A Chicago dad’s insincere moments in parenting

This morning, as I opened the refrigerator I said to my middle child, “Ooooh, Mom got new juice and it. Sounds. DELICIOUS!”

There are few statements more ridiculous when taken out of context than the statements parents make to their young children. Imagine a single person, alone in his condo, saying these same words with the same associated levels of enthusiasm. The only reasonable conclusions you could draw are:

  • He’s high as the proverbial kite. Higher than Woody Harrelson at a wrap party. Higher than the national debt.
  • He’s an actor learning lines for an audition. Either a terrible commercial or some terrible pilot for FOX.
  • He’s a weirdo who really likes juice — and his mother.

I can excuse my near manic glee at the prospect of opening a new carton of juice on the presence of a 2 1/2-year old. Granted, it was Strawberry Banana Orange juice. But no juice warrants an exclamation point.

Where does the parental over-acting over the smallest of joys in life come from? Young kids are pretty excitable to begin with. They freak out about anything, a writhing spasm of glee and joy over an unclaimed sheet of bubble wrap. Are we trying to fend off some potential complaint? The angry storm of their disapproval?

Wouldn’t this be nice if it were true, are we trying to live in our kids’ shoes a little? Where simple pleasures are frequent and genuine. Where new things are exciting, not reasons to put on a jaded sense of remove and cool. Where we have the time to appreciate something so minor and realize it for what it is: a gift from someone else, to us.

All I know is that the middle child drank two cups of the juice and I didn’t have any. Interpret that as you will.

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