any of his own, part of being an exiled angel means blending in on earth. As he traveled the earth, he picked up on a lot of parenting practices across the globe. This blog is meant to share his parenting wisdom with a new generation. And to win a bet.

*Note: any advice given is meant to be satirical and not to be taken literally. Please do not exercise it upon any living being, child or otherwise.*

Where to Give Birth to Your Brood; Modern Day Options

Nowadays there’s a big emphasis on where to give birth; either at home or a hospital. It wasn’t all that long ago that all births were home births, so this debate confuses me a bit. There are merits to both and there’s a surprising third option that I’ll delve into later on. For now, though, the basics of home birth and hospital birth.

Home Birth: the natural choice. Since pretty much the dawn of human existence, women have been giving birth to their spawn in their own dwellings. The perks are that they are somewhere comfortable for what has, historically, been an intense, life or death process. Creature comforts at home are proven to make the pain a little more bearable. Plus humans do that nesting thing when they are expecting. It has to be for a reason. The biggest up side to home birth is that you can do it however you want. Meaning, if you want to have your entire family witness this miraculous moment of blood and gore, you can do that! If you want to make a party of the whole thing, you can do that too! Want to give birth to your spawn in water? Sure, why else did you get a pool? Want to listen to the sounds of the Serengeti at sunset as you push another human out of you? Load up your ipod and turn up your sound bar. Really, the home option is the best one for full customization of the birthing experience.

Hospital Birth: the modern option. Hospitals are currently thought to be the best place to have a baby. After all, they have doctors, nurses, and, most importantly, super powerful drugs that can get you through the whole delivery thing without feeling a thing. It’s also handy to be in a central medical facility in the event something goes wrong with the delivery; they will have the resources to help. There is one major down side to hospitals, though. That is the price of them. It can cost thousands of dollars to give birth to your offspring in one of these facilities.

Last but not least, one of the more underutilized and highly unique options as far as giving birth: Disneyland. Or, if not the great mouse utopia, why not another theme park? Or national monument? Really, you can choose your favorite spot on earth to bring forth new life. And why not? Why should you be confined to either your home or a medical facility? Giving birth is one of the most natural things in the world. It should be celebrated! It should be known and witnessed by the whole of humanity. And preferably on the best roller coaster around.

Remember to Breathe,

Azra

***Disclaimer***Azra has been around children for centuries. While not having any of his own, part of being an exiled angel means blending in on earth. As he traveled the earth, he picked up on a lot of parenting practices across the globe. This blog is meant to share his parenting wisdom with a new generation. And to win a bet.

*Note: any advice given is meant to be satirical and not to be taken literally. Please do not exercise it upon any living being, child or otherwise.*

Halloween Musings of a Word Slinger

The summer heat is finally dying. There’s a crispness to the air that signals the changing of the seasons, the coming of the darkness after what seems like an eternity of brightness. In the distant evening I can hear the werewolves howl as they circle their prey.

To most, this time of year is about death, endings, and fear. It’s about costumes and candy and being scared.

For me, it’s the time of the year when I come alive. When I get energized. When I get myself organized and ready for the coming year. When life makes so much more sense. This time of year is renewal, and hope. This is my new year.

Happy Halloween, my friends. May the treats be plenty and the tricks always teach you something.

Trick or Treat

Kira

Having the “Talk”— A Strategy for the Most Awkward Conversation You’ll Ever Have

Parenthood is marked with many awkward moments. Most of which will be completely unique to you and your offspring. However, there is one unifying experience that happens to be the absolute most awkward conversation that you’ll ever have with your spawn. It’s explaining to your kid exactly how they came to be. No, I’m not talking about the absurd stories with storks, cabbages, or rainy night doorstep deliveries. I mean the nitty gritty purely carnal story.

Usually this sordid conversation happens around the time when puberty hits your spawn. All of the changes that happen in the pubescent years really make the ‘talk’ relevant. After all, things are morphing those small humans into bigger humans and with all the hormones happening. . . well you get the idea.

So how do you even have this strange conversation? Never fear. Uncle Azra is here with tips on how to make this inevitable uncomfortable conversation easier on you. Your kid, however, is on their own.

1.       Timing is everything. In order to ensure your spawn’s full, undivided attention, it is best to catch them by surprise. Sideline them when they are on their way out the door, break into their room when they are sleeping and wake them up with an air horn. If they are not prepared for the talk, they can’t find a way out of it.

2.       Never underestimate the use of visual aides. These can be anything from pre-printed diagrams, educational videos, paid actors, puppets, really your imagination is the limit. Studies have shown that visual representation makes the talk go smoother. It also gives you somewhere to look besides the horrified expression of your offspring.

3.       Highlight and exaggerate the consequences of fornication. What we don’t want is the kids to use this information and start acting on it. Oh no, that would just engender mass chaos. No. We must be sure they understand that their actions most definitely have consequences.  They kiss someone? Automatic Herpes. Get to third base? Risk of pregnancy. Heck, if they touch themselves, perpetuate the myth that they will go blind. It’s just going to make them more cautious.

4.       To really drive your point home, outline additional punishments and/ or activities. If they have a date, make them carry around a remote control baby doll. If you have the remote, make it cry, spit up, etc at the most intimate points of the date. Make them watch home birth videos to ensure they won’t want to procreate until they are a little older. Give their dates contraceptives upon meeting them. If you can, wink at them.

Above all, when having the talk, be as descriptive and detailed as possible. You’ll want to skim over some of the more salacious points, but don’t. Trust me. The more vivid you can make this, the more traumatizing it will be and, therefore, more effective.

Happy Educating!

Azra

***Disclaimer***Azra has been around children for centuries. While not having any of his own, part of being an exiled angel means blending in on earth. As he traveled the earth, he picked up on a lot of parenting practices across the globe. This blog is meant to share his parenting wisdom with a new generation. And to win a bet.

*Note: any advice given is meant to be satirical and not to be taken literally. Please do not exercise it upon any living being, child or otherwise.*

Preparing Your Spawn for a Sibling

Many parental figures find it prudent to have more than one offspring. Biologically it makes a certain amount of sense. I mean, the more spawn you produce, the more likely it is that the human race will continue. Not to mention that it’s helpful to have a ‘do over’ in case you irreparably mess up the first ankle biter. If you have more than two, then your averages for producing a decent human being only increase.

However, there is a significant flip side to having multiple offspring. For the sake of brevity, I’ll summarize.

HAVE YOU LOST YOUR EVER LOVING MIND?! Has nothing you’ve been through with the first little terror you’ve unwittingly unleashed upon the world been enough for you to keep it in your pants? You truly want to relive every inadvertent golden shower, every tantrum, every moment of panic all over again?

I digress. Who am I to judge how you choose to punish yourself for whatever heinous skeleton is in your closet?

The real purpose of this particular blog is making sure your first mini human is prepared for the invasions of a more annoying and even more mini-er human.

Now, before you run off to tell your oldest that they weren’t enough for you to love only them, consider these factors for what is bound to be an intense conversation full of tears and blame.

1.       How old is your current offspring? Scientists have proven that the older the first child is, the more they will be personally insulted by another sibling entering the picture. Whereas the younger they are, another drool monster is less of an impact. My advice, any spawn younger than eight years of age, don’t worry about telling them of the new family edition until your little bundle of horror comes home from the hospital.

2.       Have you already had the ‘talk’ with your youngster? You know. The reproduction talk? The buzzing insect and feathered balls of beaks and talons discussion? If you haven’t, then you may need to prepare for a lot of awkward questions that will complicate the whole conversation. However, on the other side, this could be a very teachable moment as far as the “if you allow your hormones to go too far with the lip mashing, then you could wind up like your mother.” It depends on how much you want to drive the lesson home. To really emphasize that premature procreation is a bad thing, you can hand over the second offspring into the care of the oldest as a crash course in parenting.

3.       Do they have friends with siblings? Perhaps to ease the stress of communicating they will no longer be the only child in your universe, you could conscript another set of parents to have the talk for you. After all, they’ve already been through this tough time before and it does take a village...

4.       Has your offspring done something terrible lately? Are they in trouble? If so, you can use the coming of a sibling as a sort of punishment for them. If you make the whole thing their fault (again, it is helpful if you haven’t had the ‘talk’ for this route), it will take their anger and blame off of you and put it squarely on their own shoulders.  

While I don’t agree with your choice to have multiple spawn, I can understand how useful siblings can be in the rearing of your first grand experiment. Good luck with that. As a refresher, you may want to go back to the first blog in this series and up your stock in sanitizer.

Here we go again,

Azra

***Disclaimer***Azra has been around children for centuries. While not having any of his own, part of being an exiled angel means blending in on earth. As he traveled the earth, he picked up on a lot of parenting practices across the globe. This blog is meant to share his parenting wisdom with a new generation. And to win a bet.

*Note: any advice given is meant to be satirical and not to be taken literally. Please do not exercise it upon any living being, child or otherwise.*

Controlling Your Child Part 3: Using Hollywood to Terrify Your Spawn

The key to being a success at parenting is knowing how to control your offspring. There are several effective methods of control and we will, over time, explore many of those throughout this blog series.

Today we are exploring the possibilities of controlling your offspring through fear. Not just any old fear. Genuinely manufactured Hollywood fear. While there is a lot to be said for being the reason your kid wets the bed, it is so much more intelligent to let Hollywood provide the scary monster. Why? It’s simple, if you are the terrifying factor, then you won’t get your offspring to do anything but stand there trembling in fright. However, if something else is the fear-provoking element, then you would wield the ability to use that element for your advantage.

Let’s use the recent remake of the classic IT as an example. The invention of Pennywise is absolutely genius! With just a bit of stage make up, a red balloon and a decent sewer system, you can set up a never ending scare-fest for your little pants wetter. The mere threat of a clown appearance will be enough to ensure your offspring is the picture of perfect kid behavior.

In order to make this process the most effective, you need to do a bit of research on the latest Hollywood monster craze. You also need to make sure you know your spawn’s deepest darkest fears. The obvious way to do that is to force them to watch every horror film ever created. Something is bound to scare them. The best way to make sure is to expose them to such carefully crafted tales is to make them watch while they are young.

As soon as you know what will induce their nightmares, then it is a simple process of subtly insinuating that object of fear into your child’s everyday life. Again with the IT example; leave random red balloons in your spawn’s bedroom. Stick a pair of battery operated yellow eyes into the air vents. Have a recorded clown voice evilly laughing play whenever your child is in the shower. When the kid cries about it, then all you have to do is tell them they are silly. Tell them they are imagining it, but also allude to the fact that if their behavior wasn’t so wretched, then their imagination wouldn’t be taking them down such a dark path. That’s right. Tell them they are crazy, but they are at the same time responsible for their hallucinations that aren’t really hallucinations. It’s a clever plan that will yield amazing results.

Scare their pants off!

Azra

***Disclaimer***Azra has been around children for centuries. While not having any of his own, part of being an exiled angel means blending in on earth. As he traveled the earth, he picked up on a lot of parenting practices across the globe. This blog is meant to share his parenting wisdom with a new generation. And to win a bet.

*Note: any advice given is meant to be satirical and not to be taken literally. Please do not exercise it upon any living being, child or otherwise.*

Summer Camps- Despite the Bad Press, They Are a Good Idea

Bust out the duffel bags and Popsicle sticks. Summer camps are severely under-rated. These glorious temporary colonies of mostly children serve several important functions, not only for your offspring, but also for you— the parental figure’s— well-being. Summer camps were the height of fashion in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Honestly they should have been big deals for longer and earlier, but I digress.

What exactly are the benefits of Summer Camps? Well sit back and apply your mosquito repellent and I’ll tell you.

1.       You can ship off your spawn to be someone else’s problem for a couple of weeks in the summer. That means you can kick back and take a well-earned vacation from parenting.

2.       Depending on the type of camp, your offspring could come back a completely different person. Or at least knowing some important survival skills. Like that Disney Movie about fat summer camps? Yeah. You know the one. Those kids learned many valuable lessons. Don’t let yours miss out on those lessons. Look into camps that specialize in survival skills or Popsicle stick art. Either works.

3.       Your offspring will gain an appreciation for nature. There’s nothing like being farted on by a small black and white forest creature to give a deep, unrelenting appreciation for the finer things on God’s green earth.

4.       The farther, more remote the camp is the better. This will allow your offspring to learn how to be away from you, dealing on their own.  

5.       Use the haunted summer camps as the ultimate test before your kids go off into the world on their own. Don’t believe me? Watch any of the Jason movies. The ones with no common sense and poor reflexes are the first to die. If your spawn makes it through, then congratulations! They are eligible for leveling up.

Give yourself and your parenting partner a break next summer. Ship your kid off to someone else to deal with for a few weeks.

Grab the s’mores fixings!

Azra

***Disclaimer***Azra has been around children for centuries. While not having any of his own, part of being an exiled angel means blending in on earth. As he traveled the earth, he picked up on a lot of parenting practices across the globe. This blog is meant to share his parenting wisdom with a new generation. And to win a bet.

*Note: any advice given is meant to be satirical and not to be taken literally. Please do not exercise it upon any living being, child or otherwise.*

Public School vs. Private School vs. Home School: The Best Way To Train Your Rug Rat

In most modern first world countries, there is a huge debate on schools. Specifically what kind of schools are the best to train your spawn in subjects that have very little to do with real life scenarios. I like to think of them as hypothetical training camps for non-effectual humans.  Really, schools do very little to actually prepare your offspring for real life. But, if you insist on following the rules of the government and making your kid be subjected to the regime approved curriculum, here are some things you need to know about your options.

Public School: This is the most common option utilized by the masses. Public schools are subject to government regulations and approvals. The teachers are paid (poorly) by state and federal taxes. This means they are government agents and should not, I repeat, should NOT be trusted. Anything they tell your child is most likely being recorded and is heavily scripted. (however, you pay taxes, so that would make the government YOUR employee, and, de facto, the teachers as well... Something to consider there). Children in public schools must go at the pace of the slowest learner. This means if your offspring is quick on the uptake, they will get bored rather quickly. Public school is also a place for every one of all walks of life to send their spawn. This means your goober will be exposed to varied influences ranging from “oh, that’s nice,” to “for the love of everything sacred, why would you do that?!” Your child would be able to pick up any range of habits based on their school mates. Public school is a role of the dice.

Private Schools: While not run by the government, they still have to adhere to the state standards for most subjects. They can choose not to teach certain things, but usually this is linked to some sort of religion. Just because they are not sanctioned by the currently ruling regime does not mean they are much better for your rugrat. Instead, you will have someone’s personally held beliefs presented as hard facts. Teachers are typically paid more to care in private schools, but not by much. They do offer a sort of predictable quality in their attendees, though. Usually those who get in are part of a pre-established group (e.g. Catholics). This, I have found, can have a limiting impact on your offspring, making them snooty or smug or any other s- word. Oh, and tuition into private schools is often a LOT more than public school. Ostensibly, it is to pay the teachers more to care, but there is no empirical evidence for that.

Home School: Ah, the DIY of schooling. If you are unsatisfied with the above two options, you can choose to teach your spawn yourself. This would mean hours of lesson planning, research, course guides, disguising chores as assignments, grading, and actually being around and interacting with your spawn on a daily and constant basis. The up side to this is that as long as certain government educational standards are being met, you can teach them whatever you see fit. You can create a mini economy in your home where your happy children are your indentured servants for pennies on the dollar. The down side is literally everything else. Instead of having alone time when the kids would have gone to either a public or private schooling facility, they will stay home. With you. Instead of going out and having fun with your friends, you will be stuck grading or lesson planning or whatever else needs to happen in your own little school. This much time with the parent is also not so good for the child. They can become antisocial, under-developed, and downright unable to cope with modern society. There’s a reason the home schooled kids are often made fun of.

Whatever you decide, remember that it’s your kid. You have a say in what they learn and when they learn it. Don’t be afraid to insist on certain standards, regardless of which option you choose for your offspring’s education.

Education Ho!

Azra

***Disclaimer***Azra has been around children for centuries. While not having any of his own, part of being an exiled angel means blending in on earth. As he traveled the earth, he picked up on a lot of parenting practices across the globe. This blog is meant to share his parenting wisdom with a new generation. And to win a bet.

*Note: any advice given is meant to be satirical and not to be taken literally. Please do not exercise it upon any living being, child or otherwise.*

How to Choose an Appropriate Name for Your Offspring

Names are important. Names are what you carry with you through your entire life. You can’t escape them.

In the exciting and terrifying first weeks of finding out that you are going to be parents, one of the biggest topics is what you will call your spawn. New parents will read name books, credits of movies, and, sometimes, just start stringing random words together to come up with some moniker that sounds decent.

Well, if you are stuck for a name for your new podling, here are some guiding questions to help you decide:  

1.       Do the letters look good in caligraphy?

2.       Are the letters mostly vowels, thereby allowing the sounds to roll off the tongue seamlessly?

3.       Is it a famous name?

4.       Do all the names come together in a glorious pun?

5.       Do the initials stand for some popular acronym such as SMH or WTF?

6.       Are there unnecessary letters?

7.       Are there more than six parts to the names?

8.       Will other kids mercilessly mock and make jokes about the name in the future?

If you’ve answered yes to any of the above, then congratulations! You have the name of your child. If you are still stuck with a few options, why choose? Mash those together into one name.

Happy Naming!

Azra

***Disclaimer***Azra has been around children for centuries. While not having any of his own, part of being an exiled angel means blending in on earth. As he traveled the earth, he picked up on a lot of parenting practices across the globe. This blog is meant to share his parenting wisdom with a new generation. And to win a bet.

*Note: any advice given is meant to be satirical and not to be taken literally. Please do not exercise it upon any living being, child or otherwise.*

Dining Out with Your Offspring; A Manifesto for Appetizers

Generally, other humans don’t like being around other people’s screaming offspring. Never has this been more obvious than when parents take their spawn out to eat in public. Ever so subtly, young families are shuffled off to the corners, often with other families with young ones. Sometimes they are even shamed out of the buildings. I’ve seen it happen over and over again.

Parents, why do you let this happen? Just because you have small offspring that tend to scream at the slightest little thing and throw food at unsuspecting strangers doesn’t mean you should be shunned. Everyone needs to eat.

Consider this a battle cry, my fellow parental figures! Take back your local restaurants and eateries! No longer allow yourself to be driven away from nourishment because of the actions of your little poop machine. Here are some steps you can take to reclaim your place at the communal table.

1.       Don’t allow you and your spawn to be seated in the corner or the back. Insist on an up-front table or, to make a bigger point, the bar. You may have to ask for a specific seat, and be insistent. Those hostesses can be sneaky. Case out the joint first and determine where the most customers are seated.

2.       Don’t bend over backwards to make your offspring behave. I’ve seen parents bring snacks and toys and newfangled technology to the table all in vain effort to make their little terror behave. None of it works for long on account of their gnat-like attention span. My advice? Don’t even try. Let them rage, let them throw food. They are a good reminder of the lasting consequences of not using birth control.

3.       If anyone looks at you and your spawn sideways, remind them loudly that they too were once screaming poop machines that people tried to shun. Judge not, and all. I recommend bringing a megaphone so the whole restaurant can hear you. If you make an example out of one, it will cut down on the amount of people attempting to shame you.

United we shall dine!

Azra

***Disclaimer***Azra has been around children for centuries. While not having any of his own, part of being an exiled angel means blending in on earth. As he traveled the earth, he picked up on a lot of parenting practices across the globe. This blog is meant to share his parenting wisdom with a new generation. And to win a bet.

*Note: any advice given is meant to be satirical and not to be taken literally. Please do not exercise it upon any living being, child or otherwise.*

Never Lose Your Offspring; Microchip Your Little Monster

For as long as humans have been having children, they have been losing them. It’s quite sad really. The scenarios change depending on the situation. The kid runs away, the parents run away, or something equally tragic. You humans are the worst at keeping track of your offspring. They could be getting into trouble, or dead in a ditch somewhere, or eating something they shouldn’t. What if they are in mortal danger with some rabid snail about to devour their pinkie toe? You just don’t know.

The killer part of this whole thing is that the answer is so obvious, so blatantly clear! Microchip your monster!

You’ve probably already done this process to a family pet.

Let me stop right there to point out how messed up that is for a moment. You are more concerned with the whereabouts and safety of your animals than that of your own spawn. For shame.

For those not in the know, microchipping is the process where a small microchip is inserted into the neck of the victim. This microchip contains important contact information such as parental units phone numbers, address, known allergies, and, depending on how much space the microchip has, a detailed log of their diet and bodily rhythms. For an additional fee, you could even get GPS tracking along with the microchip so you can monitor your ankle biter from your new smart phone. Can’t even begin to tell you how useful this will be when your monster is a teenager.

Humans have made great strides in this technology. It’s time to use it and time to stop misplacing your spawn.

Be the wave of the future,

Azra

***Disclaimer***Azra has been around children for centuries. While not having any of his own, part of being an exiled angel means blending in on earth. As he traveled the earth, he picked up on a lot of parenting practices across the globe. This blog is meant to share his parenting wisdom with a new generation. And to win a bet.

*Note: any advice given is meant to be satirical and not to be taken literally. Please do not exercise it upon any living being, child or otherwise.*

Ask Azra! Calling All Queries

Azra needs your help!

He’s dying to give you the advice you so desperately need via a new blog series “Ask Azra”.

With the unmitigated success of his parenting blog, Azra’s decided to stretch his wings, so to speak, and answer any and all questions you may have. He’ll answer anything, though he does want me to convey that he prefers either parenting issues or matters of the heart.

So, how do you Ask Azra?

There are so many easy ways to send your question in:

1.       Comment on the Ask Azra! Calling All Queries blog post on www.fivesmilingfish.com/kiras-blogs

2.       Send your question to fivesmilingfish@gmail.com

3.       Ask directly on social media via facebook, or twitter under five smiling fish.

Help an angel out, let Azra give you his two cents.

Smiles,

Kira

Puberty Part 3: Adjusting to Adolescence

Oh, the most dreaded time in every parenthood: Puberty.

To be clear, it is the offspring that goes through puberty, not the parents, but the parents still have to deal with it.  It’s the time where your cute, adorable offspring morph into irrational, ridiculous, terrors that are new teenagers. What should be a time of rejoicing (it signifies the near end to your 18 year responsibility) is really a time of frustration, attitude, and acne.

Over the last two weeks, I’ve described the several ways to spot the happening of puberty in both male and female spawn. This week’s blog of parental wisdom is about how to survive the change in one piece.

There is not a word in the human tongue that can accurately convey the sheer horror of this time in your species growth cycle. This is the tipping point where your offspring can go one of two ways, either down the path of righteousness and light or along the underbelly of civilization in utter darkness.

Remember that the kids won’t pay the slightest bit of attention to you during this time; they’ll be purely self-absorbed through this whole process so feel free to go all out and do what you have to do in order to survive.

1.       Use indirect communication channels. The last thing you want to do is actually talk to your offspring during this fragile, yet volatile time. Hire someone to do it for you. Preferably some sort of unfeeling monster. Or a terminator.

2.       Understand that your spawn will do anything and everything to push your boundaries and your limits. Once you accept that, it’s easier to imagine or guess what their next move will be.

3.       Become more creative with your punishments for misbehavior. Remember, your spawn is extra sensitive about their changing appearance. Between that and their erratic emotions, you’ll have plenty of ammunition for creative punishments. Example: forbid them from using face wash or deodorant. If they can’t keep their room clean, then they should reflect that same slovenliness in their outward appearance.

4.       Take this opportunity to take a vacation from parenting. Let your spawn figure out this puberty stuff on their own. It’ll be less intense if you only have to deal with the aftermath.

However you deal with the dreaded puberty, know that this terrible time will pass. When it does, you’ll be one step closer to the end of your 18 year sentence for procreation.

Is that a zit on your face?

Azra

***Disclaimer***Azra has been around children for centuries. While not having any of his own, part of being an exiled angel means blending in on earth. As he traveled the earth, he picked up on a lot of parenting practices across the globe. This blog is meant to share his parenting wisdom with a new generation. And to win a bet.

*Note: any advice given is meant to be satirical and not to be taken literally. Please do not exercise it upon any living being, child or otherwise.*

Puberty Part 2: Girl Spawn

Oh, the most dreaded time in every parenthood: Puberty.

To be clear, it is the offspring that goes through puberty, not the parents, but the parents still have to deal with it.  It’s the time where your cute, adorable offspring morph into irrational, ridiculous, terrors that are new teenagers. What should be a time of rejoicing (it signifies the near end to your 18 year responsibility) is really a time of frustration, attitude, and acne.

How will you know your little monster is going through “the change”? Never fear, I will be going through not only how to spot these changes in your spawn, but also on how to deal with them.

Last week we discussed the changes that occur in male offspring. Now, we are going to shed some light on the pubescence of girl spawn. While there are striking similarities between human female and male puberty, it would be a mistake to point that out to each of them. So, to avoid the sullen grudge-filled death glares, here is how to spot puberty in girls.

1.       The most obvious change is the development of mammary glands. Usually this happens on the front of the chest.

2.       Similarly to the boys, girls also start growing more body hair. While it isn’t as all-encompassing as the male body hair, it is noticeable.

3.       In addition to growing more during puberty, girls often gain weight and their body changes shape. It’s not to the extent of being a shapeshifter, but it is close.

4.       Like their male counterparts, girls also get acne, however they are more adept at camouflaging their blemishes with makeup.

5.       Now, for the real difference; puberty is when girls learn how to bleed for days on end without dying. The exact mechanics of how this works is a complete mystery even to modern day science. To keep up this practice, girls must go through this event at least once a month for the next forty years or so. During their “time” it is best to keep down wind and off their radar as much as possible.

6.       Along with the whole bleeding and not dying, naturally come mood swings. If you thought the ones with boys were bad, you haven’t seen nothing yet! Girls perfect mood swings to an art form. Puberty is when they learn this. You have been warned.

Now that we’ve gone over the signs of change for both parties, next week, we will discuss survival tactics that you can employ to ensure you make it out of puberty alive.

Proud Puberty Survivor,

Azra

***Disclaimer***Azra has been around children for centuries. While not having any of his own, part of being an exiled angel means blending in on earth. As he traveled the earth, he picked up on a lot of parenting practices across the globe. This blog is meant to share his parenting wisdom with a new generation. And to win a bet.

*Note: any advice given is meant to be satirical and not to be taken literally. Please do not exercise it upon any living being, child or otherwise.*

Puberty Part 1: Boy Spawn

Oh, the most dreaded time in every parenthood: Puberty.

To be clear, it is the offspring that goes through puberty, not the parents, but the parents still have to deal with it.  It’s the time where your cute, adorable offspring morph into irrational, ridiculous, terrors that are new teenagers. What should be a time of rejoicing (it signifies the near end to your 18 year responsibility) is really a time of frustration, attitude, and acne.

How will you know your little monster is going through “the change”? Never fear, I will be going through not only how to spot these changes in your spawn, but also on how to deal with them.

First up though, how to spot puberty in your boy spawn.

1.       Excretion of bodily fluids. Around this tender age, boys will start to leak in unexpected ways. Whether it be through copious amounts of sweat or nocturnal emissions, be prepared with lots of towels and fabric soap.

2.       Oh the smell. Boys will start to stink. They won’t necessarily have to do anything to waft their newly formed noxious body odor. From what I can tell, they just have to be in the general area and their smell will knock you out. Arm yourself with lots of deodorant, spray air freshener, cologne, and nose plugs.

3.       Body hair increases. Before you worry about your son becoming the legendary Bigfoot, understand that an abundance of body hair happens around puberty. How you suggest they handle it is up to you; teach them to shave or teach them to braid.

4.       They grow... a lot. Puberty is the time of the most growth your child will ever do in their lifetime. They compensate for it by sleeping and eating a ridiculous amount. Between the hair and the sleeping patterns, it is easy to mistake your offspring for a bear. Don’t worry though, this is normal. If you are worried though, you can abandon them in the woods and let them wander home when they are through the worst of it.

5.       This is the time where their voice cracks. Try not to laugh when it happens. It only enrages them.

6.       Mood swings are a common occurrence. They will also have bouts of low self-esteem, aggression, depression, and insecurities, which, if you play your cards right, and know how to effectively use guilt (see previous blog post), you can make these emotions work for you.  

Next week we will delve into the mysterious girl spawn and the signs of their pubescence.

Proud Puberty Survivor,

Azra

***Disclaimer***Azra has been around children for centuries. While not having any of his own, part of being an exiled angel means blending in on earth. As he traveled the earth, he picked up on a lot of parenting practices across the globe. This blog is meant to share his parenting wisdom with a new generation. And to win a bet.

*Note: any advice given is meant to be satirical and not to be taken literally. Please do not exercise it upon any living being, child or otherwise.*

Literacy as a Fallacy

There is a modern notion nowadays about the importance of literacy in the young. It’s like this generation thinks the ability to read is important for the ongoing state of humanity. I can firmly attest that this is not the case.

Here’s a truth bomb for you: knowing how to read is not vital to survival.

That being said, why is there such an obsession about teaching your offspring to read? It’s a waste of time, honestly. Why would you sit there for hours upon hours staring at words on a page that may or may not have pictures when you could spend that valuable time teaching your rugrat common sense, outdoor survival skills, or discovering their mutant abilities?

Reading encourages them to use their imaginations. Reading transports them to a different world. Reading is a lifelong obsession that will only result in incredible debt, an avalanche of tattooed tree carcasses all over their domicile, and hours and hours of wasted time staring at pages. Reading will ruin lives!

There have been movements throughout history to stop the spread of reading. The Library of Alexandria? It was arson. The Protestant Reformation? Combated by the Catholic Counter-Reformation. Book bans and burnings are a regular occurrence to stamp out the plague of written words. Not to mention the entirety of the dark ages.

By teaching your monster how to read, you are undoing centuries of hard work. You are pretty much saying that it is ok to blow off all responsibility and pick up a book. It is ok to blow millions of dollars on books. It is ok to give indie authors hope that their writings will make it to the mainstream.

I am here to tell you that it is NOT alright.

Think before you read,

Azra

***Disclaimer***Azra has been around children for centuries. While not having any of his own, part of being an exiled angel means blending in on earth. As he traveled the earth, he picked up on a lot of parenting practices across the globe. This blog is meant to share his parenting wisdom with a new generation. And to win a bet.

*Note: any advice given is meant to be satirical and not to be taken literally. Please do not exercise it upon any living being, child or otherwise.*

Talking To Your Teenager About Hallucinogens while Battling Narwhals On The Porch

Drugs are everywhere. Legal, illegal, semi-legal and even some moderately legal. They are pretty easy to obtain as well. I bet in most cities every other person you run into is a drug dealer.

So how is a parent supposed to keep their offspring from partaking of drugs?

It’s easy. Don’t.

Seriously, don’t even bother trying to keep your kid off of the magic marshmallows or dank ferns or bath sponges or whatever they are calling it these days. If you do try, then the only natural thing your spawn will do is go out and immediately try all of them.

However, if you don’t give drugs any sort of attention around your ankle-biter, then they are less prone to paying attention to them, ergo the less drugs they do. There is still a chance they will take them up, though, so you must be vigilant.

The best way to make sure your offspring doesn’t die while on drugs is simple; do them with your kid. If there was ever a chance for bonding and to show off your own knowledge of one of the most utilized past-times on earth, this is your chance. You can be the example your kid needs.

Medicinally Yours,

Azra

***Disclaimer***Azra has been around children for centuries. While not having any of his own, part of being an exiled angel means blending in on earth. As he traveled the earth, he picked up on a lot of parenting practices across the globe. This blog is meant to share his parenting wisdom with a new generation. And to win a bet.

*Note: any advice given is meant to be satirical and not to be taken literally. Please do not exercise it upon any living being, child or otherwise.*

Mourning Our Heroes; When Tragedy Strikes the Artists That Influenced Us

               I was at work when I read the news about Chester Bennington’s suicide. At first I didn’t want to believe it was true. Maybe it was a cruel joke or a really messed up example of the “fake news” that we’ve heard about so much lately. What brought the truth of it home to me was Mike Shinoda’s tweet: “Shocked and heartbroken, but it’s true. An official statement will come out as soon as we have one.”

                That tweet made Chester’s death real.

                Now, let me clarify something. I love Linkin Park, but I am not by any means a super fan; I don’t live and die by their tour dates and I don’t have their lyrics or faces or album art tattooed on my skin. I wasn’t really into Chester’s other projects such as his band Death by Sunrise or his stint as the front man of Stone Temple Pilots.

                So then why am I so broken up about his death?

                With Chester’s passing, I did what most do when they are in shock and mourning: I began bringing up things I’d almost forgotten about them; in my instance, the memories I had of him and his music. Hybrid Theory came out when I was in high school. The entire album was the anthem to those confusing, hectic years. Linkin Park was the voice that expressed the emotions I buried deep inside. They were the outlet I and so many others needed to express what was in our hearts. They had the courage to say what we were all afraid to say. They made us feel not so alone.

                The real tragedy was that we could not return the favor.

                There have been a lot of celebrity deaths lately. 2016 was notorious for its body count. 2017 has also had its fair share of devastation. There are varying degrees of mourning for each one that leaves us. For some reason, Chester’s is registering pretty high with me. The only other time I’ve felt this way about a celebrity death was Robin Williams. There are still some of his movies I am not brave enough to watch because I know I will just break. Robin also was a victim of suicide and the world mourned his passing.

                The question remains. Why do celebrity deaths impact us so intensely?

                I have a theory. These artists, these actors, personalities, singers, songwriters, authors, all of these glorious people have been there for us during the most pivotal times in our lives. We’ve built lifetimes of memories around their art, their songs, their movies, their stories. So much so that they’ve become part of us. What they created rang true in our hearts— like an echo of ourselves mirrored in someone else. Something like that makes you feel connected, makes you feel not so alone.

                It’s natural then, when tragedy strikes and the worst happens that we mourn. Yes, we are sad that they have passed, but we are also mourning a part of ourselves.

                With Chester’s passing, I am mourning the passing of someone who was there for me when I was an emotional wreck of a teenager. I am mourning the part of me that identified with and was saved by his music. When someone affects so many lives, it is hard not to feel something at their death. It’s hard not to remember a certain song, a certain part, or a certain phrase that they created that rang true in your soul. My deepest condolences to his family, his friends, his band mates, and to all of his fans. I share in your grief.

                If you are struggling with depression, if you are about to give up, please talk to someone. The national suicide hotline number is: 1-800-273-8255. You are too precious to lose. 

Dealing with Know-It-All Parents— A Rant

It’s come to my attention that raising mini humans into fully grown versions is a ridiculously competitive past time. Parental figures are cutthroat when it comes to style and technique. The animosity towards others who are also rearing ankle biters manifests in the most interesting ways.

I’ve seen mature women screech louder than banshees about whether or not to breast feed. Adults have gotten into fistfights at the insinuation of feeding their spawn anything but pure organic, non- GMO, whole grain wheatgrass. They’ve haughtily declared that they would never allow their offspring to watch television. Their mantra is always the same; “Well, not MY child!”

As a parental figure myself, I have done a fair amount of research on this phenomenon. All of the above behaviors evolve out of one common belief that these parents share. It’s that their style of parenting, their judgements, and their opinions on how children should be raised is the one and only correct way. All other opinions, judgements, styles, what have you, are merely varying degrees of blasphemy that must be eradicated.

They use whatever tools are at their disposal to assert their dominance on the world of parenting. Here are some tell-tale signs that you are dealing with a parenting fanatic and how to handle their over-parenting:

1.       The Correctionists: These people will challenge anything you say about the subject of raising small humans. They must have the last word on any and all subjects. Often, they will take a contradictory stance to make themselves sound more credible. Be careful with the people who tend to do this; most of their advice is meant to sabotage your journey as a parent and it is obvious with just how ridiculous their stances are. You can easily combat this by doing the exact same thing they do and make them seem as ridiculous as they intended to make you. It’s incredibly satisfying to watch someone dig their own hole and then bury themselves.

2.       The Snobs: They will openly mock or stick their nose up at you and will probably not allow their little monsters near your spawn. Their snobbish behavior is designed to make you feel like you are an outsider and that your way of parenting is frowned upon in most civilized societies. I’ve experienced this many times. The best way to combat this is to become very friendly with them. Encourage your offspring to play with theirs. Then, when they tell you their deepest, darkest secrets, expose them for the horrible people they are. Let them become the ostracized ones.

3.       The Concerned Ones: Out of all the fanatics, these are the most dangerous. These are the ones that will try to take your offspring and impose their parenting style on them any chance they get “for the good of the child”. These parents are what some teachers call helicopters. Except they don’t just hoover over their own spawn. Oh no. These took the “it takes a village” saying to heart. They will disagree with your parenting by making your spawn conform to their idea of behavior. If they really don’t see eye to eye with your ways, they will actively try to steal your little snot goblin. Be particularly careful with these overachiever parents. They will truly go to any extreme.

I cannot stress enough how wrong these people are. Parenting is a sacred duty and when you’ve been around as long as I have, you will understand that MY methods are the best, not theirs. My style and parenting techniques in child rearing are flawless because it is derived from centuries of trial and error.

I don’t care what my nephew has to say about how wrong all of my advice is. As far as I am concerned, Ryan has new parent syndrome. For those that aren’t aware of this insufferable condition, it’s where a first timer learns that they are going to be responsible for another life and they go overboard reading all sorts of parenting books and who knows what else on the internet.

New parent syndrome is that time, before they even have a baby to hold, where they commit to the kind of parent they envision themselves to be. This is the information gathering stage that shapes parents into the monsters I’ve described above. This is the time where they proclaim their determination not to parent the same way they were raised.

In most cases, the parents don’t turn out like the fanatics I’ve described. It only takes a few years with the wailing, soiled, attention begging spawn for them to come to their senses.

Yes, sir. Give it a couple of years and Ryan will come to understand that my way is the best way. I can wait for my apology.

Parent of the Year,

Azra

***Disclaimer***Azra has been around children for centuries. While not having any of his own, part of being an exiled angel means blending in on earth. As he traveled the earth, he picked up on a lot of parenting practices across the globe. This blog is meant to share his parenting wisdom with a new generation. And to win a bet.

*Note: any advice given is meant to be satirical and not to be taken literally. Please do not exercise it upon any living being, child or otherwise.*

How to Infect Your Spawn with Deadly Diseases So They Can Live

One of the biggest parenting controversies of this day and age is whether or not to vaccinate your offspring.

For those of you that don’t know what vaccines are (I’ll be honest, I had to look it up too), it is injecting babies with weakened versions of serious diseases so their tiny immune systems learn how to kill them. It’s like building up an immunity to iocane powder. Take a little bit at a time until your body can handle it.

There are two sides to this whole concept. Either you are for shooting up your child with science created magic disease water or you are willing to let millions of unvaccinated kids (as well as your own) die along the way.

Science has created an impressive amount of vaccines, such as for measles, mumps, the flu, polio, and scarlet fever to name a few. Some suspect that along with these lifesaving medicines, they have also inadvertently caused problems such as autism, Down syndrome, and gluten intolerance.

It goes without saying that you humans get quite impassioned about the subject. I’ve rarely seen anything more divisive in the parenting world.

So what is a conscientious parent supposed to do? It just so happens that there is a middle ground between two very extreme answers to the vaccine question. It’s something that has been done for centuries with mixed results.

Infect your child, but not by giving them shots of lab generated chemicals. Oh no. Infect them the way nature intended by exposing them to all sorts of ill people. Here on some tips on properly infecting your offspring:

1.       Make them be around sick people— a lot. The more exposure they have to the ill, the more diseases they will contract and then become immune to.

2.       Don’t let them wash their hands. Washing hands kills more germs than anything. If the goal is to infect them, best not to let them at the soap.

3.       Take a trip to the CDC and snatch some of the more infectious diseases. Let’s face it, most people nowadays only get the flu on a regular basis. To make sure your child is vaccinated against the most deadly and infectious diseases, go right to the source and rub them all over the kid.

4.       If the hospital or the CDC won’t let your little terror in with the super sick people, there is an alternative; let them play with biohazard waste. I’m not saying let them romp in the sewers, rather, let them fiddle with old band aids, used tissues, or cough rags from the infirm.

However you infect your child, be sure to give them plenty of time to build up those antibodies. It may also be a good idea to keep a cure for all the diseases, just in case your little walking snot rag is defective. Also, remember all of that hand sanitizer I suggested you get? Make sure you use it yourself while you are vaccinating!

Vaccinate!

Azra

***Disclaimer***Azra has been around children for centuries. While not having any of his own, part of being an exiled angel means blending in on earth. As he traveled the earth, he picked up on a lot of parenting practices across the globe. This blog is meant to share his parenting wisdom with a new generation. And to win a bet.

*Note: any advice given is meant to be satirical and not to be taken literally. Please do not exercise it upon any living being, child or otherwise.*