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I, Parent, I

Rereading some of previous posts about parenthood are a bit like admiring the shafts of light from bullet holes in an old tin shack, in that they are more indicative of where I was blindly firing at the time rather than the accuracy of what they hit.

I erased many posts, at the time I told myself because they weren't interesting, but deeper down, because I knew they were wrong.

It took me awhile but I think I finally found the issue I was searching for me, in the last place humans look, ourselves.

Specifically, that in a whole bunch of ways, I'm a child myself.

My past posts both glorify how I hang onto the perspective of youth, and warn against the pitfalls of telling kids that their adolescence is the "best time of their lives".

Whenever I act like a child, I always tell myself I'm doing it as a joke, I'm being ironically petulant or inappropriately immature with a wink. Quoth the Vonnegut "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be."

In a lot of ways these vestiges of proto-me are very useful in parenting. They allow me to create games on the spot that the children enjoy, they often provide insight into ending otherwise insolvable impasses of will that often pop up.

In many, many ways, it gets in the way. Older children get bored playing with younger children. They want to play Risk, not Candyland. They view the world in a myopic lens with a focus on things to feel sorry for themselves about. Likely 80% of my problem as a parent is just me selfishly moping about how I have to interact with my wonderful children rather than play video games.

Ugly, I know.

But just having figured it out is a relief. Having the perspective on it to realize that I can't really properly parent while I can't even parent myself. That the problem is between post-children me and the present me and no-one else defines a much saner playing field.

Now when I hear the lamenting of not playing video games in my head, I can ascribe it the proper tone of a teenager without perspective on life rather than some great existential lament (Ugh, I'm so lame).

Looking back it seems so obvious that I can't believe I let something so base and trite get in the way of enjoying two fun and exciting children.

Now, don't take this as me saying I'm going to grow up or cease being anything other than a fully professional adult. We all know that isn't happening.

There is a bible quote about thinking as a child and thinking as a man, and while one translation says "doing away with childish things", several others phrase it as "put away childish things".

I'm going to go with the latter. Presumably in a tupperware tub somewhere, so that my children can't break them and I can easily locate them to bring out and play with when they are put to bed for the night.