By: Bonnie
July 11, 2012

I wrote this some time ago (I don’t know what possesses me to want to continue dramatically “when times were better” – I suppose I’m having trouble being serious today).

If you are familiar with the sweet, simple poem “Desiderata,” you will recognize the parody. If you are not, you ought to go read it first.


Go placidly among the legos and hot wheels
and remember that someday they’re going to be driving your car.
As far as possible, without admitting anything,
Be on good terms with the poison control center.
Speak your truth while holding a big stick;
It saves time.
Listen carefully to the quiet and silence;
It means someone is destroying something.
Avoid Saturday morning cartoons, commercials, and malls;
They are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare your children with others,
Their parents may encourage them to TP your house.
Before you send your Christmas letter, first read it as if you had
received it, and count how many times you roll your eyes.
Pay attention to the color of your children’s socks;
It’s the one thing that will drive you crazy at their concert.
Exercise caution; it’s less painful than exercising quads.
Watch 3-year-olds at all times, for they are full of all
sorts of trickery and are frequently sticky.
Do not let her cuteness blind you to the lipstick she has hidden
behind her back. It’s “red-eyed crimson,” just so ya know.
It won’t match the curtains. I’m serious.
Go ahead and tell your children, “Be yourself.”
They will know you mean, “Be yourself, except with manners.”
Do not be disenchanted if you take them out to dinner,
and they embarrass you in the restaurant; soon they will bring dates home
to sit in your living room and look at naked baby pictures.
Practice your stories of their childhood; they are
as perennial as the grass and need less fertilizer.
Take kindly the counsel of teens and gracefully surrender
your belief in your own wisdom. You can parrot everything back
to them when they are paying their own house payment.
Nurture quiet strength within to sustain you when the garage door
is molded to their fender. Count to ten 247 times.
Do not distress yourself with dark imaginings of their first date;
just go along.
Discipline is wholesome, especially in other people’s kids.
When asked how they were born, tell them
“you are a child of the universe,”
and that they better not have any universal children.
Discussions of birds and bees are best handled
when they are fascinated by all things biological.
This ensures that the greatest possible number
of other people know that you’ve had that discussion.
Be at peace with the school, whatever you conceive that to be.
In the noisy confusion of parent-teacher conferences,
always compliment the teacher on her labors and aspirations.
Whether or not it is clear to anyone, your child is learning something.
With all its pack meetings, prom nights, and giggly sleepovers,
It is still likely they will move away and then have children.
Be cheerful. Grandchildren have hot wheels at home.

So, care to share your stories of parenting fails (either lived or observed) for everyone else’s amusement?

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9 Responses to Dementiarata

  1. Paul on July 11, 2012 at 9:15 AM


    Thanks, Bonnie.

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  2. Stephen M (Ethesis) on July 11, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    Kids can be amazing.

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  3. Henry on July 11, 2012 at 10:45 PM

    Bit of a threadjack. Why does the W&T website look so funky?

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  4. Andrew S on July 12, 2012 at 7:05 AM

    Henry, I’m emailing you…please let me know what issues you are seeing specifically in a response to my email.

    UPDATE: Actually, I’m not going to be able to email you, because the email address you have listed in your comments is not legitimate. However, I opened the site in Internet explorer, and I think I see the issue you have…I’ll look into it.

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  5. NewlyHousewife on July 12, 2012 at 8:47 AM

    Andrew S, I have the same issue as Henry does when using Google Chrome sometimes. It changes the design to the one used for mobile phones.

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  6. BrotherQ on July 12, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    Bonnie, this was really well down, funny, heartwarming, and TRUE! Thank you!

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  7. BrotherQ on July 12, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    well done! (not well down) (Duh).

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  8. Henry on July 13, 2012 at 12:16 AM

    Problem looks like it is fixed.

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  9. Hedgehog on July 13, 2012 at 4:48 AM

    My parents had the original framed on the wall in the hallway (and may still do – I stop seeing things when they’ve been there long enough).
    My children have done lots of things (mercifully forgotten), but I do remember the time child 1 removed their jumper at the airport, for me to find they were wearing their pyjama top underneath (had taken it off, but must have put it on again I was told). It wasn’t obviously a pyjama top however, so only the family knew…

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