Dear Parents, Sometimes You Are NOT Crazy

Apr 21 2015

Dear Parents,

I’m going to hit you with some new news here, and it may be shocking, so brace yourselves.


Here we go.

Sometimes you are NOT crazy.

Now, I know. I know. Believe me, I know. We parents are crazy most of the time. We are out of our ever-loving minds, in fact. And I’ve written about being crazy here and here and here and here and here, into infinity. We are NUTS, and I’m not denying it. I’m really not.

It’s just that…

Sometimes you are NOT crazy.

Even when your kids look at you like you’ve lost it again. Even when they really sell it with shocked faces and looks of bewilderment and crocodile tears spilling down their sweet rosy cheeks. Even when they look utterly confused by your behavior and choices and the things you are telling them, I just want you to consider… 

Sometimes you are NOT crazy.

Sure, MOST LIKELY you’re totally off your rocker, but — and I need you to really hear me here — MOSTLY LIKELY does not mean Always, friends. It just doesn’t.

For example, hypothetically speaking, let’s say your kid gets jock itch or a yeast infection.

These things happen to the best of us. 

Yes; let’s say your kid gets jock itch or a yeast infection and you hand that kid some appropriate topical medicine with this instruction, “Take this into the bathroom. Apply a small amount to the itchy bits.”

And the kid says, “To my privates?”

And you say, “Yes. To your privates.”

And the kid says, “By myself?”

And you say, “YES, by yourself.”

And the kid says, “Can’t you do it?”

And you say, “No. No. NO.”

You know, because not touching your teenage kid’s private parts seems like a Good Idea. Distinctly NOT crazy, right? Can I get an AMEN here?

But let’s say said kid becomes sad at going to the bathroom by him/herself.

Let’s say said kid asks you again and again to apply it, instead.

Let’s say YOU’RE NOT CRAZY so you say no repeatedly. Also HELL, NO a lot of times in your brain but not out loud because you don’t want your kid to feel bad and you once made the mistake of telling your kid he or she could ask you anything — anything at all — and it feels like the wrong time to explain that you didn’t actually mean it. You didn’t fully consider all the questions he or she may ask when you made that ill-advised promise.

So let’s say your kid asks you to apply the medicine to his or her privates and you say NO, and then the kid becomes inconsolable. Desolate. As though he or she truly Cannot Believe you would abandon him or her in an hour of desperate need. As though you have done the equivalent of asking that child to walk across burning coals. As though you have done the equivalent of asking that child to walk across burning coals and slide down razor blades into a lake of boiling oil.

Such is this child’s misery.

Well, let me just say, hypothetically again, YOU MAY BEGIN TO QUESTION YOURSELF at this point. You may wonder if you’re getting this one wrong. If your child is very, very, very gifted at this kind of thing, like my friend Meghan’s daughter (about whom Meghan writes, “I’ve never known anyone who could turn things around on me so fast. She could punch me in the face, and I’d end up feeling guilty for making her “feel like a bad person” when I said “ow”), YOU MAY START TO BELIEVE YOUR CHILD HAS A POINT, and you may actually consider acquiescing to his or her demands.

Well, here’s a word of advice: STOP IT. 

Consider — against overwhelming cumulative past evidence, perhaps — consider the idea that SOMETIMES YOU ARE NOT CRAZY, and sometimes the child does NOT have a point, and ALWAYS it’s OK not to apply jock itch/yeast infection medicine to your adolescent child yourself



I’m glad we had this little chat.

In conclusion, sometimes you are NOT crazy, and also I had a very weird day.

Sincerely yours,