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.*

Bribery for Behavior: Using Their Need for Parental Attention To Your Advantage

One of the reasons why parenting is so exhausting is the sheer amount of attention your rugrat requires. What’s worse is that they know you are obligated to pay them their attention and they use it every single chance they get.

However, this obvious weakness of theirs is by far one of the best weapons in parenting, if used correctly. While I am not saying completely abandon and neglect your spawn (not unless extreme measures are called for), I am saying if you teach your offspring that your attention is a reward delivered for certain behaviors, then they will pretty much mind you until they reach their teen aged years (and that is a whole separate battle).

Here’s how it works. When your mini human starts acting like an entitled monster, tell them they are being little horrors and then ignore them. And not just ignore them; blatantly remove yourself from their vicinity. Tell them that until they start acting like more civilized creatures, you don’t wish to be around them and then just get up and go. However long enough you keep this up is depending on the severity of their monstrosity and how much of a break you need from their constant yammering. Some parental units will leave their offspring for days or weeks at a time.

Now, some have raised the question of “what if they follow me?”. Simple. Tie them up THEN leave them. If you don’t have suitable ropes, duct tape will work in a pinch. You can even have a designated spot for your child when they are being ridiculous. This can be an oversized dog kennel or a bare, no-nonsense room.

Taking this approach will do one of two things to your spawn:

1.       It will teach them what behaviors are acceptable and which are not. It will also terrify them into behaving for fear of losing your attention/ presence. This means they will behave more often than not.

2.       Your child will also learn self-sufficiency and self- soothing which means that there will be less actual parenting for you to do. 

On a side note, if you have more than one offspring, it may be beneficial to start giving one more attention than the other. Play favorites and make sure everyone knows. To keep them on their toes, switch up your favorite based on who is being good. This will up the sibling rivalry and make each of them strive for your approval even more.

Happy Parenting!

Azra

How Routine is Killing Your Kid

All of the parenting books these days make a big deal about getting your spawn on a routine. These misguided authors insist that kids need to do the same mindless tasks (like brushing their teeth, napping, bathing, making their beds, and eating) day in and day out. Supposedly this will help them build good, healthy habits that will last them until they are legally able to take responsibility for their own actions.

I cannot tell you how much I disagree with this tactic.

Routine is an enemy! It will lull your ankle biters into a false sense of security! When they are least expecting it, there will be no bed to make and their routine will be completely out the window. Your now adult spawn will be completely broken and not have the faintest idea of how to function. There will be whole asylums filled with sad, broken humans unable to cope without their pre-established routine.

Not to mention all of the bad habits that are out there, lurking, waiting for your offspring to fall into them. No, it is best to keep the little germ incubators away from habits and routine all together.

Now, we’ve already agreed that the point of parenting is to ensure the continuation of the human species. In order for that to happen, the generations to come must be adaptable. Routine is the opposite of adaptable.

So, how can we prevent our mini humans from falling into the false sense of security that is routine?

1.       Make the very concept of habits as horrible as possible. Be creative in convincing that if your offspring should be so unlucky as to fall into a routine or develop a habit, they will expire in an incredibly gruesome way. Use images of robots or extinct animals to drive the point home.

2.       Shake up daily activities by not doing anything at the same time. In fact, it’s best to disregard all notion of time. It is a social construct that is centered around building routine. Resist! Being random at all hours is one of the best defenses.

3.       Reject any attempt to schedule your child. This includes schooling, play dates, and doctors’ appointments. If you can have walk-in appointments you can maintain a random lifestyle.

4.       If you see your snot-eater starting a routine, stop it as soon as possible. This can mean depriving them of their habit tools (tooth brushes, washcloths, beds, watches, etc.), taking them on a spontaneous errand or trip, or even punishing them for their habit building.

Keep it random, fellow parental units!

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.*

5 Lessons from my first reading as an author

I’m interrupting Azra’s parental broadcast to address something I am really proud of.

The other day I did something that I’ve never done before. Something that I’ve seen many others do, but that I’ve been terrified to do myself.  I got up in front of people- some I knew and some I didn’t- and I read part of my book out loud.

That’s right. This author did her very first reading and survived.

Writing isn’t really a spectator sport. It’s very much a solitary activity. Putting your words to paper, transcribing your thoughts is intimate, so reading them out loud to an audience is a terrifying prospect.

Doing the reading at our latest book signing was my idea. I thought it would be good for us, educational, if you will. Well, I certainly learned a lot. Here are the top 5 lessons I learned during my first reading.

1.       Practice what you are going to say and how you are going to say it. People can tell if you haven’t practiced.

2.       Give a short intro to the piece you are reading. Let the audience know a bit about what they are listening to. Don’t just jump in.

3.       Be picky about your selections. The scene should draw attention to the story. It should make the audience feel something. I’ve found that humor is a good choice. If you can make people laugh, it helps to know that you are doing a good job, both with the reading and with your writing.

4.       Make sure you can be heard. Triple check your audio connections. Make sure you project your voice really well.

5.       Keep a good attitude. People are more likely to remember how you reacted to mistakes, criticisms, etc rather than those things themselves. If you focus so much on everything that went wrong (and things will go wrong), then it will cast a negative light on the experience not only for you, but for your audience as well.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to readings. I have a lot more to learn and a lot more experience to gather.

Would I do it again? Absolutely.

Fostering Responsibility Part 2: The Importance of Pets

Learning how to be responsible takes time and a lot of practice. What better way to get in that practice than providing your little snot machine a life form of their own to care for?

Giving underage humans some sort of pet in their formative years is a tradition honored across the globe among many different cultures. While the type of creature varies, the intent is the same: don’t let the thing die and or mistreat said thing. It’s not unlike humans who decide to procreate or those who choose to raise adopted offspring; it’s just a different species.

It’s important to match the correct type of creature with the right type of human. When mismatches happen, disaster soon follows. That’s why it is so important to go through a vetting process with any potential pet. Note: do not just ask your child what sort of animal they want. Their answers will be horrible and not at all the best suited animal.

The two best methods of discovering the right type of pet are:

·         Consider what attributes your spawn lacks that an animal can teach or influence upon them. This goes hand in hand with knowing your child- a topic we’ve already covered previously. In this case, let’s say your little terror is short. Like miserably short. Get them an animal known for its height: the elegant giraffe. The kid will either develop an intense height complex or they will grow to match their pet. It’s a 50-50 chance here.

·         Take your child on a spirit quest. Drugs are optional, though peyote does make the experience a bit more intense and resonating. On this spirit quest, they will encounter some sort of animal. Whatever it is they see on the spirit quest that should be their pet. They see a slug, get them a slug. A penguin, invest in a lot of ice or move to Antarctica. A lion, get a REALLY big ball of string. Spirit quests are the best guide for pets. It’s scientifically proven.

Remember, don’t cop out and “rescue” animals either. It is known that the more money you pay for something the better it is. Besides. Rescues implies someone didn’t want them before. Why would your kid want someone’s rejects?

Happy Spirit Questing,

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.*

Family Portraits: To Theme or Not to Theme

One of the biggest perks of being a parental figure is the ability to make your spawn dress up in specific ways in order to document the growth of your family unit. I am talking, of course, about the time honored tradition of family photos.

For those of you not in the know, family photos became a thing once photography really took off. Before that, it was only the rich people who could afford an artist to come and paint them (and what a horrendously boring time that was! All the interesting poses were too hard to maintain. That’s why old portraits are so dour looking). 

The fun part about family portraits is the ability to make it seem that you and your offspring (however many there are) are succeeding at life. After all, the family portrait is how the success or failure of your family unit is judged. They are the cornerstone of all small talk with other humans. They are proof that you are one of them and that you have bred. These are the images with which you decorate your home, your office, your wallet, your desk, and, if you can get the photo made in to a vinyl decal, your vehicle. Therefore, it is absolutely vital that these yearly images are of the highest quality and themed appropriately.

Yes, themes are definitely the way to go. It guarantees your photo will look classy and that your offspring are obviously yours because of the matching pastel jumpers you are all wearing. Decide on a theme as early as possible. I have a running list of themes for years to come. This way, I can prepare realistic props and costumes well in advance (this is a budgetary lifesaver!). Whatever you decide, go all out. Simply matching shirts is not going to cut it. The other humans will sense your insincerity for this ritual and shun you for it. Don’t half ass your family portrait because it will show and your perceived success/fail score will suffer for it.

Here are a few common themes that will get your family started on the path to family portrait success.

·         The Old West: for when history and the economy are important to you and your spawn. Little Jimmy can be a sheriff, little Alice can be a saloon girl, you can be the old crotchety prospector . . .  you get my drift. Bonus points for locating a mining town and having the portraits taken there. Be careful of which locals manage to make it in the shot, though. They may be ghosts.

·         Music Moguls: for when you want to show off what riches you (don’t) have. For this one, do your research and watch as much MTV as possible. Wear absolutely impractical outfits with lots of fur, feathers, gold, and shiny things. Have stacks of money ready to “rain” down on you and your offspring for the best effect. If you can somehow show autotune in your portrait, bonus points.

·         Country Club Sell Outs: this is a classic configuration that is meant to convey old, established wealth and stature. Everyone should have white sweaters draped over their pastel polo shirts and skorts. Decoratively arrange tennis rackets and tennis balls around the family. Action shots are encouraged, but notoriously difficult to pull off.

·         Outdoors Fun: for proof that your family can survive anything. The preferred look is camouflage and face paint. If you can identify the family members from the surroundings, they aren’t really that good at it, are they?

There are millions of other ideas, so don’t feel limited by this list. Remember. A picture is worth a thousand words so make your family portrait use all of them.

Say Cheese!

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.*

When to Let Your Kid Dress Themselves and How To Responsibly Avoid Them In Public

Fashion is finicky. Clothing choices transform a lot for the human species. With garb drastically changing not only from culture to culture, but also time periods and human ages, it’s so hard to get it right.

As a parent, you are obligated to ensure your offspring is properly dressed. Or are you?

Consider this: allowing your spawn to decide in the manner they are dressed teaches self-sufficiency and boosts confidence. Which, if you have read my previous blogs on the subjects, are great things for your rug rat to have.

A good fashion sense takes years to develop, though in many cases, it doesn’t develop at all. That would be all well and good, except for one tiny thing. Society judges you on your appearance and nothing else.

So, for the sake of creating a self-sufficient and confident human, you are left with letting your undeveloped monster choose the striped tutu over the dinosaur costume with the mismatching cowboy boots and ugly sweater vest. Which would be fine except you have to be seen and associated with them.

                What is a parent to do?

                Avoid them. Avoid being seen with them until their sense of fashion either comes out of hiding or until it is socially acceptable for them to be in public by themselves. Here are a couple of tips:

·          Keep them locked up and out of the public eye. This approach is what I like to call the Rapunzel tactic. It only works for so long before they want to be let out and your counter measures (locks, towers, vague threats of the outside world, etc) fail.

·         Watch them from afar. Keep a certain amount of distance from your child while in public. When they call for you, look away and ignore them. Soon, they will learn not to address you when other people are within eyesight.

·         Hire someone to be seen in public with your offspring. Depending on how much they charge, you can also have them dress like your child, thus absolving you of your public parental image. Problem solved.

Fashionably 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.*

Phoenix Comic Con and the Struggle of Independent Creators

Azra is taking a break from his parenting blog this week to allow me to speak about something that is near and dear to my heart: Independent Creators.

Phoenix Comic Con is this week. It is the biggest show we (Five Smiling Fish and Hellbat Publications) do all year. We worry, we prep, we stress about having the right product and enough product to sell to the hordes of people turning out for the event.

It’s really hard to do when you are an independent creator. You have to somehow capture the imagination and the attention of passersby enough to make them stop and take a closer look at your wares. That’s why so many people do fan art: popular characters and stories already told have a HUGE fan base. That ironic picture of Harley Quinn and that reimaging of Stitch is what draws people in.

But what about your own original ideas? What about your original characters and story lines? In all the madness of pop culture today, it seems that originality is only good for twisting what is already popular into a new product or image. It’s disheartening when your original creations are passed over for yet another super hero logoed item.

So many creators that attend Phoenix Comic Con and other events like it hoping to build their fan base. They want to connect with the public and have their work known and appreciated.

It takes a lot of work and even more courage to put your creations out for public consumption. Believe me.

I tell you this to highlight the struggle these local artists and businesses go through. In our instance, the crafts we make, the plush, the perlers, the tails, the ears, the keychains. . .  all of it was a way to pay for our real dream: creating our own publishing company and getting our books out.

Now, we are fighting to get our original content out there and create a fan base.

It’s almost like screaming into the void.

 So while you are out having fun with your friends and showing off your elaborate and impressive cosplay design, stop by artist alley and take a look at some original creations. Compliment what you like, maybe even buy a piece. Most importantly, go and look and recognize all the work and all the guts it takes to make something original and put it out there to see.

                Happy Hug an Indie Creator Weekend!

                Kira

                PS- Five Smiling Fish and Hellbat Publications will be at AA529 and AA531. Stop by and say hi!

Controlling Your Child Part 2: Parental Guilt; The Double Edge Sword

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 going to discuss the mother of all controlling mechanisms. It’s the time honored, most effective means of making your kid do what you want- Parental Guilt.

If you are a human and had parents, it is likely that you have been a victim of parental guilt and you have done something you didn’t really want to do because your parental unit made you feel terrible until you did it. The Guilt is a masterful stroke of childrearing. The best part is that it’s a universal tool for controlling your child. No matter what the situation, the Guilt can be used to make it go your way.

Learning how to execute the Guilt is a whole other ballgame than being the recipient of it. Now, since I am neither human, nor had a parental figure micromanage me enough to try the Guilt, all of the tips I am about to dispense are from my years of observing human interaction. You humans are ingenious for thinking up such a tactic as the Guilt. I salute you.

1.       The best instances of the Guilt are when the victim doesn’t even realize there is a guilt trip happening. The insinuations are so subtle and the guilt so pervasive that it almost seems like it is the victims make up their minds themselves. To achieve this is truly an art form. You have to be subtle. You have to be crafty and not make it fully apparent the thing you want your victim to do. You have to make it seem like it was their own idea. This level of ingenuity is usually attained the older the human gets. Grandmothers are the masters.

2.       The shame motivated Guilt. This is one of the more easily achieved forms of parental guilt, though it does require the victim to be a little older so that they “know better”. Usually that is the key phrase to evoke the trip: “You know better than that.” If you add in a disappointed face or a strategically placed tsk, it really adds to it.

3.       Making it all about you. More specifically, making the choices your offspring make directly affect you, even if they don’t. This is the classic form of parental guilt. Example: “How could you do this to me? You know that everything you do is a direct reflection on me! Why do you want to treat your family in such a way?”

4.       The silent guilt. This is perfected when all you have to do is give your offspring a certain look. the hardest part is to maintain your silence, though, depending on the verbiage you use, it can help your case. Refuting your obvious upsetness and also stating over and over again, “I’m not saying anything.”

If you want to get ambitious, you can also combine these techniques to customize the parental guilt experience for your spawn. Just be careful; kids are quick and they will use your own techniques against you. Be prepared to battle as much as you dish out.

                Remember, if it isn’t going to cost hundreds in thousands of dollars in therapy for your offspring later on, you’re not doing it right.

                Happy Guilt Tripping!

                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.*

Being a Single Uncle in a Couple’s Parenting World

I want to take a break from talking about raising human offspring into productive members of society for just a moment and talk about something even more pressing.

I am single.

Not only am I single, but a single uncle who cares for his unique (dare I say special) nephew.

In a couples parenting world, that alone is enough to ostracize me.

Do you have any idea how hard you couples make raising kids on single parental figures? Not just single parents, but single relatives of any kind?

We single parental figures have to work twice as hard for twice as long to make sure these rabid human spawn grow up semi decently. If that’s not enough to make one seriously consider taking up alcoholism as a hobby, we also have to deal with you. Yes. You.

You gather in your couples cliques at the playground as your little monsters run amuck and gossip about the kid whose uncle struggled to bring in fruit rollups for the congregation of holy terrors that are the kids for last snack time. On your high horses, you pass judgement on those of us not in a serious relationship or, heck, those of us not biologically related to the kids we are trying to raise.

Stop. Just stop.

It’s not that we necessarily WANT to do this tough job of raising these monsters alone. It’s that we have to.

Parenting is hard enough without having to deal with petty nonsense like couples judging you for every little thing.

Let’s just all breathe and do this parenting thing together. We are collectively raising the next generation. Maybe if we act like we get along, they will too.

Single Parental Figures Unite!

Azra

PS: Check me out on Tinder.

***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.*

Fostering Responsibility Part 1: Cleaning is for Kids

Part of being a successful human is the ability to take responsibility for yourself, to pull your own weight in society. There is also a time honored tradition to get someone else to handle that shit so you don’t have to.  If you have kids, then you can kill two birds with one stone: teach them to be responsible by shirking your own duties.

How, you ask? It’s a rather simple concept called delegation. Even though it is easy, depending on how you execute the plan, the outcomes will vary—meaning you can either choose to teach your offspring the things you will delegate or just give it to them and have confidence they will figure it out along the way.

The spin depends on what sort of emotional trauma you want to inflict on your spawn.

So. What kind of things can you comfortably delegate to your little one? My initial answer is everything and anything, but for those of you who lack imagination, there will be a few different posts on the sorts of things you can delegate to your spawn and what sort of reaction they evoke. 

Today’s delegation topic is maid duty.

Many parents already have modified versions of this with chore charts and the like. It’s a good start, but it should be amped up. Taking out the garbage is one thing, but the kid should also know the ins and outs of recycling, landscaping upkeep (bonus points for winter and summer gardens), bathroom sanitizing, dish scrubbing and polishing, floor maintenance, and dust removal, to name a few. Now, I’m not talking about the once a week you have to do this and go about your merry way, sort of maid duty. I’m talking daily-get-the-rubber-gloves-out kind of detailed cleaning. If you can’t see your reflection in your baseboards, the kid isn’t trying hard enough.

There’s also some question as to how young parents can start their offspring on doing chores. My response is, if they can hold a rag, they can clean.

Don’t take it easy on them. Little humans are springy and resilient. They can crawl under houses and exterminate rats. They can re-shingle a roof. They can repair garage doors.

The best part is that you can let them learn all about responsibility by letting them take on yours.

Smart parenting right there.

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.*

Age Isn’t Everything: How Annual Survival Parties Harm Your Offspring

I’ve noticed that humans have a tendency to make a big deal about their spawn surviving another year. Like clockwork, parents will gather everyone they know in either someone’s home or at that strange pizza restaurant with an arcade and animatronic rats or bears or whatever. A curious ritual then takes place. All of these people share a meal of cardboard-like pizza before sacrificing a cake by lighting it on fire. After that, the celebrant in question opens presents, or what I call survival bribes, while everyone watches and takes pictures.

Now, all of this is fine and dandy. Every species has their own habits and rituals. The part that confuses me though is this: after a certain number of revolutions around the sun, humans stop making a big deal about surviving. For all the attention they once gave to getting older, they suddenly pretend they aren’t. In fact, they will actively begin trying NOT to age.

It’s a conundrum I just can’t wrap my head around.

What does this have to do with your ankle biter?  Well? In the interest of not having them go through a vicious mid-life crisis when they’ve hit the point of age denial, I propose something both obvious and radical.

Stop. Celebrating. Birthdays. Better yet, stop acknowledging age in number of years. If that happens, then you humans wouldn’t be so damn preoccupied with how long you’ve been on the earth and how to look nothing like your years.

As an added bonus, think of all the hours you’d get back by not hanging out in mouse-infested pizza joints that are lousy with slot machines geared to kids.

But keep the cake part. The cake part is good.

A very merry un-birthday,

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 1: Voodoo, Witch Doctors & Their Place In Parenting

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.

Right now, though, we are here to discuss the benefits of a little something I like to call Voodoo and the Witch doctors that practice it. Voodoo is a real, viable manner in which to control your little monster. One of their hallmark moves is mind control so that the controlled person is more or less a zombie bending to your will.

Now, angels have the ability to do this already (what, do you think they can possess humans only if they are demons? Please. Demons are angels. More on that later.), but humans being able to mind control each other is a massive breakthrough. It is in your best interest to use all tools available to you if you want to succeed as a parent.

Don’t know the first thing about creating a Voodoo zombie? That’s alright. I’ve got some awesome tips to help you along your zombifying way.

·         Don’t know where to start? Your friendly neighborhood Witch Doctor can help you out. While each Witch Doctor is different, they are all attracted to the infamous song “Witch Doctor”. You know it; the one that goes “Oo ee oo ah ah, ching chang walla walla bing bang.” Preferably use the chipmunk version. They will be drawn to you like ants to sugar.

·         Your Witch Doctor will give you a list of ingredients to come up with if you want your spell. I cannot stress enough how you should get EXACTLY what they want. If you cut corners on your zombie ingredients, you will get a sub-par hold on the mind of your little ankle biter. That is no fun for anyone and would most likely be the origination of the zombie apocalypse. Don’t be that asshole.

·         When you do have mental control over your offspring, practice first. You don’t want to go out in public and have your hold slip. That would be bigger than the tantrum you were trying to prevent in the first place.

·         Sometimes your spawn will know you’ve been mucking about in their head. If they catch on, you can use it as an effective deterrent to bad behavior without having to resort to the Voodoo spell. Example: “No, Timmy, you cannot bathe in the glitter glue. Don’t ask again or I will Voodoo zombie you so fast your head will spin.”

·         Be sure your little terror doesn’t bite anyone while they are under the influence. I understand Voodoo zombies are not the same as Walking Dead zombies, but better safe than sorry. Again. Don’t be that asshole.

Happy Head Shrinking!

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.*

Know Your Kid: Step 1 In the Prevention of Super Villains

Sun Tzu once paraphrased the term “Know Thine Enemy” in his bestselling novel The Art of War. It’s a very sage piece of advice. I’m not saying outright that your rugrat is the enemy, all I’m saying is that it is best to be prepared for all eventualities. Super villains happen and if you’re not careful, your kid could end up as one of them.

Understanding how your little terror thinks and how they will react in certain situations is key to not only controlling them, but knowing which side of the good/evil coin they fall on. There’s an added bonus of your mini-you being easier to get along with as long as you are pulling the strings. Not to mention it will get you the fast track to Super Hero status if your spawn turned out to be one of the 37% of humans that are evil.

Really, let’s be honest, this is about the Super Hero status.

So, how do you get to know your offspring to the point of being able to predict their actions and thought processes?

Never fear, newbie parents! I shall teach you.

·         Spy on them. In today’s world of technology, it is a simple thing to set up cameras to watch your youngling’s every move. With how discreet they are, there’s no way the kid will even know you’re watching.

·         Ask them personal questions, preferably when they aren’t prepared for them. You’ll get a more honest answer when you wake them up at 2 a.m. than you would during a normal conversation in the day.

·         Have a cadre of informants that observe your offspring. Ideally, these would be people that have daily contact with your child. It could be the owner of the shop they stop in on the way to school, the parent helper in the classroom, even the homeless guy wandering the neighborhood. For a small bribe, anyone can be your eyes.

·         Constantly test your child for their evil quotient. There are various ways of doing this, the most obvious and common is purposefully putting your child in situations that are morally ambiguous. Like planting wallet in the middle of their path or having a stranger ask for assistance. Record what they do and refer back often. Sometimes you may need to repeat the test when your child is in different moods.

·         Along with testing for their evil quotient, also test them for their weaknesses. How long can they hold their breath? Do they have an allergy to certain bugs or plants? How electrically conducive are they? All are valid questions when it comes to knowing what will take them out should the time come.

Remember to start early these things early. The older your little monster gets, the more closed off and devious they become. If you begin these practices at infancy, they won’t realize just how much they give away and their super villain tendencies will be revealed sooner rather than later.

Keep your capes handy!

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.*

Bedtime: Sleep Is For The Weak

A lot of parenting experts will tell you that it is important to get your little terror on a steady sleep schedule.

It’s a load of hogwash.

A kid’s worst enemy is sleep. Sleeping is an addiction that should be broken at an early age, otherwise it will suck hours away from its victim every night. Kids understand this and they fight against sleep with everything they have. Don’t believe me? Watch how they act around “nap time” or “bedtime”. They cry, they bargain, they pretend they have the smallest bladders in the universe, they rebel, they throw fits, and, when all else fails, they create elaborate stories about boogeymen and nightmares.

To trick their little monsters into succumbing to the addiction of sleep, I’ve heard of parents doing insane bedtime rituals that include storytelling and warm milk. In return, their little pipsqueak stalls and fights the coming unconsciousness. But they are small humans and weak, so they succumb eventually.

Are you proud of yourself, parents? Huh? Are you? Bullying defenseless children into sleeping. You should be ashamed!

So, how can you help your child defeat the enemy known as sleep? It’s simple. Let them stay up. When they exhaust themselves and are on the brink of sleep, wake them up and keep them awake. Some methods:

1.       Caffeine. We’re talking black coffee, certain teas, soda (see the previous post about nutrition), some energy drinks, even pills! The benefit is that caffeine is super easily accessible. The down side is that humans tend to build up a tolerance so that each time, it will take more and more caffeine to work.

2.       Loud noises. This works if it’s been quiet for a long time and if your little terror is on the brink of falling asleep. Just as their eyes start to close, BAM! Hit that cymbal! Bang on those drums! Get your inner 80’s hair metal band on.

3.       Movement. Sleep is more likely to attack if your rugrat is sitting still. Get them up and moving as much as possible. Utilize their own natural energy! Hook them up to a treadmill or stationary bike that is attached to a generator. Cut down on your electricity bill while saving your child from the grips of sleep.

There are more ways to keep your kid awake, but it depends on the type of child you have. The three above are the most customizable options at your disposal.

Until next time, keep fighting the good fight and say no to bedtime!

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.*

Publishing A Book AKA: Emotional Rollercoaster From Hell

Azra kindly let me take over the blog this week (don’t worry. He’ll be back next Tuesday). I’m in the final stages of publishing Legend of the Strega and, let me tell you, I am so ready for it to be done. At this point, I am just tired of waiting. I’m not a particularly patient person and this part of the process always has me on edge.

If you’ve ever published a book, you understand.

For those of you who haven’t, let me take you through the steps that has been this book and you can get a glimpse of what indie authors all over the world have to deal with.

1.       Write the story. This is the biggest part of writing. You HAVE to write! If you finish a first draft, you statistically closer to publishing the book. So many people give up on this very important first step. Legend of the Strega took about 2 years of me fiddling with it before it was ready for someone else to read.

Time: 2 years

2.       Editing your story. I am SUPER lucky in that I have amazing friends who aren’t scared to tell me what they really think. When I think my story is ready for public consumption, I send it to them first. They. Rip. It. Apart. Which is great because I know every criticism they have will only make the piece better. It takes me some time not to be salty about it (average is 3 days), but in the end, I know it is for the best. For Legend of the Strega, this process took a little over a year. This is because they had other obligations and timing was off. I also record the story in audio form for my husband to listen to. He is another one who gives me the hard line criticism that’s bound to make me not want to look at him. Again. In the end, it just makes the story better.

Time: 1 year

3.       Once all of the edits have been put in, it’s time for beta reader feedback. These people are amazing. They represent your general audience and read your story in order to tell you what they think as a reader. They are the ones that can tell you if that joke on page 54 is actually funny. For an author just starting out, these people are hard to find. Sometimes you have to bamboozle them into reading your story (sorry, Brad). Legend of the Strega was lucky to have someone really want to read it; a good friend of mine who already had a TON going on, but decided to help me out anyway. This process took about two months.

Time: 2 months

4.       Line Editing. It’s a good idea to have someone who knows grammar and sentence structure better than you look over the words you’ve committed to paper. A good line editor can make or break a book. For Legend of the Strega, my line editor (LOVE HER!) gave me a window of 15 days all through which I bit my nails in anticipation. Was it horrible? How many edits did she have to make? Why is it taking so long if I know how to write? Wait. Maybe I don’t know how to write. I can’t start all over! I have to get this project done! What if I have too many commas and she thinks I’m a jerk now? GAH!

Time: 15 days

5.       Now, your line edits are in and you’ve deleted all of the excess commas and adverbs. It’s time to format your word document into something resembling a physical book. If you don’t know what you are doing, be prepared to spend a LOT of time on Google figuring out how to eliminate widows and orphans. Also, pagination, embedding fonts, page breaks vs section breaks, alternating headers, adjusting the margins for the gutter, converting to the right kind of PDF, and if you have pictures, making them happen. This is one of the most frustrating parts to the process. You are tempted to just settle for what is fine. Don’t. Summon up the patience to make it exactly what you want. It will be worth it. I’ve spent the last weekend doing this for Legend of the Strega.

Time: 2 days

6.       Cover Art and ISBNs. The size of your cover art depends on the size of the interior. Most places will help with a template. I get my art locally. Depending on their timeframe, you are looking at a month to three or so. Luckily, my artist kicks ass and had my cover art and title logo done months ago. All I had to do was send him the template and he formatted it for me. ISBN- I bought mine through Bowker. It is fairly simple to generate a barcode from their website. I sent that on over to my artist and he made it all come together beautifully. The art process took about three month’s total, even though I did the initial art part while Legend of the Strega was being edited.

Time: 3 months

7.       Submitting your interior and cover files into the distributor. Each distributor is different. Mine is fairly simple. They have a style guide and will let you know if your files are messed up. The thing is that the process takes 2-3 business days. This is the part I am at. Waiting for the system to send me an e-proof. I’m so ready to be done! There’s just a couple more steps though.

Time: 3 days

8.       Getting your e-proof and ordering your print proof. Once the system sends you the e-proof, go over it with a fine tooth comb. Seriously. Make sure everything looks good, no pages are missing, etc. If there are things wrong, you have to go back to formatting and converting to PDF. Not. Fun. However, if it is right then you can order your print proof! I really recommend this step. Ordering the print proof is a good idea to have it in your hands so you can see things that are not visible on the computer screen. Like, are your gutters too wide? Did something cut off mid-sentence? Is your cover art the right color? When you get your proof, give yourself at least two days to go over it. Take your time and make sure it’s right.

Time: 4 days

9.       If all goes well, then you are ready to order your first print run (YAY!!!) and wait for the shipping (#$%*@!). Depending on how much you want to spend, shipping can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 weeks. The good news is that after that, you are done waiting and you can get out there and make the world read it!

Time: 6 weeks

Total time for Legend of the Strega:  3 years, 7 months, and 6 days.

It’s worth it.

Conformity over Autonomy: What To Do If Your Kid Is The Weird One

Not many creatures on earth tolerate differences in their own species. For instance, white ravens are often killed by their dark-feathered brethren, all because of the color of their plumage!

Humans are just as vicious, if not more cruel. Differences between humans are seen as weakness. They will either kill or ostracize the ones that don’t fit in.

Which is why it is absolutely vital that your offspring fit in with the other human spawn. Remember, if they do, then, unlike the poor white ravens, your pint sized person will not be pecked to death or worse! Not fitting in could mean that they will never find a mate and become a burden on their fellow humans without actively perpetuating the human race.

If your child survives into adulthood and adds its own spawn to the species, you win the game!

The ideology of conformity over autonomy begins with you: the parental figure. Here are some tips to help you stamp out any attempt your child makes towards individualism.

1.       Aim for Average. Overachievers and underachievers alike draw attention to themselves. If you reinforce that average is the way to go in studies, sports, in life, it will keep your little animal firmly in the middle of the pack. It’ll also have the added bonus of not putting undue pressure to achieve on them or on you.

2.       Teach them from a young age that being different is bad and if they are different, they should be ashamed. This will keep them focused on fitting in.

3.       Friends. This is a tricky one. Friends should make your child feel like they belong, however, they do have the unfortunate side effect of influencing your little blank slate. Be sure whatever friends your offspring manages to attract embody the essence of average and don’t stand out. If you can remember their names and what they look like, they are not average enough.

Remember- Conformity. It’s for their own good.

Stay mediocre, my friends.

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.*

Is It Childproofing Or Just Removing Consequences?

As a parent, you are naturally concerned for your kid’s well-being. You want them to be safe. Many parents take the safety thing to an unhealthy level by locking up or securing basic items in their homes such as cabinets, light sockets, even toilets! Modern manufacturers have caught onto this trend and have jumped on the bandwagon themselves by making certain consumables and sundries impossible to open.

My question is why? Not only does childproofing your living space complicate adult lives unnecessarily, it prevents your little snot tornado from learning that actions have consequences. That latter part has the potential for catastrophic outcomes. If your offspring doesn’t learn about consequences, then it will impact their ability to adapt, their integrity will be nonexistent, their entitlement will be through the roof. In short, they will grow into entitled brats that no one will want to be around. This means the chances of them fulfilling their purpose of continuing the species is severely compromised.

“But Azra, if they got into bleach it could kill my child wouldn’t that also compromise their purpose on earth?”

The answer to that is both yes and no. Yes, if your mini-you got into the household cleaners and drank enough of it you would, in fact, fail at parenting. No, because as far as them contributing to the survival of the species, well? They drank bleach. At that point, it is natural selection and it is better they didn’t reproduce.

My point is, by childproofing the world to keep your rugrat safe, you are really doing more harm than good. Sheltering your kid from the world is not going to let them operate well in it.

My advice is to let them get into things. Let them explore. Let them experience the consequences of their actions first hand. I promise they will be much more interesting as adults if they are missing limbs.

Live dangerously!

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.*

Poisoning Your Offspring the Right Way: Nutrition for Modern Times

There is one major tell that indicates exactly where you are in your parenting journey and that is what you feed your spawn.

A trend over the last few decades is for new parents to focus on whole, organic, non-processed foods as the only source of nutrition for their little garbage disposals.

I cannot stress enough how misinformed and just plain wrong that approach is.

Thankfully, it seems that the more offspring parents have, the more they come to their senses and stop feeding their children “healthy” options.

It’s simple, people. If all you expose your progeny to is organic, non-modified food, they will have absolutely no way to cope with the imminent threats of climate change and the ever pervasive chemical farming techniques that are influencing the food supply. If they can’t adapt to the changing environment, they will die and then you lose at parenting. We don’t want losers— just winners.

The idea is poison them early and often.

So, how can a concerned parent achieve this when they are constantly bombarded with “healthy choices”? It takes dedication and perseverance, but here are some tips to help your mini you survive the impending destruction of the world.

1.       Understand healthy buzzwords so you can avoid them. These words include but are not limited to: healthy, smart, choice, light, alternative, free, whole, organic, fresh, real, non-fat, all natural, non GMO, and free range.

2.       Make sure your food has a label and read them. The key here is the more ingredients the better. Each food option should have at least 10 ingredients, bonus points if most of those ingredients are unpronounceable.

3.       Fast food is an underrated option for making sure your little one is chemically up to par with the changing times. Aim for hitting up the fried, pink slime burgers at least once a day.

4.       Always choose pre-packaged over making things from scratch. If you are into the whole cooking thing, consider instead of dicing and peeling those potatoes by hand, buy a frozen lasagna dinner instead. It will save time, prep work, and dishes as well as give the added benefit of a chemical cornucopia!

5.       Remember, you are what you eat. Choose foods that don’t occur naturally in the wild and that would have a shelf life of years rather than days.

While these tips certainly don’t cover all the ways to correctly poison your child, they will start you on the right path to make sure your young has what it takes to survive whatever comes next.

Chomp On!

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.*