How to raise a successful person

First, forget about your own childhood. Remember your parents didn't know it wasn't okay to let you paddle in a tidal river before you could swim, leave you in a Christian Science Camp while they went to Europe and left no contact information, drive you around while drunk, get drunk and say horrible things, tell you there was no way in hell you'd ever make it at writing, acting, marriage or motherhood because you were a selfish, talentless, moron with the bad taste to fall in love with art or that stupid boy. You aren't your parents. Relax. Get pregnant. Don't read the manual that tells you about the 200000 things that could befall the fetus before you even know you're pregnant. Go off coffee for one day and then go back on. Just don't drink too much. Don't speak to that macrobiotic, vegan, yoga, cross-fit instructor whose self-taught and completely comfortable telling you all kinds of things about your pregnancy even though she's/he's childless and not a doctor. In fact, he/she never graduated from college. Take some vitamins, do some yoga, do lots of kegels, put your feet up, whine a lot, gain weight, wear your husband's clothes, avoid blogs and awful stories about two-headed babies. make a birth plan with a play list and a menu of snacks, read it to your midwife and your husband, give birth in the hallway or maybe not. Give birth like me after 72 hours of labor listening to Enya and attempting to rip your husband's face off. Marvel at the gorgeousness of your child. Hand him to his father. Eat a box of truffles.

Try to breast feed. fail. Have a hundred people give you advice. Call your mother who tells you to give the baby a bottle. Give the baby a bottle, pump your milk, wave at the guys on the scaffold watching you pump your milk. Watch a strange version of Russian porn while you pump your milk. Feed your baby. When he is splayed out across your body ask the midwife if there is something wrong. Be happy when she tells you he is the most relaxed baby she ever met. Ignore unbelievably awful people who ask you why you didn't breast feed. They will go to hell. Take your baby to Switzerland when he is 3 month old and balance him on luggage. Hand him over to French day care woman you can't understand and go skiing. Nearly kill yourself skiing off an Alp and as you are air born imagine that little face. Survive. Go cross country skiing.

Tell your baby all your ideas for novels, movies, plays, television shows. Tell your husband you don't think the baby likes you. Cry and try to make your baby respond to a conversation. Go back to work part-time at a job you get by attending the interview with your baby and crying about how bored you are and how sick you are of the baby. The baby will smil because he is an imbecile. Miss your baby while you are teaching. Tell your baby a joke and when he laughs you realize he is an angel. Your angel.

Get separated and survive. Work out a parenting plan, dress your kid in rapper underwear because he loves 50 Cents. Don't worry that he will be a gang banger. Get him a skateboard and watch him try to do a kick flip 50 times. Accept the blame for jinxing him by watching. Watch. Read to him every night and sing Leonard Cohen songs about dysfunctional relationships. Take your kid to Mexico and Michigan and do all sorts of things like snorkeling and zip lines and swimming and feel sorry for yourself because you don't have a grown-up to talk to. Make friends with awful people with kids. Let your kid watch Sponge Bob, Full House, Bob, bob and Bob, and a bunch of other stupid TV shows. Let him eat orzo and parmesan cheese and broccoli every night. In front of the TV. Take him to McDonalds and Chucky Cheese where you eat Sushi and correct essays. Work. Write. Publish a book and dedicate it to him. Make up with your parents. Let him go to the playground. When you enroll him in an all-girl hip-hop dance class let him drop out. Get him Guitar lessons and a math tutor and therapy. Recognize he is wild like you were and brilliant like you were but more so. When there's no room in gifted let him hang with the non-gifted.

Go nuts when he gets drunk and then stop. Get help for yourself and love him so much you accept that he is awful. Stay friends with his father. Remarry a wonderful man who likes and will love your kid. Pray to something to keep him from doing the sort of things you did once. Forgive him. Laugh at his jokes. take him to "Hustle and Flow" and deny you want him to become a pimp. Take him to a movie about gang violence in Chicago and pretend you don't see him cry. Be nice to everyone even though he says you're crazy. Try not to cry when he graduates from middle school, high school and you drop him off at college. Cry. Understand that this is his life and from the sidelines you will be the mothership and that has to be enough. Keep writing.


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