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March 14, 2017

big boy chapstick

I've lied to my kids.  I think we can all agree, they don't need to know everything.  'How much money does Daddy get paid at his job?' - that might be a bad example, because rather than lie I just refuse to answer that one.  My little white lies about none of their business shit can't compare to the untruths I've witnessed young parents today spew at their children.  

A few weeks ago, Theodore's mom Gretta, whose kids I sit for, texted me after she dropped off her two boys at my house.  'I put a tube of vaseline in diaper bag for Theodore's 'saliva red face issues'.  Could you put in on once or twice?  We call it Big Boy Chapstick to soften his hate of it.'  

Gretta and Simon, Theodore's dad, are experts at sugar coating, sweet talking, and choices.

For example, Simon showed up one day in the fall to drop Theodore and his little brother Gilbert off.  Theodore was hesitant at drop off.  Who could blame him for wanting to hang with parents who cushion his world with high pitched accolades and an agree-to-everything attitude?  I admit that I have a tendency to shake things up in Theodore's world a bit in order to counter his parents' approach.  I like to think of it as balance.

So on this hesitant morning a few months ago shortly after Theodore turned 3, Dad tried to coax Theodore into his 'happy place' by asking me what we were going to do that day.  'I was leaning towards the zoo, but now that it's raining I might decide to go to the library.'

'Did you hear that Theodore?  It sounds like you are going to have CHOICES,' clueless-dad-of-the-year Simon announced accentuating the word 'choices.'  I couldn't withhold my shock.  I'm not paid enough to play along.  'Well, I'm going to decide where we go.  No choices for the tots.  Where we go just depends on the weather,' I breathed as I forced a smile across my intolerant-of-idiot-parents face. 

So, I had no problem smearing greasy vaseline all over Theodore's raw skin.  I just couldn't call it 'big boy chapstick.'  My kids swallowed bad tasting medicine when they were little.  They hated it.  It's a necessary evil.  Life is full of them.  

Theodore tried to correct me, 'In my family we call it big boy chapstick.'  It seemed like he knew that this goofy label wasn't the legitimate name for it.   

When Gretta picked up that day, Theodore outed me.  'Ernie calls my big boy chapstick submarine.'  

'No,' I chuckled, 'I call it vaseline.'  Note to Gretta:  save lies for bank account balances, why Aunt Suzie talks to herself, and the affair that lead to your neighbor's divorce.  

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