Column: How did humanity survive parenthood?

This column was originally posted on Chris Baldus: Journalist Dad in 2012

A speaker on parenting made this interesting point at church today. If parents knew, really knew what they were getting into, no one would be a parent. Humanity would have met its end quickly.

It can be a tough gig, no question. There’s just nothing like dragging a 5- year-old out of church as she sob-scream-chants, “I want a doughnut. I want a doughnut.”

Full disclosure: This was over denial of a second doughnut from the church’s stash and it lasted for the full 10-minute drive home during which she added kicking to her repertoire.

Then there are the times that you repeat instructions to a 10-year-old that you told him seconds earlier. And he still wanders off like a squirrel on Valium instead of wiping off the table so you can feed everyone lunch. Repeat four times.

These are the minor irritants. Just wait until the preschooler kicks the fifth-grader in, yeah, that spot and he body slams her. He spent the rest of his evening with me at work. My buddy at work stifled a laugh when I explained why the kid was there.

As I’m writing this, that little girl is doing all she can to not give her brother his bookmark back. That brings me to:

“Stop! Stop! Dad! She won’t give me my bookmark!”

A tiny maniacal giggle travels from the other room.

“She threw it in the trash!”

Excuse me a second. I need to yell now. It’s in my contract.

Wait. It’s quiet all of a sudden. It’s only been a matter of seconds.

Checking it out, I found brother, with his bookmark, reading a in a recliner.

How did this stop? I asked him.

“She got so bored. I stopped chasing her.”

Sitting in the sofa next to him, she didn’t look up. She was looking over a book of her own.

Sometimes there is peace. It won’t last, but we like to believe it will. I suppose it’s that hope keeping humanity afloat. Or it could be that pre-parents just aren’t paying enough attention. They have other things on their minds.