Thursday, April 17th, 2014
Joe DeProspero has two sons, a wife, and is complimentary birth control for anyone who sits near him in a restaurant. His writing has been described as “outrageous,” “painfully real,” and “downright humiliating.” Author of the dark comedy fiction novel “The Boy in the Wrinkled Shirt,” Joe is working on releasing a parenting humor book. He currently lives in New Jersey and can be found on Facebook or followed on Twitter @JoeDeProspero.
As the great Jerry Stiller once said (while portraying the unforgettably bombastic Frank Costanza on Seinfeld), “I feel the need to unburden myself.” I’ve been carrying around some heavy secrets. Some of them kind of shocking. But I’m willing to bet that, if you’re a parent, you’ll relate to more of these than you’d like to admit.
So, in no particular order, since it’s Lent and I’m Catholic and we’re encouraged to make confession during this time of year…
Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned…
I pretend to be asleep in the middle of the night when my kids wake up crying. I think my wife is onto me, as she’s started to do the same. She learned from the best. I admire that.
When I deem it necessary, I let my younger son exact revenge on my older son. Trust me, he absolutely deserves it. And it teaches the older one a valuable lesson: Being a jerk = pain
When my son asks me a question I don’t know the answer to, I pretend I can’t hear him and walk away. An example is, “Daddy, why do you have nipples?” Why do I have nipples, Father?
I listen to the Frozen soundtrack when neither of my kids are in the car. I’ve also started pricing tinted windows.
I know all the words to at least six Fresh Beat Band songs….including Twists’ raps. Again, tinted windows.
I’ve been legitimately confused by instructions on my 4-year-old’s homework assignments.
I laughed at my kid after he walked directly into a wall and started crying. I mean, it was pretty hilarious.
I still don’t remember either of my sons’ shoe sizes. When I do, it changes two weeks later, anyway. I’ve stopped trying.
I genuinely enjoy Sesame Street more than 90% of primetime cable programming. Then again, “Sextuplets Take New York” isn’t exactly stiff competition.
I’ve smelled my son’s dirty diaper and then hid in the next room to avoid changing it.
I lied by more than two years to get my son into a theme park for free. I insisted he remain seated in the stroller sucking a pacifier to sell the lie to the cashier. I even said, “Act young.”
I’ve blamed my kids for being late to work, when it was actually my own fault. I mean, most of the time it’s their fault, so it’s not entirely a lie. Right?
When I’m putting my kids to bed, I stay in the room at least half an hour after they’re asleep, playing Words with Friends to avoid being responsible and putting laundry away.
I legitimately cannot defeat my 4-year-old in the Memory Game. He’s beaten me like 18 straight times, with me actually trying to win. It’s pretty embarrassing. I’m either getting old or I’m just a moron.
I peed on the toilet seat and blamed it on my 2-year-old’s failure to potty train himself.
I’ve accidentally answered a toy phone when a real one was ringing.
I skipped 13 pages in a 16-page book while reading a bedtime story just to see if I could get away with it. I could.
While playing basketball with my kids, I occasionally reject the living hell out of them ala Dikembe Mutombo. It’s my way of convincing myself I have so much as a shred of athletic ability left.
Nothing makes me laugh more genuinely than when my younger son mispronounces words. Most recently, he’s been talking about this “really big clock” he has in his room. Only he’s having noticeable trouble pronouncing the “L.”
I think that covers me until the next time. And if you see me in church next Sunday, this conversation never happened.
Feel free to add your own confessions by adding a comment below, or by tweeting me with the hashtag #confessions so we can all be guilty together!
* Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com
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Wednesday, October 16th, 2013
Joe DeProspero has two sons, a wife, and is complimentary birth control for anyone who sits near him in a restaurant. His writing has been described as “outrageous,” “painfully real,” and “downright humiliating.” He talks about the highs and unsettling lows of parenthood while always being entertaining and engaging in the process. He is the author of the dark comedy fiction novel “The Boy in the Wrinkled Shirt” and is working on releasing a parenting humor book. He currently lives in New Jersey and can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter @JoeDeProspero.
There’s an app for that.
You’ve heard it time and time again, both as a serious suggestion and as a punch line. Want to track your daily caloric intake? There’s an app for that. Want to get locations and ratings on all Italian restaurants within a 20-mile radius? There’s an app for that. Want a constant distraction from your daily life that will serve as both a healthy mind-stimulator and immeasurable impedance on your parenthood and overall productivity? Unfortunately, there are several apps for that. Most are free, but can be quite costly in other ways.
For me, that app is ultra-popular, Scrabble-inspired Words with Friends. Now, before I go any further, I have to be clear that I’m not criticizing or trying to discourage use of this addictive app. I happen to love the game. In fact, I’m obsessed with it to an unhealthy degree. And that obsession got to be too much one particular day while reading a book to my son. Rather, trying to read a book to my son. At the time, I had 21 active games going, and frankly that number would’ve been higher had the app allowed it. And as it turned out, my kids’ bedtime always seemed to correspond with when my opponents were at their most prolific. Naturally. So, I was right in the middle of Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons book when I looked over at my iPhone to check if any plays had been made in the past 45 seconds. Antonio, my son, frustratingly asked, “Daddy, do you ever put your phone away?”
I did put my phone away. That very moment, in fact. I was completely surprised by the question. More importantly, though, I was embarrassed and ashamed of myself. My son had playfully tried to grab my iPhone out of my hand in the past while I was playing my turn in WWF, but this was the first time he’d verbally expressed disappointment. And it was clear. He thought I cared more about playing some game on my phone than reading to him. That night, after the kids were asleep, I resigned from all my current games and deleted the Words with Friends app from my phone. Considering how addicted I was to it, I even surprised myself at how I was able to do it without the slightest bit of hesitation. But considering how it was starting to make my kid feel, the decision to eliminate it from my life wasn’t difficult in the least.
I won’t lie. I miss playing. Like any part of a daily routine, it had become ingrained in my psyche to the point where any idle moment (and sometimes, not-so-idle moment) was devoted to punishing my opponent with a Triple-Word score. I know there are plenty of people out there who are perfectly capable of striking a healthy balance between their responsibilities and hobbies. But when a hobby becomes so consuming that it’s affecting how your boss, spouse, friends, or especially your children view you, it’s time to walk away. For me, the time had clearly come.
It would be foolish for me to believe that I’m completely in the clear when it comes to distractions. In this day and age, if it isn’t Facebook, it’s Twitter. And if it isn’t Twitter, it’s Instagram. And if it isn’t Instagram, it’s some other social app that’s as attractive to a wandering mind as a fire hydrant to a urinating dog. As parents, our minds need relief more than anybody. But I’ve learned that seeking such relief while your children are awake and in your care is as selfish as it is dangerous.
So, if you have a similar distraction that’s taking you away from something far more important, know that there’s somebody, maybe even one of your children, that have noticed it. And no matter how tempting a Triple-Word score is, no point total is worth ignoring, even for a moment, that very important somebody.
Do you have a habit you’re looking to break? Know someone who does? Let me know about it by leaving a comment below! Or tweet me with the hashtag #appaddict!
And if you are looking for fun activities to do with your kids, check out our free Activity Finder.
* Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com
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