April 19, 2007

Q: One Good Piece Of Advice That You Didn't Give That Dad On The Street?

Most folks have a governor on their flow of unsolicited advice, and while New Yorkers probably have theirs jammed open much wider than average, I could fill a whole blog with the hundreds of suggestions I bit my lip on and didn't give that dad I saw on the street that time.

One problem I see is that even when it's empirically useful--or even just not insane--the unsolicited advice I've actually gotten from randoms is usually packaged for the judgmental benefit of the advicegiver, not the recipient [ex.: "The one thing my daughter asked me, she said, 'Papa, don't kill my babies by waiting in the street. Get'em up on the curb.'" "If I give you a dollar, will you buy some socks for that kid?"].

What actually valuable/useful/obvious-to-you advice would you have given, if only:

  • your mama hadn't raised you not to be a buttinski,
  • you weren't afraid of getting your lights punched out, or
  • you didn't already know how it can be to get well-meaning but poorly delivered advice when you're not primed for it?

    [I'm also interested in the priming, or in ideas for actually easing the delivery of said advice, like how Coudal's "Dear Cell Phone User" cards can be used to minimize conflicts over loud, private conversations, but it may make sense to break that out into a separate discussion. Or not, if you've got a great story.]

    I'll get it out of the way now by putting "You paid too much for that stroller, daddy." on the list.

    Previously: 65 and counting answers to Q: One good piece of pre-dadhood advice you wish you'd gotten


    "Your kid's gonna get crispy sunburnt in about five minutes, buddy."

    That carrier gives you man-boobs, sir.

    "See that restroom marked 'Family/Caregiver'? It's one big single stall with a locking door. It's for dads who need to take their girls into a public potty, but don't want them to see the junk of all the other daddies."

    Uh, your kid is about to fall down a flight of stairs while you're chatting up the mommies and ignoring her. Over that way, buddy.

    Never overlook sunscreen, the higher the number on the bottle the better your baby is. I let my first baby get fried while were in an event tent that I mistook for shade.

    Hmmm, let's see

    First, Greg you sound like you need some Urban Asshole cards
    (bonus: check out the kids clothes)

    My unsolicited and ungiven advice for dad is:

    Your child cannot swim. Stop trying to drown him and freaking out the lifeguards.

    Stop chatting up the single moms and wipe your kid's snotty nose.

    [Of course, home of the "Dingo Snack" t-shirt. I'd think the snotty nose would hamper his game anyway, but what do I know? -ed.]

    "Make that kid apologise herself, don't do it for her" is the first thing that comes to mind.

    Coincidentally, some nosy old woman came up to my wife outside the library today while my daughter (2 years, 3 months) was eating a snack and told my wife "She's to old to be riding in a stroller..." I wish I'd been there... after reading some of Metrodad's crazy message board comments I'd have been really tempted to say "Hey, it's the only chair she can fit in at the strip bar, and my wife's taking her along for a 4 hour shift later in the day..." or something along those lines...


    It ends up feeling like a subway poster PSA, but I've seen guys just wailing at their kids to shut up, as if the kid's even conscious that they're being outshouted and should concede defeat.

    "Put a damn hat on your kid"

    "I'm glad you're not cold, but your kid needs gloves"

    "Breath dude"

    I'm with naomi about the falling down, off things. I get that I'm a bit more... um paranoid attentive than most people, but the other day we were in the Metro and this couple were letting their kid run in circles around them close to the edge of the platform. The "caution lots of fricking electricity and a big ass train to boot" sign isn't up for decoration people.

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