Word of the Day: Parenting
Pronunciation: pair-uhn-ting, par– ;
Definition: A made-up word denoting the practice of ostentatiously raising bizarrely named offspring in a manner that demands that innocent bystanders heap praise and affirmation on you at all times for doing what humanoids have, after all, been doing for millennia without fuss.
Example: “Judith and Bryce were so busy parenting little Ocean and Zarathustra that they didn’t notice the six-engine train bearing down on their PT Cruiser.”
A while back I was shopping in Toronto’s trendy Danforth area, which used to be known as Greektown but has in the last couple of decades expanded to include not only its wonderful Greek restaurants (mmmm… souvlaki…) but sushi emporiums, Thai food, Mexican, some seedy bars, some nasty nightclubs and lots of coffee shops and specialty groceries. Also a Book City, which is one of my favourite places on earth, but I digress.
I had in mind the purchase of a smackerel of cheese, and so I betook myself into the hilariously named “Alex Farms – An Adventure in Cheese.” This is another of my favourite places on earth, not only because you can get some eye-poppingly good cheeses here, from a nice cheddar to a lovely caramelly Norwegian cheese called Gjetost (YAY-toast), but because one of their older shops had a sign I just loved that featured a 1950s business-type guy rushing along in suit & tie, with a string around his finger, saying “Did you remember to pick up salami?”
(And who among us, I ask you, has not arrived home after a hard day at the orifice, smacked self on side of head and groaned, “Oh my sainted aunts, I forgot the blasted salami!!”)
Anyway, I digress. This day, I was in mind of a nugget or two of a cheesy comestible and found myself at the door of Alex Farms. Alas, so did a Parent, who for the purposes of this article I will call Judith. Judith had a toddler in tow (a male of the species, about 16 months of age perhaps, whom I will refer to as Zachary) and said Toddler was tucked into one of those god-awful “Li’l Tykes” gigantic green plastic wagons with the steer-able front wheels that look like they were attached by giraffes on crack.
The door to Alex Farms is narrow-ish, by which I mean regulation size, one human width, and most definitely NOT suited to the entrance or egress of a wagon. There is also a concrete step about six inches high.
In front of this door crouched our Judith, who was trying to reason with Zachary, who (aside from being 16 months old and basically pre-lingual, never mind pre-reason) was now attempting to drag his wagon (loaded with all the toddler accoutrements du jour) up the step and into the store. He was, unsurprisingly, also pre-tantrum here.
I attempted to squeeze past this little display, but Judith and Zachary and the wagon were firmly wedged into the available space, oblivious to all but their own drama. Zachary tugged mightily on the wagon handle, and Judith crouched beside him, talking to him in that maddeningly level stage voice that Yuppie parents use.
“Now Zachary,” she said, adjusting her spectacles on her nose. “I can see you’re having some difficulty getting your wagon up the step. It’s a pretty big heavy wagon! Would you like some assistance?”
Zachary, using the advanced reasoning skills at his command, replied “GLUGGBLARRGHHGHAAAAAAAAAAAAA!” and gave the handle an extra-vicious yank, causing his Precious Sailor Hat to fall over his eyes.
And on it went. By this time, seven or eight people were backed up behind me, also trying to get into the shop, whilst indoors, roughly the same number of customers, clutching their bags of cheese, were pressed against the door like puppies at a pet shop, trying to exit.
Judith, however, was having none of it. She had her priorities straight, dammit, and simply hunkered down tighter to continue her “discussion” with little Zachary, who was now whining loudly and kicking the wagon.
Finally, one brave soul stepped out of the crowd behind me and said, “Would you mind moving aside, please? I’d like to get into the store.”
Well. You’d think someone had smacked our Judith across the chops with a loaded Pampers and called Zachary a snot-nosed troll. Really.
Our Mother Bear drew herself up to her full height, placed her hands on her hips, and said malevolently, “Do…you…MIND? I am PARENTING this child here.”
To which our hero (oh God bless him) replied, not missing a beat, “I don’t care if you’re giving birth to the second coming of Christ. Get out of the goddamn doorway before I carry you out of there myself.”
And there you have it. There really is absolutely nothing more I can say on any of this, except that if I were the marrying kind, I would invite this wonderful gentleman to come forward at once, become the next (OK, the first) Mr Smiter, no questions asked, and NOT have children with me, ever! Yippeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
In the meantime, I’ll be over here, enjoying a tasty snack of Kasseri, if you need me.