Ask Azra: Coming Out of the Closet

Dear Azra. My parents are super strict and really religious. I’ve struggled with coming to terms with my sexuality for years because of how I was raised. Well, it’s finally gotten to the point that I can’t hide it any more. I have to tell them that I am gay. How should I break the news to them?

Respectfully

Closet Case

I hate to tell you, Closet Case, but you are going to absolutely devastate your parents. The last thing any parent wants to hear is that they have failed as a parent. To recap, parenting is ensuring that your offspring contribute to the perpetuation of the human species. If you are gay, then you aren’t procreating, which means that they have failed as parents. Remember, your sexuality isn’t about you, it’s about your parents.

In order to come clean about their failure, you will have to make it pretty spectacular. Here are some ideas for coming out of the closet that won’t completely devastate your parents.

1.       Contrive to have them walking in on you while you are having sex with your partner. This will ensure significant mortification for everyone involved and, while it will get across the point that you are gay, it will also have the added benefit of never being spoken about again out of sheer embarrassment.

2.       Turn it into a celebration. Hire a parade of Drag Queens to show up at their church on Sunday and dance to YMCA by the Village People. Bonus points if you can get the local chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, because, well themes are important. They will help out you to not only your parents, but their whole church community too.

3.       Take them to your favorite strip joint and have them watch in abject horror as you get on stage and strut your stuff!

 

The long and short of it is this. Yes, your parents failed in raising you, but you still have a life to live. You deserve to be happy and no one who lived their life in the closet was ever happy. Just remember that when your parents bemoan who and how you are it is really their fault, not yours. So here’s one last piece of advice. Take everything from your childhood that was an indication of your emerging sexuality and put it in a power point presentation. Go through it all with them and point out what they had obviously missed. Remind them that it is their fault. But also tell them you are glad they failed because you are happy with who you are.

Never settle for a closet bound life,

Azra

***Disclaimer***Azra is not someone to take advice from. He’s not even human- he’s an exiled angel that gets his kicks dispensing horrible advice to people. Do not take his advice seriously. It is meant to be satirical and not to be taken literally.

Ask Azra: Getting out of a Blind Date

Dear Azra. My friends are setting me up on a blind date that I don’t want to go on. I’m okay being single and I’ve told them that, but none of them are listening to me. They haven’t even given me the guy’s name so I can’t do a social media search to see what kind of crazy I’m getting into. All they tell me is that he’s nice and that he will meet me at the restaurant at seven pm Friday night. How can I get out of this?

Happily Single.

Well, Single, have you stopped to think why are your friends putting you through this? Why are they setting you up with random strangers? Could it be that you are not, in fact, good at being single? Perhaps you are such a mess when you are alone that setting you up with someone, no matter how random, is their last shot before one of them just ends up adopting you out of pity.

But I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.

Since you don’t want your friends to keep trying to set you up, you’ve only got one chance to make this convincing. You have to make it blatantly clear, beyond all shadow if a doubt that you cannot be trusted in a relationship.  Not only do you have to scare away the blind date, but you also have to traumatize your friends enough so they don’t ever try something like this again. Go big or go home.

Since you are already single, you probably know how to scare off potential suitors on your own. Just in case, here are some tips on making sure you always identify with Beyonce’s song, “All the Single Ladies”.

·         Make a solid first impression by embracing your inner cat lady. Except don’t use cats, they are too mainstream. Use wild raccoons instead. Do your best to look like a trash panda- go excess smoky eye and over sized patchwork sweaters to make you look homeless. Bring your own feral raccoon to the restaurant. Say he is your service animal. Demand to inspect the dumpster of the restaurant before being seated. This way you can ferret through the discarded plates to see what is on the menu. Act like a raccoon. Be a raccoon.

·         Research him as much as you can... with him right in front of you. This is the perfect way to ask all of those nosy questions right to his face. Find his social media profiles. Ask what he meant by that vague post five years ago. Question his relationship with every other woman he is friends with. Demand to know why he doesn’t tag his mother in every other post. Pull his Credit Score and go over it with a fine tooth comb. Does he have any priors? Question him about his employment record. After all, this is supposed to be a “get to know you” date, right? Pull out all the stops. You never know if you will uncover the fact that he is a serial killer or a petty thief.

If, for some weird reason, the guy is still interested in pursuing a relationship with you, you only have one more option left.

Vomit.

That’s right. Vomit all over the table, the food, and the sorry bastard. Then run for your life.

Here’s to your Dream Date!

Azra

***Disclaimer***Azra is not someone to take advice from. He’s not even human- he’s an exiled angel that gets his kicks dispensing horrible advice to people. Do not take his advice seriously. It is meant to be satirical and not to be taken literally.

Ask Azra: Battling Boredom- How to Make Your Life More Interesting

Dear Azra. I am bored. Not in an “oh, I need to pick up a hobby” or “call up some friends” kind of way. I am seriously, completely, and utterly bored of my life. There’s nothing to look forward to. Every day is the same old routine: I get up, I go to work, I come home, I watch some TV, then I go to sleep only to wake up the next morning and do it all over again. How can I get some excitement in my life? How can I truly start to live?

Sincerely,

Bored to Tears

Dear Bored

It’s obvious what you have to do. Yes, that’s right. The exact opposite of what you have been doing. If you want to stop being bored, then stop doing the stuff that’s making you boring. Quit your job. Abandon your home. Hit the road. Take up shark taming as your hobby. Become a double agent. Get yourself lost in the Amazon. Ditch everyone you know and find different friends. Start living your life as though you were someone else because if you’re bored then you are boring.

Be anyone but you!

Azra

Ask Azra: Cooking on a Budget

Hey Azra,

I am trying to save money and be healthier by cooking my meals at home. Any advice on how to make the healthiest food on a strict budget?

Healthy But Hungry

It sounds like you have a couple of problems going on here.

First, you’ve bought into the “healthy eating agenda”. This is sponsored by those mega granola companies to help line their pockets with cash. Think about it, the longer you live the more granola you consume and the more money you put out for your fix. You’ve become an unwitting cash cow for these corporations! The government is in on it too, for obvious reasons that I shouldn’t have to go into.

Second, you didn’t say how much your food budget actually is. It’s really hard to give accurate advice without all of the information, Healthy But Hungry. Since you didn’t specify, I will have to assume that you have $0 a week to spend on food.

It’s obvious what you have to do. Give up your job and dedicate yourself to farming and raising your own food products. Food is a basic necessity of life. If you don’t have food, you don’t live. What would be nobler than disappearing and creating your own farm on some patch of land you happen across? Steal some seeds and a shovel and get to planting. Pilfer some cows and chickens and there you have it, beef and, well, chicken.

By giving up all of your worldly belongings and responsibilities and trading it all in for true self sufficiency, then you are not only evading those mega granola companies, you are saving a ton of money.

Also, don’t get caught. Granola companies are ruthless. Best change your name and remove your fingerprints.

Live Free! Down with Big Granola,

Azra

***Disclaimer***Azra is not someone to take advice from. He’s not even human- he’s an exiled angel that gets his kicks dispensing horrible advice to people. Do not take his advice seriously. It is meant to be satirical and not to be taken literally.

Ask Azra: Getting A Promotion

Hey Azra,

I really want this new job in my department. How can I make sure they pick me for the promotion?

Sincerely,

Corporate Ladder Climber

Honestly, it all depends on how badly you want the promotion. On a scale of one (eh, not really) to ten (I will do ANYTHING), here is how to ensure that you are not passed up for the big bucks.

1-9: You’re lying. You really want this job, you are just acting nonchalant. Stop lying to me and to yourself. Admit it. You REALLY want this job. Skip to level 10.

10: Okay, you are serious about getting this promotion. That’s great! The key to this level of commitment is just that; being committed. You don’t just want this promotion, you NEED it. Your entire life hinges on this job. All of your happiness, all of your success as a human, all of it depends on you getting this promotion.

When you are that committed to this, then you won’t hesitate to do what it takes like:

 

-          Bribery

-          Mild to moderate stalking

-          Making threats

-          Carrying out said threats

-          Becoming ethically nebulous

-          Kidnapping

-          Torture

-          Blackmail

-          Computer/records hacking

-          Sabotage

Truly, when you are this dedicated, the question becomes what won’t you do? If you are at a level 10, then there isn’t much of that on the table.

So get creative and go get that promotion, Corporate Ladder Climber!

You’ve got this!

Azra

***Disclaimer***Azra is not someone to take advice from. He’s not even human- he’s an exiled angel that gets his kicks dispensing horrible advice to people. Do not take his advice seriously. It is meant to be satirical and not to be taken literally.

 

Ask Azra: My Best Friend is Bridezilla

Dear Azra,

My best friend is usually a really easy going person. She’s smart and funny and kind. However, since she got engaged, she’s changed for the worse. This wedding has made her crazy. As her maid of honor, she’s forbidden me from losing or gaining any weight until after the wedding and has created a strict diet plan for me to follow. That’s not all. She has actually petitioned the church to allow the priest to wear a hideous burnt orange so that he will match the general color scheme. Currently, she is making a list of dos and don’ts for the guests to put in the envelopes with the invitations. If she doesn’t get her way, watch out! There’s a chance she will physically hurt you. She’s already scared off or fired three wedding planners. The whole wedding party is terrified of her, including her soon to be husband. How can we get our easy going friend back?

Bridezilla’s Bestie

I really hate to break it to you, Bestie, but your friend is gone. Let me give you some background. Wedding experts have reported a startlingly steady rise in the Bridezilla phenomena in the last few decades. Some think that whoever becomes Bridezilla is cursed. Others think it’s a sort of instinctual rebellion against marriage. All I know is that it’s best to be outside of striking distance.

The change in the bride comes almost as soon as the big question is popped and a ring is presented. While the change may not be immediately recognizable, it is instantaneous.

According to the latest scientific studies, these crazy behaviors are irreversible once the wedding happens. These traits will then stay with the bride throughout her married life.

The only way to for sure get your friend back is to sabotage the wedding.

Yes, you heard me right, stop the wedding to save your friend from a life time of micromanagement and horrible behavior choices. It’s best for everyone involved that the wedding does not take place. It’s not enough just to quit, you’ve got to save the wedding party and the guests too. It’s your duty as maid of honor.

Do everything you can to put an end to the madness; sleep with the groom, don’t send out the invitations, set fire to the venue, lose the rings, kidnap the bride right before the ceremony. However you do it, just stop the wedding by any means possible. Your friend will thank you once it is all over.

If you are unsuccessful at putting an end to the nuptials, then take time to mourn your friend because she’s never coming back.

Best of Luck!

Azra

***Disclaimer***Azra is not someone to take advice from. He’s not even human- he’s an exiled angel that gets his kicks dispensing horrible advice to people. Do not take his advice seriously. It is meant to be satirical and not to be taken literally.

Ask Azra: Saving the Towels from Masturbating Teens

Dear Azra,

I’m a single mom raising twin boys. They are about that age where they are starting to notice girls (and I’ve started finding a lot of my dishtowels cemented into crumpled heaps). How can I talk to them about masturbation and, more specifically, not to use the dish towels for their emissions? I am not sure my washing machine can handle many more epoxied towels.

Mother of Masturbators

Ah, one of the more awkward phases of parenting. Masturbation can be a sticky subject (pun totally intended!) and dealing with how to handle the resulting mess is a difficult conversation. At least your focus is on the right problem; the state of your hand towels. That, madam, is precisely where your concern should be!

Towels are an underrated commodity. So much so that no one realizes how important those swathes of terry cloth are to their everyday life until they don’t have them anymore. Alternate options for spontaneous emissions can get costly and are not necessarily good for the environment.

So what is a mother to do? The answer is quite obvious.

Forbid your sons from committing the sin of Onan while they are under your roof. Be clear that because they have befouled the sanctity of the hand towels, they cannot indulge while in your home. That’s not saying they can’t partake elsewhere like the shed, school, a friend’s house, or wherever they can find a modicum of privacy and their own seed receptacles.  They just can’t do it at home.

Because they are teens, you may need to install anti- masturbation cameras in all corners of your home. If there’s any hint of hanky panky, then an air horn-like siren will sound, alerting everyone in the neighborhood that one of your sons is about to self-gratify. What happens after that is up to you. Do you have an army of neighbors come and scold/ mock the boy? Do you have your family members douse him in ice cold water? Really, the possibilities are endless. And, at the end of the day, you will have successfully saved your hand towels!

Azra

***Disclaimer***Azra is not someone to take advice from. He’s not even human- he’s an exiled angel that gets his kicks dispensing horrible advice to people. Do not take his advice seriously. It is meant to be satirical and not to be taken literally.

Ask Azra: My Coworker Smells Really Bad...

Dear Azra

There’s a guy that sits next to me at work who stinks to high heaven. I mean literally, stinks! I’m not sure when the last shower this guy had, but it must have been months ago. How do I tell him that he smells really bad and how can I get him to bathe?

Wishing For Nose Blindness

The question I have for you, Blindness, is why are you so insecure about your own human smell? You do understand that scents like linen sheets, sugar cookies, and plumeria are not realistic for a human to maintain, right?

Humans tend to forget that they are creatures of earth and as such, have a certain olfactory markers. They are called pheromones and they are nature’s perfume! Pheromones are the smell that your pores give off in relation to your mood or health and your general state of living. Why so many humans are ashamed of this glorious odor is something that, truth be told, baffles the hell out of me. You lot wash away your unique stench and mask it with unrealistic and unhealthy pheromone standards. No healthy human is supposed to smell like “Obsession” or “Cherry Blossoms”.

Perhaps your coworker isn’t the problem, Blindness. I think he is spot on and living the life he is meant to. Maybe you are the problem because you promote inhumane scent standards.

I challenge you to adopt your coworker’s way of life for a minimum of 90 days. Don’t bathe, use scented soaps or lotions, or even that body spray stuff that is so popular nowadays.  Your natural smell isn’t something to be ashamed of. Revel in it! This is how the creator made you! I guarantee you will have a new appreciation for life after those 90 days. Also, stop trying to push unrealistic scent standards on your peers. It’s just rude.

Azra

***Disclaimer***Azra is not someone to take advice from. He’s not even human- he’s an exiled angel that gets his kicks dispensing horrible advice to people. Do not take his advice seriously. It is meant to be satirical and not to be taken literally.

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.*

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.*

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.*

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.*

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.*

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.*