Man, I can’t begin to count the number of things I’m totally faking around the little people.  Here are just a few of the things I can’t freak out about when the kids are nearby:

  • Giant bugs that fly through the door when we let the dogs out at night.  Some of these things are massive and I wonder all night long if they’ll be landing on my face at 3:00am.
  • SNAKES.  Anywhere within 20 feet of me.  ‘Nuff said.
  • Airplane turbulence.  At some point in the last 12 years I became a nervous passenger, but I want to visit really cool places and many of those are best reached by — you guessed it — air.  Now that the kids fly with us I really can’t go to pieces when the plane bumps around mid-flight.
  • (on a related note)  Takeoffs and landings.  Eyes closed, armrests gripped, fervent prayer — all while trying to look completely at ease for the child next to me.
  • Giant ocean waves that can suck you under and pull you out to sea.

Sometimes you’ve just got to put on your game face in order to A) not pass along your illogical phobias, B) keep the room from erupting in contagious panicky screams, or C) play The Parent Games.

No, I’m not talking about a post-apocalyptic world where parents are pitted against each other in a life-or-death competition.  The Parent Games is a super fun collaboration in which we’ve all joined forces to present a united front on certain issues, such as:

  • Shots.  “Well, nobody really likes shots, but they’re an important part of keeping us healthy and they only hurt for a minute.”  Unless it’s a tetanus shot, and then that mother’s gonna hurt like a B.  Sorry ’bout that.
  • Homework.  “This is an important part of reinforcing the skills you’re learning in school.  Your teacher wouldn’t assign it to you if he/she didn’t feel it was important.”  Unless they’ve been told by the administration that they’re required to assign homework, and then all bets are off.
  • Fresh air.  “Go outside and get some fresh air.  It’s nice today.”  This is assuming you live in an area with decent air quality.  It also helps if the pollen count is in the low range (which is pretty much a fantasy in our area).
  • Vegetables.  “These make you strong!  You should be eating between five and thirteen servings a day.”  5-13 servings PER DAY?  Are you kidding me?!  These kids are surviving primarily on meat and breads right now.  This is a pipe dream.
  • Weird faces.  “Someday your face is gonna freeze like that, you know.”  Um, actually it won’t. And your eyes won’t get stuck crossed either.  You’re just bugging the crap out of us so cut it out.
  • Sleep.  “Getting enough sleep is critical.  A good amount of rest is important to your learning.” Well, yes and no.  Some people need more sleep to function than others, and it’s possible you’re one of the ‘needs less sleep’ kind.  But we’re exhausted at the end of the day and would actually like to see each other before passing out from fatigue, so you simply must go to bed.
  • Don’t pick your nose.  “It’s unsanitary and very bad manners.  Go get a tissue.”  Yeah. Everyone does this.  Just don’t do it where other people can see you.
  • Wear clean underwear.  “What if you’re in an accident?  Do you really want the doctors to find you in two-day-old underwear?”  If you’re in an accident then clean underwear is the least of your problems.  Also, the chances are slim to none that your underwear would still be clean after a scary accident anyway.

If you’re a parent then you know exactly what I’m talking about.  So keep your heads down, fight the good fight, “and may the odds be ever in your favor!”