Always focus your attention on your baby using your eyes. That’s why you have them. The eyes, I mean. You should be making direct and constant eye contact no matter how threatening this might feel to a helpless infant who only wants to be loved. You can save the love for later, now is for staring.
Are you looking away?
Well great, you did, and now your baby is a toddler. Nice going.
Since your baby has blown past infanthood with you barely even noticing, it’s time to ratchet things up. You should now focus all your attention on your toddler using your eyes, your hands, and all your emotions. Are you holding, looking at, or feeling emotions at your toddler right now?
Never look at your phone, don’t you dare, I don’t care if the Pope’s name flashes across your screen. Why is the Pope calling you anyway? Seems suspicious. Stop being selfish and taking Pope calls. Tell the Pope you’ll talk to him later.
Is your toddler still nursing? Maybe your toddler could be a breastfeeding influencer. A nursencer? A babyfluencer? An infantcer? A breastmancer? A toddl-er? That’s the regular word. Well, call it something good and maybe other people will pay attention to him too.
Now, hold on a minute. Who is this young man? Is this your toddler?
No, no it is not. While you were messing about with the Pope and inventing words, your toddler became a child. Great, just great.
Maybe you should return to eye contact, branching out to hands and emotions was clearly too advanced. To recap: are you staring at your child?
You should be. Even in the bathroom during Number 2. Get in there! Stare. Stare hard. Are there any teachable moments happening in the bathroom? No? I find that hard to believe. Maybe you don’t love your child enough. It happens.
What you must understand is children will wither and die without constant attention, like flesh orchids. Just know that if you aren’t incessantly narrating every single moment to him by now you will regret it. Because time really starts to fly and—
Your child is a tween now. Whoop-de-do. How dare you allow the passage of time to happen the way it has for millennia? Do you even want to stop time? Because that’s not the feeling I’m getting right now, to be honest. I understand you think you’re tired or up against some sort of unchangeable system like the Earth orbiting the sun but I guess we all decide what’s important for ourselves don’t we?
This just in:
That’s enough staring for now. It’s time to avert your gaze. Your tween is now a teenager and will interpret any direct eye contact as a sign of aggression. If you accidentally make eye contact, try to look bigger than you are and wave your arms while banging a wooden spoon against a pot. Growl! Then look away from your teen as quickly as you can and direct your gaze outward. What do other people think? It’s time to shift your focus to them.
They probably think it’s that special time in one’s formative years when you should be buying your teenager a person. This could be a tutor, a coach, or someone who is very good at taking the SAT.
Buying your child a person is, of course, just a gateway to buying your child a college. So do that next. The long-term math won’t make sense at all but this is just what the best moms do.
Buy your child some friends. Hint: They come with the college.
Buy your child a job. Hint: It comes from your friends.
Buy your child a house. How else are they going to get a foothold on the America dream from only 37 rungs up??
Why are the police here? Try to buy them too. How is that illegal? Do they not know who you are? You are the best mother! Try the money thing again.
Return to focusing on your child with your eyes and let him know you’re going to jail now. Tell him to remember the eye contact. You’ll always have the eye contact.
Boy, time really does fly.
Did you enjoy every minute?
Kimberly Harrington is the author of Amateur Hour: Motherhood in Essays and Swear Words.