Here they are: "12 Things I Need to Stop Doing in Front of My Child"
Paul Starke: Luke is at the age where he's starting to imitate our behavior a little bit. He'll pick up my cell phone and start trying to talk into it, before putting it in his mouth and slobbering on it. I don't do the latter, so he must have gotten that from my wife. But he's also starting to repeat words and phrases, like "hello" and "I do." This is all terrific, except as Melissa pointed out the other night, there are now certain things I can no longer do in front of my 15-month-old, or else he may repeat them. Here they are, "12 Things I Need to Stop Doing in Front of My Child":
1) Swearing One of my favorite things to say is "S**tballs." Don't ask why, it's just a great word. And probably fun for a kid to say, too. F**k it, I'm scratching this one off the list.
2) Watching TV with my hand down my pants This is one of those "guy cliches" that happens to be true. I don't know why we do it -- we're not really doing anything down there, we just need a place to keep our hands. Still, I don't want Luke doing that in Pre-K.
3) Walking around the house pantsless You know those charming relationship quirks, like where the couple calls each other shmoopie? My wife and I moon each other for no apparent reason. It's just as gross and unfunny as it sounds.
4) Getting into fights with strangers See my post from last week.
5) Eating really, really fast Speed eaters are my heroes. Even though nobody is timing me and nobody cares, I get a certain thrill when I can eat a tuna sandwich in 40 seconds. Probably not the best thing to teach my son. At least until he turns 2.
6) Eating stuff off the floor When I'm feeding Luke, he tends to throw a bunch of food on the ground. Instead of vacuuming, which would take time, I usually just pick it up off the floor and eat it. Don't want him thinking this is OK ...
7) Petty thievery My days of jumping the subway turnstiles are over; very difficult to do that with a stroller.
8) Playing violent video games Shouldn't be doing this anyway, since I'm 35, not 14.
9) Burping, breaking wind, various picking and scratching You know what I'm talking about. Not saying that these things aren't perfectly natural, but eventually the kid needs to learn what's appropriate inside the house (and in Mommy's face) and outside.
10) Complete avoidance of chores I don't completely avoid them (like the dishes or laundry), I just intentionally do them poorly so I won't be asked to do them again. Actually, that's a pretty good trick to teach the boy.
11) Rolling my eyes sarcastically when talking to my parents on the phone The thought of him doing that to us when we're older and make no sense is truly depressing.
12) Smoking I DO NOT do this in the house, or in front of Luke, ever -- but it's something I struggle with occasionally, usually when my parents come to visit. But I have to stop, because I want to be around for Luke for a long, long time.
|Paul Starke is an Emmy-winning TV producer, and a co-writer of the #1 New York Times bestseller, "An Inconvenient Book."|