He doesn’t have any interest, no possibility of gain. Meaning he’s disinterested, not uninterested, two words that have become swappable in recent years. He’s not uninterested. He’s just not staking any claim on the outcome.
What does he do? What can he do? He’s seen all the crap which preoccupies parents. None of that dents him. Kids are cute, they poop their pants, they show signs of life, and they mostly turn out like their parents.
Is that okay? Probably. Most people are average or there wouldn’t be a word “average.” Is that okay with you? Fine. As long as you understand that “average” also means a flip of the coin between modest accomplishment and total disaster. You know. Tattoos. Drugs. Biracial babies. Anything that will piss off the unfortunately stupid parents who were too busy running around to pay attention to the home front.
Is your teenager a stranger? Maybe because your little loved one was always a stranger, who learned in her twos and threes how to manipulate you, turn one parent against the other. And always get what was wanted. But you missed it because you always put the kid first and ran and ran and ran from one silly appointment to another. With no time out from soccer or gymnastics or Tee-ball to read, well, anything.
Why grandfathers have a role to play. We know nothing about toilet training. We don’t care at all about kid fashion. We just look at the interactions of parents and kids and draw our own conclusions.
Children are all would-be monsters. If they can manage it, they will rule their parents and then the world. Grandpas don’t actually care about cute. They’re not even seduced by every mewling kitten. We’re tired, old, cynical assholes. The newest kid is just another predictable riddle.
Truth? We don’t actually enjoy dandling them on our knee. It hurts. We don’t enjoy them running wild all over the place. That’s just them running wild all over the place.
But we do care about what these larvae might become. Normally, we keep our mouths shut and pretend that parents know what they’re doing. But we don’t think that. Parents are a mess. Amateur, agenda-driven know-it-all know-nothing’s who parade their fertility as some kind of affirmation in front of people who simply wish they’d go away.
Kids aren’t cute. Parents aren’t sympathetic characters. They’re all just pains in the ass. Why there really need to be grandparents. The people who speak the truth to all the idiots most involved in the horror of raising children.
I have a few rules. But I won’t number them. Too old to remember numbers. Guess I’m supposed to pretend rules will save the day.
Shut up! All of you.
Don’t pretend that kiddy twirling and keening is talent. It isn’t. Talent is Mozart playing harpsichord concertos at the age of three.
Don’t EVER let them win board games or any variation thereof. They’re young and therefore stupid. They need to learn that and adjust to the fact.
Give them less than a third of what they ask for, demand, beg for, make your life miserable over. They basically suck. They’re not as conscious as the family dog you’re ignoring in his/her favor, and they want much much much much much more. Hell with’em.
Don’t repeat their cute malapropisms. Read to them and make them read back to you. Not even going to frame the argument for this one. Your whole job as a parent is to make them conscious as quickly as possible.
Tell them when to stop and make it stick.
You’ve guessed by now I’m not a nice guy or a nice grandfather. Which makes me the best grandfather. My granddaughter recognizes me as the only authority figure she trusts. Odd, eh?