Roderick on the Line

Ep. 285: "Praise Cannon"

 

  way that their personalities exhibit as

  they grow older like I've been very very

  engaged in her schools from the time she

  first went to schools uh I go to the

  schools is fine these dynamics are super

  interesting they are and what people say

  and with a lot more subtlety than you

  realize sometimes so much subtlety and

  so much like everybody says oh when

  you're you know when you have a daughter

  it's so much easier when they're young

  and then it gets harder when they're

  older and boys are terrible when they're

  young and then they get easier when

  they're teenage that's what they say

  that's what they say and watching it

  unfold like you know there are some

  little boys in her class who are

  profoundly sensitive and though you know

  and this is a modern school in a modern

  school districts like none of the girls

  are being taught to like even subtly

  it's all been routed out right

  none of them are being taught that they

  are anything other than capable leaders

  but you've also got some grams you've

  got grams mm-hmm who are sensitive yeah

  and are not and that sensitivity is not

  being seen or separated from the tails

  who's just won a karate chop every class

  isn't it right and the ten I'm just

  gonna hit this thing with a stick until

  I'm restraint

  yeah and Tails not dumb I mean you

  talked to Te'o tails a fine young man

  just a thing though yeah if you turn

  around he is he is going to he is gonna

  nunchuck it and Graham has no interest

  in being nunchucks like Graham Scott

  Graham's got thoughts and feelings yeah

  and there isn't right now any any

  corresponding like social engineering

  project to make sure that Graham's like

  Graham's not expressing any kind of yet

  Graham isn't non-binary Graham is just a

  little kid like but like I was who wants

  to dream

  and stare out the window and he really

  really cares what people how people are

  feeling and there's just you know

  there's not a lot of accommodations for

  that in the system there's not you know

  I mean I'm not pointing to anybody on

  that but that's when in the great

  sorting hat of school that that is know

  well and the thing is if Te'o karate

  chops Graham is gonna say T problem the

  only way that the schools have to deal

  with that right now is to characterize

  that as a bullying incident but it's not

  tale is not bullying Graham Graham is a

  you know very powerful young person who

  is not cowering around tayo tayo is not

  in like tables just Te'o who's karate

  chopping things and Graham is someone

  who like a lot of us don't want to be

  karate chop but don't know exactly how

  to say no you don't know exactly how to

  get through life avoiding being karate

  chopped all at the same time not being

  isolated still being one of the people

  but if you characterize that as bullying

  if Te'o gets branded a bully and Graham

  gets branded the victim of a bully that

  doesn't help at all because it's not the

  dynamic like bullies are a very specific

  small small group of children and their

  behavior is is a specific thing bullying

  is not as this is another social

  engineering thing right bullying is not

  some rampant epidemic that every kid is

  doing to one another like there's a

  bully you can pick the bully out the

  bully is expressing something that's

  going on in his family or her family and

  to you know to grab tail by the shirt

  and say no bullying you know we have a

  no bullying posture or pop whatever yeah

  policy policy well now tails like oh

  shit I'm a bully like all I was doing

  was karate chopping him and grams like

  oh I'm a victim that's not how you want

  Graham to see himself

  so anyway my policy right now is just to

  ride my bike along and part of it is

  that I know I'm not gonna

  I cannot help her and this is a terrible

  admission I can be there but if her

  friends decide to ice her out of a thing

  if they're all playing in a circle on

  the playground and she comes up and says

  what are we doing and they say something

  without you like no amount of advice or

  or my own experience or or my

  intelligence or hers can solve it

  fucking hell right right and help at all

  it's just less it's just a it's an

  endurance test and you know that what a

  day will come when she has friends again

  it may be tomorrow in fact but sometimes

  it's it's it's certainly it's not very

  comforting back to earlier it's not very

  comforting to just say you know

  sometimes life sucks or sometimes this

  is the way things are sometimes there

  are some things I was talking to

  Syracuse about this to go just go a

  little dark for a second we're talking

  about the UM the shooter drills that

  they do in school and like around the

  time after when they were like ramping

  up at various schools many schools were

  like basically doing like more of the

  like less of the like let's hide in the

  closet and more of like let's barricade

  the door kind of stuff and we're talking

  about like you know have you talked to

  your kids about this and I was just

  saying how I find it difficult because

  I'm not sure what like I say this to her

  obviously haven't but like I'm not sure

  what she can do about that I'm not sure

  what I can offer I'm trying to pivot

  like sort of to what you're saying here

  of like well you know sometimes people

  are shady like but like what advice do

  you have to give about hiding her

  somebody with a gun like what do you do

  to advise like everybody in that school

  the phrase that I find myself turning to

  a lot this is

  you talk about trying on ideas like a

  like a sports jacket

  everybody's trying stuff out sometimes

  people were trying stuff out maybe some

  days maybe Tia's not being a bully he's

  just trying a different karate chop and

  and that doesn't mean they're gonna

  always be that way

  but sometimes everybody's shitty

  sometimes everybody has a bad day like I

  say they're just you what what makes

  this a true like agent of chaos in our

  lives though is sometimes people are

  doing things that you won't be able to

  understand and you won't be able to

  prevent and I think sometimes I don't

  know how often that is so great as a

  piece of advice especially for a young

  person because if you do that from day

  one you know you just live on a farm and

  have a hardscrabble existence and have

  family dies you just say well shit

  happens but I I mean there's times where

  I'm like I don't really have much to add

  to this apart from saying like sometimes

  really dumb shit happens it's not your

  fault and sometimes it is your fault and

  sometimes dumb shit happens to matter

  what like what what great what great

  like audio-visual slide deck am I gonna

  do to help explain to you that like no

  matter how well you hide in the closet

  it's not gonna stop a guy with a gun you

  here's some advice well and and I guess

  the other thing I'm realizing is because

  I thought I was being wise parent by

  kind of giving her a little bit of the

  like well you know they're they're bad

  people and and people honestly are

  terrible to each other and we try to be

  good to each other or some version of

  that's not terrible it's not except that

  that's all I just get the feeling hmm

  that that is a not comforting and be

  something that cannot really be

  communicated through words yeah comes

  from experience yeah yeah you learn it

  there well that's the other thing that

  we're I mean kind of as an elephant in

  the room is that there are certain kinds

  of advice or observations that are a

  hundred percent pretty much empirically

  true but they are at certain junctions

  in one's life they are neither

  comforting nor useful right even though

  there

  but like how am i what i guess my worry

  is am i filling up the air between us

  with words that mean little or nothing

  to her oh yeah sometimes I just need to

  pedal the bike yeah right that the words

  that because this isn't something I've

  kind of been confronting in my adult

  relationships recently which is wait a

  minute we talked a lot about this thing

  let's say for instance that one of us

  you or I at some point recently had a

  millennium girlfriend huh

  hypothetically we talked a lot about

  things and at the end of talking a lot

  about them it's unclear where we were on

  those things but it was not a case that

  we talked them through and they were

  then solved you know there was always

  some there's always another iteration

  that's in and at a certain point you

  don't want to succumb to a feeling that

  no one can ever change because I don't

  believe that and I know people say it

  then it always sounds why's it always

  like it always is

  no one ever changes after they're 12

  years old signed Martin Luther King

  whatever you're like well I don't know

  about that like that's not very hopeful

  and I like to have a little bit of hope

  but also as you have said many times

  when was the last time you changed

  because someone told you you were doing

  it wrong yeah especially at high volume

  right like when was the last time you

  changed it somebody yelled at either you

  word that you were doing it wrong and

  it's absolutely true that's not how you

  change either and so and people people

  write me a lot because I'm publicly like

  a recovering alcoholic and they say Here

  I am I'm in at the front door of rehab

  for the third time like do you have any

  advice can you make can you help me make

  this work and all I can ever say is like

  you'll get sober when you're done and if

  you're not done

  you don't want it enough to make it

  happen like you have to want it that

  rehab doesn't matter your your wife or

  your parents or your boyfriend being

  really concerned about you doesn't

  matter honestly your health doesn't

  matter because if you don't want to stop

  you'll just fucking keep doing it and

  when you want to stop you'll know and

  it's not like when you want to stop it

  suddenly easy it's like when you want to

  stop it will be fucking hard and

  excruciating and you'll do it anyway and

  that's true of change of any kind and so

  in my I mean my unfolding feeling about

  what my relationship with my job as a

  dad is is like am I just trying to

  comfort myself I know I totally I

  totally know filling up the space with

  all these words that mean less than

  nothing to her

  something something wisdom yeah right

  something something you'll figure it out

  something something everybody's life is

  hard you know why not just pedal why not

  just pedal your bike for what you're

  what you're offering yeah

  but in terms of your three days alone

  yeah what about lunch she my wife made a

  list

  journalist for me show me each day what

  I should make rage it's wonderful but

  but I also feel like maybe you should

  take that list down and look at should

  go commando is free Tollett I think you

  should just tear that list really slowly

  right down the middle right in front of

  your daughter

  see what happens yeah you and Daddy for

  the next three days we're gonna make

  this we're gonna figure this out so I

  call her into the room I call her into

  the kitchen I look her dead in the eyes

  I do the thing was look to hear mm-hmm

  and then I without even taking my eyes

  away from her I pull a fridge magnet

  falls to the floor I hold up an index

  card and I very slowly tear in half

  here's the plan

  we're all gonna die but you know I

  really think that that part of her life

  let's be honest part of her life is

  going to be helping daddy I try to find

  things this is now this is what a what a

  weird sad limp noodle I am is like my

  focus is on

  okay so here's where's one a life hack

  if you want a kid to load the dishwasher

  start by saying maybe it's not a chore

  maybe does it or whatever let's not

  worry about what it is do me a favor Q

  put the forks in the dishwasher for me

  mm-hmm

  you just need to pierce the veil get

  that going right so I mean one thing is

  that like what to you and me like for

  example like using mash what if somebody

  runs up to you they're going ah this

  person is choking you got a got to use

  your bic pen and give them a the thing

  we bring you out of me

  tracheotomy now I've seen that on TV

  enough to know that with father monkeys

  pen knife and a pen I should be able to

  give somebody a tracheotomy I'm not

  gonna do that nearly as well there's

  gonna be hesitation marks as I'm cutting

  open the students throat because a

  doctor has done it more than me they've

  had the training they know that they'll

  survive the experience of having done

  that but for a kid loading the

  dishwasher is not that different from

  doing a tracheotomy they don't know

  what's supposed to happen next and

  there's gonna be tons of blood they

  don't want to do that so I feel like

  doing it in steps and then second try to

  find a way to let them be proud to make

  make something that they can be proud of

  that I think that can be part of the

  stimulation it's not gonna work for

  everything but like for certain kinds of

  projects especially things that involve

  cleaning up or arrangement like if you

  can help with dinner maybe you can make

  a crudite platter and make that really

  pretty for us you know I'm saying but

  sometimes so like you know hey can you

  set the table and like will you make the

  napkins fancy mmm just a thought but a

  weight is something you know to have a

  little hook into with that said oh I

  don't know where I blew it or how many

  times I blew it but everything that's

  not a fun thing is punishment now is

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  supporting Roddick on the line and all

  the great shows I know like sweetie

  you've got yogurt in your hair you're

  teasing me what do you mean why do you

  have to do everything clean the yogurt

  out of your

  Oh God oh my god I have to do everything

  around here oh my god appreciated I'm

  struggling so hard with that I want to

  be appreciated I want somebody notice I

  did the dishes four times today not a

  very good job but I did do it four times

  today yeah I just I feel like she she

  has to know that I mean I'm not trying

  to I'm not trying to have my daughter be

  my assistant but I definitely do feel

  like she understands now she came into

  my room the other day with a piece of

  artwork that she'd done woke me up

  handed me this piece of artwork I liked

  bleary-eyed

  rub the sleep from my eyes look at it

  it's a it's a picture of a doorway and

  over the top of it in big letters it

  says wake up okay so we both understand

  that Daddy is needs a little extra sleep

  yeah compared to other grown-ups that's

  subtle

  Danny was up late sweetie thinking very

  deep thoughts about why no one will play

  with him until 4:20 in the morning nice

  but you know message received yeah I got

  it this morning I got that this morning

  you said she said I slept for an hour

  last night I said really slept we slept

  for an hour last night because at one

  point I woke up and she wasn't been with

  us cuz she couldn't sleep

  she says I slept for an hour last night

  I was at sucks an hour and she goes you

  know why he starts doing this thing huh

  with her eyes like looking over and kind

  of doing her head like this huh like

  she's indicating something and I go what

  cheers you know what for some reason I

  instantly knew and I said was I snoring

  and she goes yeah wake up says the

  doorway very subtle very subtle of

  course the head huh huh and I come back

  with oh yeah well you know I didn't

  sleep very well last night cuz I try so

  goddamn hard to sleep on my side so I

  don't snore I don't know I'm snoring I

  live in this world where like I only

  fight I mean I it's like ambien walking

  like I'm doing things I don't know that

  I'm doing and I think I'm trying to help

  apparently I'm not anyway not for a

  fucking second do I believe she got only

  an hour of sleep

  no her sense of how much sleep she got

  is very very problematic yeah well and

  you know and whose responsibility it is

  I mean the snoring like listen I'm with

  the room I should I should get one of

  those sleep things so I should go to a

  clinic maybe get one of those masks we

  have on MSNBC listen nothing is better

  than a kpop mask or whatever the hell

  those things forget a kpop that's

  Gangnam style write it skate that

  that'll do Pig I gotta make some fucking

  lunches

  lunches

  [Music]

  hello hi John hello hello oh hello hello

  hello hi John hi Marilyn how's it going

  Oh so super hello hello good morning hey

  good morning oh my god buddy I'm in a

  state John tell me uh you don't want to

  know do you want to know it I'm in a

  state is what you sound like a frog in

  my pot of water and slowly turning up

  the heat how even will I know when to

  jump out of this incorrect analogy I

  don't even know it's it's heartbreaking

  I need your advice

  what's going on that's a big week how is

  this week different from other weeks the

  week that we leave a seat for Elijah

  yeah ah Mazel Tov John this this is one

  of those frantic weeks because it will

  require some solo parenting from me oh

  this is unusual and exciting yeah do you

  feel like this is in your wheelhouse is

  this something you can help me with oh

  yeah absolutely you know my daughter's

  mother left this morning at 4 a.m. for a

  week-long business trip to your city San

  Francisco finest girl wave to her from

  my from my office here a top six your

  Tower yeah yeah from your premiere seven

  sided lighthouse made of frames

  Margiela Marge Ellen Marge ellos March

  Ellen she's got my chemtrails she and I

  are gonna have a very very fine week but

  you know I I do have I do have my mother

  in town so she also is very helpful it's

  not it's very seldom that I am in a

  situation where I'm looking at five days

  where there's just no no respite five

  days but I often am the only parent of

  record for for four or five days oh

  listen I don't wanna make this the whole

  show but I could use like I need some

  advice I need to vent that's the wrong

  word no no not bad you know what it is

  it's an airing of failures I feel like

  it's important you need to periodically

  air my failures and let's be honest to

  show my vulnerabilities about something

  that I would like to think I'm good at

  and I'm not sure I'm really that good at

  let's just look at this as like a Lower

  East Side Tenement alleyway and you're

  just putting that wet laundry out on a

  on a rope high above high above the sea

  good morning this is spaghetti right

  we're all your neighbors can see your

  drawers they call them pants in England

  yeah because because that's the only way

  we have we don't have a washer and dryer

  we're done we're not the future yet and

  I'm not a snork no okay so without

  getting into too much detail milady

  needs to do some business travel that

  will necessitate me being the the sole

  parent for three nights she is an

  important lady and she has stuff to do

  up she's a business lady she has to do

  and but here's the funny part is like I

  well first of all there's just this

  whole like when I was talking to you

  this morning about like potentially

  rescheduling because I'm at a fever

  pitch because there's the things you got

  to do before you do the things you're

  gonna do yeah sure you experienced

  something that I call compression mm-hm

  you get compression suddenly events take

  on a new kind of valence because they

  need to be done by a certain time your

  life becomes an existential rally

  for other people this is not hard I

  think other people are wired better than

  I but I will have my daughter by myself

  for three nights and that's going to

  mean some get into school and some

  picking up it involves making lunch yeah

  which is is fraught the thing I

  eventually want to get to you though is

  I know you're not a big screen parent I

  want to know how you handle the time the

  long long times yeah you're with the

  trial because this is not a tenement in

  Brooklyn you can't just send your kid

  off to play play stickball you know you

  got a helicopter over them any advice

  you got i'll get any observations you

  have philosophical practical anything

  that you can offer that will help me and

  let's be honest my daughter survived

  three days you know if there if there

  were ever a case where I prepared a

  topic in advance or had even the

  slightest idea what we were going to

  talk about in the three and a half

  minutes between when I wake up and when

  I sit down here compression is what I

  you know is what I would have talked

  about today because I'm also feeling

  like every spare minute is filled now

  with something filled with some creamy

  like vanilla pudding mmm

  it's not bad it's just full mostly

  somebody sprayed that in all the

  available area is putting now mm-hmm

  just but full of vanilla pudding I mean

  like a vanilla pudding but you are in a

  situation of that so you know because

  because you hit the nail on the head

  already

  yeah being a parent is just to feel like

  you're failing that and all the time

  that's how I used to think that that

  would go away before I was actually go

  away yeah like for at least not for me I

  keep thinking it's gonna go away too but

  you know I read every day it's a new

  thing where it's like oh boy I didn't do

  a pretty good job and I'm constantly

  realizing I'm too late on things you

  know whether that's something like I

  should have ordered turkey breasts for

  sandwiches tomorrow so guess what I

  forgot there's a field trip on Wednesday

  morning and it has to be a packable

  lunch with nothing nothing plastic

  interests

  I am playing a horrible Milton Bradley

  board game of many other people's design

  at this point you gotta practice the

  ukulele you got it oh by the way they're

  getting extra homework now because it's

  fifth grade next year which is a real

  grade so now they're getting more

  homework they doubled the math it

  doubled the reading log you still got to

  do all of that I love how they do that

  where they're like next year is real

  school so we're gonna pile on a bunch of

  like real school stuff now I was a

  senior in order to get you ready for

  next year and it's like well you're just

  what are we doing before yeah we're just

  doing it now then instead of been oh

  yeah we got to do it now instead of you

  know like I told you didn't I that I got

  that I got um I got a failing grade in

  seventh grade advanced English because

  the teacher said in high school they

  don't use pencils I hate the story I

  hate the story so much in high school

  they don't use pencils so we have to

  start using using pens we have to start

  learning to use pens and I I just never

  had a pen I mean that you know that they

  would buy me pens but I was lose them I

  had all I had was pencils I just I

  wanted to work in pencil it was fine and

  the teacher said that she would no

  longer accept anything written in pencil

  his daddy blue or blue black blue black

  ink

  it's alright slept it would be an

  automatic zero and so I continued to do

  my work through the entire year page

  after page of English assignment which

  she continued to mark zero Todd because

  she was preparing me for high school

  isn't that nice the way she did that

  yeah she sure did yeah another angle of

  I'm going to interrupt you but the other

  angle of this is like all the secret

  double double probation rules we're like

  you know there's I don't know if you get

  this yet with her work but there's a lot

  of assignments we get we're in addition

  to not understanding the way that

  they're teaching math now that's okay I

  know it's a better way I'm learning but

  in addition to that there's like it's

  sometimes difficult to tell

  to quote Glengarry Glen Ross you know

  what is this in-service of it

  if are we testing handwriting are we

  testing creativity are we testing

  following the directions because I would

  counsel to do all these things real

  differently but it's real weird when it

  comes down to like well kind of doesn't

  matter what you did if you didn't use

  ink like I guess yeah that's that's a

  rule yeah what are we what are we

  teaching oh we're teaching we're

  teaching this child not to believe that

  adult them have any knowledge yeah I

  think we don't really have perspective

  or understanding context they understand

  could the creation of compliance now is

  they're not hot lunch at your school yes

  there is but we're also well she's got

  compression to their entire lunch period

  is 20 minutes yeah yeah yeah so it's

  already staggered to where like I think

  two grades at a time the kids go to

  lunch the littlest kids go first then

  the next group and then my daughter is

  in the third group and she that was the

  most the groups have 25 minutes she's

  got 20 minutes and so like if you go

  through the lines is boring

  but if you go through the line

  everything that really cuts into your

  your eating time your shuck and jive

  time you know this sounds like a like a

  proven problem well it's it's you know

  again I understand that we're all

  playing a different tile game a

  different puzzle game you know this is

  what makes adulthood complicated is

  everybody has a different puzzle game

  and that's not doesn't imperfect analogy

  but there's not a single person out

  there it's like a five by five

  everything's going great

  like everybody out there struggling with

  something there's resource constraints

  at the school like okay so what's lunch

  well lunch is partly like who's gonna

  supervise them because lawsuits and like

  time constraints and all that stuff so I

  think that she prefers the packed lunch

  with which my wonderful wonderful wife

  makes for her most most mornings right

  she makes a nice little meal in a little

  bento box and there's that a mommy or

  there's raspberries or there's carrots

  and like she has this internal barometer

  for how to make like a dignified lunch

  but I feel like what you know like you

  were saying before a lot of a lot of a

  lot of what you

  trying to deal with now is like what

  kind of groundwork have you laid and my

  sensei like I don't I do not have a like

  a complete picture of of the inner life

  of the of the of your your family and

  your home there but my sense is that you

  do not like to disappoint your wife and

  daughter

  and so she's accustomed to this kind of

  lunch and you want to you want to

  maintain that right insistency whereas

  in my family I laid the groundwork that

  right at the beginning that I was going

  to consistently disappoint everyone you

  set an expectation I set an expectation

  that that Daddy is going to daddy

  disappoints sometimes daddy shows up to

  school in his pajamas sometimes daddy's

  missing a two thought photo days just

  raising like do you take them out of the

  box is just a raisin that says am on it

  no it's like six little box raises this

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  Khan the line and all the great shows

  and sometimes sometimes you today why

  don't you get hot lunch and if if her

  response is daddy says like well I

  didn't like the irony Wars of the 90s

  but I lived through them right right I

  figure my frequent responses like she'll

  say like oh I have a pack lunch with the

  bespoke turkey sandwich and my response

  is usually yeah well I want to be tall

  yes so you have to just answer your

  question though yes not only do I want

  to meet skits somewhere near the bar of

  what my desperately competent wife is

  able to do but like I'd like it to also

  be I'd like it to be fun and then worst

  of all I wanted to not be stressful

  which is one of the hardest parts for me

  is I really try to minimize unnecessary

  stress because there's baseline stress

  just cuz you got to do hair and socks

  and everything and tooth brushing to get

  out of the house but like that's the

  other part of it so I feel like I've

  probably set an unreasonable bar for

  myself and that's that causes the more

  of this anxiety in me yeah yeah I mean

  the thing is a she's fine and B

  she'll I mean she'll be fine whatever

  however the week goes yeah kids bounce

  but also like I you know she is a little

  girl who likes an adventure and a plan

  you know like a like a you know she's

  she's into I mean you know none of them

  like adventure and in that if you're

  like let's try something new they don't

  want to right but but I think if you go

  to her and say mom is out of town we

  need to really partner up on this and

  that's gonna involve you helping daddy

  as much as it is daddy helping you

  interesting

  ah so we make it some something we need

  to work on together well and yeah it's

  like a project and also you're relying

  on her she's your partner she's your

  main partner in this and so you know

  like you raise your eyes it's it's like

  I'm noticing with my little girl that

  all the things that I made the mistake

  of calling chores like clean up your

  room and you know chores I already at 7

  years old just get these huge eye rolls

  and these long sighs and then I go in an

  hour later and she's sitting in the

  middle sitting uh you know cross-leg on

  the floor in the middle of her mess just

  sort of reading an Archie mm-hmm I'm

  like where did you even get an Archie

  because because somehow you perhaps

  unintentionally set that up as a

  negative thing it's a chore just had

  it's just like the name right there in

  the name but I've lately started to say

  I started to say those things like well

  not long ago like I was cooking her mom

  was been there you know chopping and

  stuff and she's standing in the doorway

  just kind of watching and I said hey set

  the table and she got this look of like

  uh Wow and I said well you know look

  what a table looks like when it's set

  and you know what it looks like now so

  to put all the things on the table that

  aren't on it now

  and she was like ah and she walked

  around the kitchen kind of just like

  right like she'd never seen the kitchen

  before yeah

  opening drawers and wondering like what

  you know like she said at one point like

  like you mean like drinking glasses and

  I was like well asked and answered

  and you know I'm cooking like I don't

  have a like stuffs burnin and stuff well

  so she went over and she put some

  combination of things on the table that

  basically that were the things that she

  could reach and the things that she

  thought of like there were three pepper

  shakers or whatever she was going around

  and but she got some she managed to put

  some table settings and you know what

  kind of with me over my shoulder like

  everybody needs a spoon not just you and

  [Laughter]

  and she was just like and it wasn't even

  a case of like she was proud because I

  didn't I didn't really over praise I

  just was like good alright good

  yeah now we need napkins and because I

  was also doing something and her mom was

  also doing something so when we all came

  together it felt like well we all did

  something to be here and not it wasn't a

  thing like kind of we normally do where

  I turn the praise Canon on her and like

  oh my god you didn't end up fucking

  putting chocolate on everything like

  you're a genius

  it was just like all right so the other

  day it's like almost like a first round

  of AI like you're like oh you got it

  kind of right that's not totally wrong

  but the other day I'm in the kitchen and

  and the dishwasher beeps and she says

  what do you do you know like it's done

  washing and she's like well what what oh

  you know what was that what happens now

  and I said I opened the dishwasher and

  you know emptying the dishwasher is

  super complicated but I was like here

  put the silverware away and so she takes

  a little silverware basket out and just

  you

  kind of every single every single

  implement was a new puzzle right okay

  forks go here but where does this fork

  go well that also goes there oh I see

  this all the time my daughter can make a

  multi acre Palace in Minecraft but she

  still doesn't understand that that one's

  compost it's it's it's it's you know

  what I mean the pseudo some areas where

  like there's the encode so well with

  certain things that they are motivated

  about but there's other kinds of things

  where you're like honey I are you okay

  did you hit your head you hurt your head

  you know we always have Forks you know

  you got to put socks on every day what

  what well what was crazy was because I

  again I was not monitoring her not not

  that she could tell right I was looking

  at her out of the corner of my eye but I

  was not like helping because I was

  emptying the other part of the

  dishwasher the stuff that she couldn't

  reach like that complicated heavy shelf

  just she can't get up she can't get

  something up on it on a high shelf you

  know but so she's just puttering away at

  her own time trying to figure out like

  you know and she'd hold stuff up like

  where does this go and I'm like ah right

  that goes over here and and so at the

  end when the dishwasher was empty she

  said now can we load it and I was like

  now can we load it I have never once in

  my life loaded a dishwasher immediately

  after emptying that's right sure we can

  load it and she started putting the

  silverware in the dirty silverware in

  the baskets in the basket and a stiix by

  type all the forks go here oh I like

  that

  I like that fine all the knives well

  that's not how I do it and she was not

  coached to do this like the forks to be

  in the bass stick together they do this

  was like one of those like you're

  broadcasting of a thing you know

  like that I had never seen before I see

  her organize things all the time but

  like oh all the forks go together do

  they because she had just unloaded the

  dishwasher three minutes before that was

  not organized that way so she was taking

  it she was taking over how it's gonna

  get done

  Wow and this is a long conversation

  slash argument within the Jonathan

  Coulton Christine Connor family oh

  really

  Christine believes that that's how the

  dishes should be done all the forks go

  together and all the spoons go together

  Jonathan argues that the spoons then all

  nest against one another and don't get

  clean and bases like to not OCD is too

  strong a term but like it's two

  different a wackadoo theories about like

  why needs to be a certain way yeah and

  you know I've been friends with that

  family for a long time and you would be

  surprised the number of times that this

  comes up sitting around though sitting

  around the table or I would not in the

  morning I would not there are a variety

  of things that I still find incredibly

  perplexing from a logical standpoint

  that I don't bring up in the interest of

  sanity and peace

  yeah it's it's really it's hilarious and

  I know I know I'm just as guilty I know

  there are things that I do that make no

  sense to anybody else in the house

  either seems too tightly wound or way

  too chaotic or just like unknowable like

  why would you not always do that thing

  after you do this thing it just follows

  logically

  well in this case I sent a text to

  Jonathan Christine saying oh guess what

  guess who's on Team Christine and

  immediately it precipitated a text

  argument between husband and wife I

  don't even I don't know they could be

  sitting on the couch together I don't

  know whether they were in separate towns

  or whatever but you know Christine said

  she's a genius it's the only right way

  to do it

  and Jonathan immediately texted this is

  you know this is she is wrong she's

  history's greatest monster she's wrong

  as everyone who practices this

  abomination is wrong

  the nesting thing that's an interesting

  POV well you know he's kind of

  interesting POV on things they're gonna

  nest the spoons are gonna nest this is

  also the way I say again OCD I know

  that's a specific kind of thing but like

  there are some kinds of people that say

  oh that person so tightly wound their

  anal because they need everything to be

  like in a row

  and there's other people who have a

  different flavor of that where they

  can't stand stuff being in a row right

  there's some kind of people that want

  everything to be even numbers and so

  many people who are it has to be odd

  numbers and and it feels like an

  opposite when it's really like a very

  similar thing well you know in my

  kitchen there are no matching plates

  cups or glasses every plate has to be a

  has to be a different plate that's

  eclectic well it's just I like in my

  mom's house everything had to match and

  I cannot have everything match and I'm

  guessing an equal number like you have

  this there's this mini salad forks

  there's this mini small plates that kind

  of thing all done just exact all done

  just like perfectly and I think if if

  you broke a small plate then the whole

  set of plates would go and a new set of

  plates would arrived whoa

  because like you know you don't want you

  don't want four of everything in three

  years the world in our own ways but my

  house is all every everything is is

  individual and partly it's that I like

  going to thrift stores and finding

  things and I find a thing and I'm like

  here's a new one and I would but but

  like now the idea of having even I mean

  two plates matching would be even worse

  than all plates matching I totally get

  that

  just now you look careless you just look

  like where'd you get Oh two-ply using a

  rube you look like an eccentric Pig a

  rube but but you know the argument about

  the silverware both because again

  believe me I've heard it a hundred times

  it Chrystia we're gonna call this team

  steaming team Jonathan yeah Christine

  says it makes it easier at when when the

  dishes are done to just reach in grab

  them all and put them away

  it makes it easier jonathan counters by

  saying you gotta sort them at one point

  either before or after so it's not any

  easier you're just you're just doing the

  hard work one at a time when you put

  them in sorting them into their proper

  bastok instead of just throwing them in

  there and saving precious seconds so

  it's like it's like two waves of just

  like a view of the world and of time and

  now my own daughter has just

  instinctively exhibited a preference

  here and I cannot intervene because this

  is what my mom did to me I would she

  would say help me load the dishwasher I

  would do it some way let's say I would

  do it team Christine style and then she

  would come along go oh but here's how we

  do it and she would then redo it team

  Jonathan or whatever it would be the

  opposite whatever you did you did it

  wrong and so I can't do I cannot

  intervene in my own child's world in

  this way she's putting the silverware in

  and there's no way I'm gonna at that

  point say oh but nesting I thought I try

  to catch myself because at least she's

  doing it yeah oh yeah is that too much

  praise cannon because because I think I

  agree I'd rather see her do it in a kind

  of half-assed searching sort of way than

  like not at all absolutely and I would

  I'll live with some spoons that are

  slightly tarnished if it means that she

  thinks that that loading the dishwasher

  is one of the it's not a chore it's just

  one of the things that she does as part

  of our group effort like our tribe right

  because she starts she wants some tribal

  responsibilities and I think part of it

  was several weeks ago my mom and her mom

  were complaining about her that she was

  being intransigent she was just fighting

  everything yep and passive fighting a

  lot of it is

  active fighting and some of it is just

  like okay get your shoes on okay and

  then she says I say slow walking it slow

  walking that's right and so there so of

  course in the in my family dynamic all

  the grown-ups come to me and are like

  this has got to stop I'm not seven

  they're like well fix it

  and so we sat down and had a had a we

  were to the to the gas station mini-mart

  that sells Fried Chicken mm-hmm and I

  was like what's going on and she did all

  the little kid you know like try to

  weasel out of the conversation moves

  like man nothing or she even went as far

  as to say I don't want to talk about it

  really she didn't open with her what are

  you talking about what huh and then she

  did some of that like you know like look

  over here it's a bikini girl I'm like no

  I know all of these sweetie we're gonna

  have to talk about this and she was like

  ah and then she did thing I didn't

  expect which was she said well you know

  ever since I turned 7 everything's so

  hard oh I was like what's hard like

  everything's hard and she was like yeah

  I mean at school like I don't have any

  friends and she's like really like laid

  out this whole inner life I'm so

  impressed that I recognized as being

  like a 7 year old who has who's having a

  complicated emotional experience of

  things and doesn't want to talk about it

  yeah and so I was like oh shit okay you

  know lay it on me

  and so she just started just going down

  the list of all the things that ever

  since she turned seven had gone sideways

  and you know I listen and I was like ah

  boy there's really like everything here

  is just norm

  well it's the kind of like stuff it's

  the normal stuff that makes you realize

  that being alive is hard but we're gonna

  run long enough to know that that's

  normal and she's as a fresh that's a

  fresh hell for her yeah she's like no

  one would play with me on the playground

  and I'm like yeah well but I don't want

  to say that's normal

  mm-hmm I don't want to say that's weird

  because all those things establish some

  kind of I don't know like some kind of

  relationship between us I guess is what

  it establishes where if I if I say

  everything is normal then she starts to

  feel like well why are we talking then

  if it's all normal like leave me alone

  and if I you know if I get too much down

  into the seven-year-old weeds of saying

  like oh baby oh you know like

  emotionally over identifying with her

  then what I'm what good am I

  you know I'm just like I'm just another

  seven year old having the same

  experiences so anyway I didn't do

  anything I just listened to her and and

  oddly I mean I guess not oddly because

  this wasn't a scheme right this wasn't

  something I read in a book I was just at

  a loss of what to say but now she talks

  to me in a way that she doesn't talk to

  the other - Wow about and she and it's

  not like she comes home and is like oh

  what a hard day at school like she has

  to still I hope you're aware that that's

  not necessarily normal I mean that's

  good it's very good that's that's hard

  to wangle in my experience in the

  experience of other people I talked to

  yeah and so I'm just and so what I

  haven't because there's a grave

  responsibility for you though huh

  it is and and and it's it's very

  difficult for somebody like me to not

  try to solve problems yep and so I just

  sit and I'm like wow I find that to be

  true for about 49% of the population

  right kind of an mo yeah but you know

  it's in my family it's the opposite

  right my mom

  cannot cannot listen to you talk without

  trying to solve your problem and she's

  just like right let me let me solve the

  problem if you're like uh I kind of just

  venting she's like well fucking go

  outside then right we talked about this

  with her and her Susan yeah and the

  history you know she's like that with

  everybody but but it so in this case but

  you know I'm not like trying to solve it

  for her I'm just like oh let me give you

  some guidance right but I but I'm not

  doing that I'm just like and part of it

  is is really founded in total confusion

  about what anyone would say like what do

  you say to a seven-year-old girl who's

  best friends are playing with each other

  and don't want her play well there's to

  me there's like in that instance there's

  so many conflicting things I think I can

  say this without being too personal but

  like I feel like there's so many

  conflicting things in a moment like that

  where when I do get the rare chance to

  actually talk about like you know just

  something's not right whatever that is

  and we get to talk about it on the one

  hand yeah sure

  there's this there's this part of me

  that wants to help but I also feel like

  a thousand admonishments against myself

  like don't do this don't do that don't

  do that among amongst these don't try

  well maybe at the top of the list don't

  try to talk someone out of how they feel

  right now it's it's really not that much

  better than telling somebody who is

  grieving to buck up wide span well like

  you know I mean grieving and depression

  to things that are not helped by

  somebody telling you you feel better

  like don't do that but then on the other

  hand with a kid you don't want as you

  say like over just stick you late about

  it because that's weird what you don't

  do that about that many things like why

  are you so like emotional and like raw

  about this like what are you hiding you

  don't want to say it's not real and then

  the deeper level I feel like I don't

  want to find myself explaining why this

  is and that is when I fall on sometimes

  where I find myself saying something

  like you know sometimes people are

  really terrible to each other and we

  don't always know why but that's I don't

  want to do that either you know yeah the

  listening part is valuable but like it's

  it's it and then so the one though the

  one that kind of guides all of this is

  like

  and I have to I just because to be

  straight up about this like I don't want

  to fail as a father there's a part of me

  that goes like I should

  I've seen enough TV to know there should

  be something that I can do say not say

  or not do there's something that there

  is a better answer in this situation and

  I'll tear myself apart if I don't get

  that right well and so I think I think

  overall the dynamic that I'm trying to

  establish is look your mother is

  extremely competent and does and has

  business life like she gets up in the

  morning and she dresses business and she

  goes and she manages people and she

  flies on business trips and is is very

  competent in the world and we all know

  that Nana is very competent if you gave

  Nana a like a case of Lacroix and a

  Swiss Army knife she could build a

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  line and all the great shows these are

  not the people that we are measuring

  daddy's success against we are measuring

  daddy's success against a different

  criteria which is a are we on fire no

  good we're doing good then we're not on

  fire is Daddy on fire

  no he's not on fire good look like we're

  doing good but what that's done I think

  with her is to feel like daddy needs

  some help from her and some in a way

  some protection from her

  that's not protection where you know

  daddy is an invalid or incompetent or

  anything but just like hey yo come here

  I need your help on this mm-hmm and so

  she feels me what what the with the

  conversation that we had in the chicken

  restaurant revealed over time was that

  she was seven now and she just felt

  everybody was dumping on her all the

  time she was she just wasn't you know

  she was getting a bunch of like praise

  cannon stuff that everybody throws at a

  kid but she was just in the in the main

  she was doing it wrong Nana was mad at

  her in the morning because she didn't

  get ready fast enough and mama was mad

  at her at night because she didn't get

  to bed fast enough and everything it was

  all she's doing like she's doing it

  wrong

  and I said oh well what if we got you a

  and taught you how to use a clock and

  then you could know when it was time for

  you to get up and time for you to go to

  bed and she was like I would like a

  clock and I said okay we'll get you a

  clock but once you have a clock you are

  responsible for the time you don't get

  to have a clock and just have it be like

  a like a lighting effect well you're

  you're not allowed to use it to improve

  your procrastination right yeah don't

  wait until the last minute

  I still got a minute before we leave you

  have it you're naked that's not okay and

  and and part of our long conversation

  was just like oh you want more

  responsibility and it's just innate you

  don't know how to ask for that that's

  that's not it's just you're at that

  point in your life where you're like why

  am I still why does my life look like me

  just getting nagged from place to place

  with all this stuff I know how to do

  it's not a challenge anymore I just

  don't feel like it and it's like oh well

  then what you need to do is set the

  table and empty the dishwasher and also

  sometimes oh so so oh this is the

  amazing one she said to me I wish I

  lived in a family where I never got

  teased and that was a that was like

  handing me a lit stick of dynamite

  because nobody else teases her I yeah

  okay yeah that was for me right like

  like like things like bastok things like

  yeah we've got I think I suspect every

  family has these things that the kid

  used to say in a funny way and now you

  still say it and it just sounds like

  you're making fun of them thing that

  kind of thing where she would say like

  you know what I went for dinner and I

  would say a bastok of pinedo she

  combines that right and over time she's

  just been just infuriated her and so she

  said I don't you know I would rather

  live in a family where I didn't get

  teased and I said wouldn't you really

  rather live in a family where you only

  got teased a little bit

  and she said no I would rather not get

  teased at all hmm and I said and I'm

  still exhausted as they say a big ask

  yeah and I'm sitting I'm scrambling in

  my head like what the fuck am I supposed

  to do that's the only way they know how

  to interact with people and I said

  wouldn't what would you rather live in a

  family where you had to eat vegetables

  at every meal or live in a family where

  you got teased every once in a while

  really scrambling that's what I was but

  she made an enormous blunder she said I

  would rather live in a family where I

  had to eat vegetables in every meal I

  test out well it was and I said oh all

  right well starting tonight if you eat a

  salad I won't tease you and she did not

  give a look of having been checkmated

  she gave a look of like huh and she said

  deal like oh this is not layin well well

  like 20 like Clint Eastwood style

  bring it on a deal and so at dinner and

  I'm not crazy it's not like I put a big

  fucking salad bowl with tongs and didn't

  spray Brussels sprouts I know I just I

  put a little portion of vegetable on her

  plate and she she made it seem like she

  was Indiana Jones and every bite of this

  stuff you know was snakes and she said

  that she ate her snakes and I didn't you

  know I didn't jump on her about like

  don't make those faces you can't make

  faces I was just like make as many faces

  as you want but but right on the other

  sizes were not part of the deal that's

  right that's right faces we're not part

  of the deal I didn't say I had to like

  it I didn't say you had to be nice about

  but I said right on the other side of

  that bowl of vegetables is you getting

  told bastok of potatoes so let's decide

  which is more important and she ate the

  freaking things and every day from that

  day forth she has eaten vegetables are

  you gonna stick with this

  well the few times I have said something

  even vaguely teasing she has turned six

  guns drawn and said we had a deal

  oh and you know and at wit with the

  unspoken second half of that sentence

  and I'm living up to my hand in the deal

  mm-hm and she is mm-hmm

  so so I'm just like out drawn hmm I just

  have to holster my pistols and I just to

  be clear this started as a like okay

  well let's see how far you're gonna go

  with this you're not actually saying

  like for you to be emotionally healthy

  UFT vegetables this is more of like a

  thought experiment well it was it was

  all part and parcel of the okay you're

  seven now and you want everybody off

  your back well then all that means is

  you get more responsibility because

  that's how you get people off your back

  mmm and so there's no you don't just get

  like to be five again where you get to

  do whatever you want everybody runs

  around and picks up after you right

  right right

  like everybody's mad because you're not

  you're not and I realized that people

  that that the people in the family had

  this expectation that she was supposed

  to be getting better at stuff and from

  her standpoint it was like I can do all

  that I've showed you I can do it why do

  I have to do it every day and it's like

  oh well you don't get it like yeah you

  do actually do it every day but but you

  should get rewards for it too and in her

  case and I had no idea the things I

  don't understand the relationship the

  teasing plays in other people's lives

  because I was relentlessly teased by my

  dad and it was a thing that we bonded

  over you know like I didn't like to be

  tickled but I'd love to be teased and

  you know I loved going down to the magic

  shop in in Pike Place Market and

  somebody giving me a piece of gum and it

  had a fucking mousetrap on it like just

  love that stuff dirty tricks and stuff

  you know and she doesn't it's not like

  like her reaction to that stuff is just

  she's indignant

  I think it's more

  dignity issue where she's just like

  listen bastok of Panay toes sir this is

  beneath our discourse I'm like well you

  know what's beneath your discourse is up

  a stack of the data and for for her to

  for her to decide of all the things that

  she gets to that she could have laid out

  as her a certain negotiating chit that

  that was the thing not get teased

  mmm-hmm she didn't say stop tickling me

  she's like tickle me tickle me but don't

  tease me mm-hmm oh shit all right man

  you set the tone you put the forks

  together in the fork thing I also feel

  like I got to two things I'm thinking

  about here um which is easier than the

  other um one thing I struggle with is

  that I was an only child

  well you know that's not even that

  important what's important is that I am

  from gen-x I think it is important

  though but go ahead no no no it is

  important but probably for different

  things but here's one thing is that I

  struggle with what I perceived sometimes

  as two poles of raising a female child

  which is on the one hand is the one

  thing you're supposed to always do as a

  parent which is to like be consistent

  and have certain standards and and be

  consistent about those standards and all

  that kind of stuff and also not not

  discourage your kid from doing things

  that are difficult don't be afraid to

  you know correct them all the kinds of

  like old school ideas of what we know

  you're supposed to do as a parent but

  then there's the other part of me that

  feels like I'm I'm always walking a

  minefield that I choose to walk because

  the idea of having a little kid even at

  her age who is confident and not like

  torn this and this by the way this is

  not relating to the potatoes I just mean

  I mean more like even with math homework

  where I'm like man if she can get

  through the math and like do I want to

  really make her go back and rewrite that

  because that nine doesn't look enough

  like a nine yeah probably but the idea

  of somebody who can remain boy or a girl

  but especially girl who's confident and

  not self-conscious about their body and

  their personality and stuff like that is

  something I really I have in mind so I

  think sometimes iin

  being too permissive because I'm not

  strong enough to walk that minefield

  some days did you know what I mean we're

  like it's just with something we're like

  I just think about I'll just lay it on

  the line just think about how normal it

  was when I was a teenager for girls to

  be a hot mess and to be kind of

  personally and systematically kept frail

  and to constantly wonder how broken they

  are and so like that's I sometimes feel

  like I wonder if I weigh too heavily on

  that angle of like wanting her to be

  confident what I really should go back

  am I gonna pierce that confidence by

  saying like let's go back and check your

  math on that well it shouldnt cuz that's

  part of being strong part of being

  strong is being able to improve and

  stuff like that but that's one of the

  tight ropes I feel like I walk and when

  it comes down to dad alone for three

  days there's all kinds of ways that that

  can go sideways yeah well I had a as

  part of this interesting conversation

  dynamic that she and I have developed I

  had a very interesting exchange the

  other day where she said and again she's

  very dramatic and that's not anything

  she was taught although she it's

  certainly reinforced but she said I'm

  worried that every time I smile it makes

  something bad happen whoa and I said

  whoa that's telling your wheelhouse yeah

  I said tell me more and we're riding

  bikes so it's a type thing where we're

  not it's not like we're sitting in a

  chicken restaurant looking at each other

  we're just riding bikes slowly riding

  down the down the road and she says well

  like I say every time something good

  happens something bad immediately

  happens mm-hmm so that makes me not want

  to smile Wow and I said we'll give me an

  example and she said well after recess

  you have to go back inside and go back

  to work and so we're all really happy at

  recess but nobody wants to go back

  inside sir

  and I was like makes sense give me

  another example and she said well after

  snack which is the best part of school

  we have math and I was like I and my Gen

  X like girls and math tingle pairs went

  up and I said yeah and what's what's uh

  what's up with math and she said well

  math is fine but all the boys complain

  and they're like in math mmm and she

  said I hate when people are unhappy oh

  wow

  and I just want everybody to be happy

  and everybody's complaining about math

  and it's a bummer Lizzie and I was like

  uh-huh well now like my Gen X desire to

  socially engineer you to make you into

  superwoman stem girl that's right and to

  correct for every aspect of the

  patriarchy in you alone my daughter who

  is gonna you know just like grow up

  eating Cheerios except it's

  multiplication tables I don't I I just

  listened an extra step there because if

  if I had done what I what my impulse was

  or what my generations impulse was when

  she said yeah after snack it's math and

  I had gone oh well math is amazing like

  don't hate math math is great what's the

  matter math mmm-hmm with the tone you

  probably unintentionally always use to

  try to talk her into something that she

  now instantly realizes is some kind of

  jam up yeah right right you do this real

  that's the tone that you unintentionally

  oh come on this hike is gonna be fun is

  your friend and so I stayed out a bit

  for that one extra step because I was

  like huh she doesn't have any problem

  with math so I'm not gonna jump in here

  you know like what's she gonna say next

  is basically my take on it because

  also not really about math it's about

  the other people's feelings yeah and

  it's about the fact that all the little

  boys are making a bunch of noise about

  having to do math and she's like why

  don't they just do their math but she

  also like is exhibiting there a kind of

  like emotional receptiveness that is

  both lovely and also totally dangerous

  like she's oh yeah I see I see that I

  feel like I see that all the time yeah

  she's onboarding everybody else's

  feelings as part of her world of

  responsibility mm-hm

  she feels bad because everybody else

  feels bad and that actually is she

  doesn't feel bad she's end up doing what

  people call like unpaid emotional labor

  you know and so I just so then we just

  we just pedal along in silence while we

  both chew on that mm-hmm

  and but but it was a it was another

  example I think of this like tendency

  that I'm trying to resist which is that

  that tendency to to social engineer in

  any direction even the opposite

  direction of what we think we were

  socially engineered to do because

  because every time you change one little

  thing you change a cascading series of B

  of this like yes initely repeating

  unpredictable you can't change one was

  engine you can't change the one thing

  about anything and I don't have any I

  don't have any fear that my daughter is

  going to be fragile it's not currently a

  danger and I mean did I tell you maybe

  we didn't talk about about when when she

  was in preschool we went to the locks

  here in Seattle and you and I have been

  visited the locks with her family yeah

  it's a dynamic environment boats are

  coming and going the locks are run a

  chance to get a tour of Seattle from

  John take it it's long they say about

  that Hey

  sign up sign up on this clipboard but

  the locks are run by the US Army Corps

  of Engineers and they take that job

  pretty seriously and they have you know

  like big burly people on either side who

  are yelling at people in the boats that

  they're doing it wrong and every it's

  very you know that's it's a big

  operation it's an industrial scale

  operation well we were there with the

  preschool and there are you know there

  were 23 year olds all running around and

  the teacher was the sort of barely

  keeping them together and I was one of

  the parents who were along for the ride

  and Marla maybe she was 4 she's standing

  there on the edge of the blocks and

  there are hundreds of tourists there to

  all claming it up at Marlo at the top of

  her lungs was saying you go over here

  and you stand there and you hear and the

  teacher teacher you need to over this

  and balidaan she's yelling it like just

  passers by you that shirt doesn't match

  those pants and and I said she's the

  mistress of the locks

  she was just appointed herself and I

  said at a certain point sweetie you need

  to just cold check your mega bossing of

  everyone for just a second while we

  figure out how we're all gonna get

  through this small aperture and a very

  big man with a beard and a hat that said

  US Army Corps of Engineers who was

  standing there in the process of yelling

  at a shipping you know like a that no no

  NOAA icebreaker turns around on his heel

  looks at me and says we don't say

  bossing to young women

  nowadays we say we encourage them for

  their

  but you know like autonomy or

  authoritative necessarily you have

  something something something he gave me

  some lecture out of a playbook and

  turned around and went back to his job

  and I'm not anymore somebody who's just

  out doling out lessons to everybody on

  the street I'm trying not to be because

  I find that's not very effective I found

  from being on Twitter for a long time

  that just being out there sheriffing

  everybody is not any fun right right

  right and it doesn't and nobody gets

  better

  nobody improves it's like yeah part of

  the the international tone police yeah

  but this guy and I don't know whether he

  has kids or not yeah he might I read

  that in The New Yorker

  my sense is he didn't but he's a he's a

  liberal but he's working at the US Army

  Corps of Engineers and he's out there

  sheriffing and what he you know what he

  is doing is trying to make the world a

  better place but he doesn't know my

  daughter and he doesn't know that she's

  a fucking bossy little Nazi like that

  she would literally run the world if she

  could from her three-year-old brain from

  her three-year-old understanding of how

  things need to be ordered and just to

  clarify here if there were an equivalent

  equivalently aged male you would have

  said the same thing well absolutely but

  here's the thing and this is the one

  where you know like don't at me but

  anybody who has kids and who spends any

  time around kids knows those little boys

  just don't do that like I'm sorry to say

  but little boys do not go bossing

  everybody around like that they know

  they're hitting each other that's true

  and they're hitting everybody else

  they're bonking and they're screaming

  and they're running and they're hitting

  they are not standing there saying you

  are here and you are the mama and you

  are the one who is you are the Corps of

  Engineers guy and here are your jobs and

  here is where you stand

  it just isn't it's just it is a thing

  that's different between them and and my

  daughter is the queen of it like the

  ultimate or

  of things and of people and of I mean

  you know it all is she has it she has

  the plan she she sees the the matrix and

  so so so that's what this guy was saying

  right if that was a little boy you

  wouldn't have said that but a little boy

  would not have ever done it this is not

  a little boy trait and also you know but

  I didn't say like hey mind your own

  beeswax or I didn't decide it was gonna

  be a show do you got a beer to play cool

  no I was just like huh yeah thank you

  for your service

  yeah thanks for your service exactly

  anyway meanwhile Marlowe in an empowered

  fashion will you shut the fuck up for

  like three minutes while we get through

  this door but as you know as time goes

  on like looking at the looking at the

  kids and though