New Year, New Us Edition

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S1: This ad free podcast is part of your slate plus membership. The following podcast contains explicit language.

S2: Welcome to Mom and Dad Fighting Slave Parenting podcast for Thursday, January 2nd, The New Year New Edition. I’m Jimmy Lemieux, a writer contributor to Slate Care and Feeding Parenting column and Mom to Nyima, who is 6. And we live in Los Angeles, California.

S3: And I’m Gabriel Roth, the editorial director of Slate Podcasts. And I’m the father of Elysa, who is 9 years old, and Leo, who is 5.

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S2: Thanks so much for joining us. Gabe, I don’t get to meet most of the Slate folks outside of Dan fighting for me.

S3: Thanks for having me. It’s it’s cool to be back on the show. I’m really psyched to do this.

S2: And dad’s not feeling well.

S4: So we’re sending him good wishes and hoping that he has a speedy recovery so that he can start out his new year on the right, but said today we’re gonna be talking about our New Year’s parenting resolutions.

S5: You know, the things that we come up with at the beginning of the year that we abandoned by April.

S4: And then we’re also going to be taking a question from a mom who’s fed up with her husband’s napping schedule. Should a 4 year old go unsupervised while he gets a few minutes of shut eye? I’m sure you can imagine what I have to say about that. Perhaps you can’t, because I’m very pro naps. And as always, we’re going to do triumphs and fields and recommendations. So, Gabe. Do you have a triumph or fail for us this week?

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S6: That’s a good question. And to be honest, I was hoping I could get your help on how to categorize this one. So it’s definitely an intervention that I made that worked out fine, but I’m not sure if I did this right or not. So, Leo, as I said, it’s now five years old and he’s a great kid. He’s in kindergarten. He’s one of the youngest kids in his class because he has a summer birthday. So he’s with kids who are generally older than him.

S7: And and his birth is in July, July, late July 12th. OK.

S5: Since I’ve moved to California, I’ve decided to become like all younger crystal incense and astrology. So to listening, you talk about him, I would like to know his thoughts. Thank you.

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S8: Yes. Oh, sure. Yeah, he is a cancer.

S9: And since I live in in Brooklyn and in these coasts and am Generation X and and out of it, I think of astrology as being bullshit. I didn’t know that he was a cancer. So that’s good to know. I think of cancer as being a fatal disease. He doesn’t have cancer, but he is, according to some primitive superstition, a cancer.

S10: So he’s in kindergarten with kids who are much older than him. Mostly that’s fine. Has frenzy keeps up socially. He’s doing great. The one thing that has been sort of a marker of his relative youth has been his inability to pronounce the letter R. He does that thing that many little kids do. All their words come out just fine, except that the letter R comes out as a letter W he’ll say, who flamed Wajir Rabbit, for instance. And it’s adorable, right? It’s so cute. And then at the same time, like at by the time he’s at this age when the other kids are all pronouncing their R’s correctly, then you start to feel like, well, this is really cute and it’s not gonna be cute forever. And at a certain point, I sort of hope that he learns to pronounce the letter properly. If he doesn’t, then that’s fine. Obviously, I’m sure there are listeners out there who have a softer or liquid R or whatever they call it. And obviously that is fine. But in any case, I was thinking like maybe at some point it’s time for him to start saying his R’s properly and he wasn’t doing it. And so I got curious as to whether like, you know, I wasn’t at the point of, like, calling a speech therapist or anything like that. So I asked him.

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S11: So when you say who framed Roger Rabbit?

S12: Can you say who framed Roger Rabbit? And he goes, who framed Roger Rabbit?

S13: And when he’s trying to do it, then he can do it just fine. Can you say Batman and Robin, not Batman and Wabbit? Yeah, Batman and Robin.

S14: Every time he says it like he’s now the host of The Price Is Right or something like that. All of his R’s, when he’s thinking about it, he can do it. But there’s like a really big warm up, it seems to me, as a amature speech therapist. It seems to me that he can indeed make the R sound. He’s just as in the habit of not doing it. So I asked him about this like a couple of times. I wasn’t gonna like correct him every time he says the letter R as the letter W I let it go. But then a couple of times a day I would be like, can you say Batman and Robin? And he would say Batman and Robin. And then we would go on with building Lego or whatever it is we were doing.

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S13: And then I sort of forgot about it, stop thinking about it. And then on one of the first days of our Christmas vacation, maybe the day before we left for Christmas vacation, I was thinking, you know, there’s something about Leo. He seems more grown up lately. There’s something about him that seems a little bit more mature. And I was like, hey, hang on a second, say Batman and Robin. And he said, Batman and Robin. And I said, say, who framed Roger Rabbit? And he said, Who framed Roger Rabbit? And as I do, you realize that you’re now saying the latter are like a RA and not like war. And he got this look of just wonderment. And delight on his face because he hadn’t known that he was doing it. It had just sort of happened unconsciously as he was talking normally. And I was like, you didn’t even know you were doing that, did you? And he was like, no, it didn’t. And he was so thrilled about it. And then ever since he says his hours in the grown up way and it’s not a thing. I think that’s good.

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S11: At the same time, I sort of miss the little kid who used to say that w sound for ah. And so it makes me a little sad that we’ve lost that. And I slightly worry that now I’m the dad who was like pushing him to grow up before he wanted to. I don’t. In any case, is this a triumph for failure?

S15: You tell me, huh? I’ve got so many emotions here. At one point I thought, I wonder if anyone’s ever been kicked off the show before. Perhaps we’ll make history. And I’m going to kick you off the show because they cut his mike.

S16: Cut his mike because you’re describing the one of the sweetest, best parts of having a three, four or five year old, you know, somebody who has language, you know, but they can’t use it quite correctly.

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S17: But you know exactly what they mean. And it’s so precious and so sweet.

S18: I’ll never forget my daughter, said Lello, instead of yellow, for until she was almost 6, all the baby words had dropped off and Lello stay. And I think the level it was because I liked it so much, you know. But I always told her, I love how you say yellow. You know, as opposed to telling her, say it. I want you to stay at the right way. And I guess because I’m wanting so desperately to hold onto the baby part, the change between five and six and six or seven is so beautiful and devastating all at once.

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S16: Yeah, but I suppose we can file that as a triumph, not because of your incessant bullying, which, by the way, I thought this story ended with him asking to see who framed Roger Rabbit. And that’s not necessarily a movie for a child his age, but something that he couldn’t be quite naturally interested in seeing because he’s been saying who framed Roger Rabbit for the past six months. But since you said that he was delighted and smiled at the recognition that he had now conquered this mountain that you told him was before, we can say that that’s a triumph.

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S7: All right. Thank you, though, because I would hate for you to have to do the rest of the show by itself like Peter Griffin.

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S19: You know what really grinds my gears for like 20 minutes. So how about you?

S20: I just came back late last night from New Orleans. I went on Christmas night, Christmas morning. My little one woke up. She opened her presents. We went to I have this where she wanted to go and that there’s a ton of options on Christmas. But I thought, you know, we can go to a hotel. A lot of them have restaurants. They’ll be having branches and stuff. And she’s like, no, mommy, I want to go to. OK. She’s actually asking me to spend twenty dollars on the entire meal as opposed to, you know, a fancy production. That’s a good thing. And one huge win. And so then she went to her dad’s house and I packed my bag and I went to New Orleans for four days.

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S15: It was very nice. I planned this trip months ago with the intention of I’m going to write and meditate and do a little, you know, personal work.

S18: And then in the evenings, I’ll go out, have a nice meal dance.

S20: I had work lot like things that I want to work on, working on my book proposal and working on just does writing, right. I’m going to go work. Who the fuck goes to New Orleans to work?

S15: I could tell you who doesn’t. Me because guess what I didn’t do.

S19: And neurons open my laptop a single time.

S20: I didn’t even open it. It just stayed in my suitcase. I read. I journaled. I did do some meditating and some you know, some stuff that you would write off as insignificant because you’re a Gen Xers and you all stop believing in Santa Claus a long time ago. But us millennials still have we still like to believe that there’s something out there bigger and better than us, and that if we use some crystals and some birth, there is some info about our birthdays. We can tap into it, rather. I did all that stuff, every debaucherous thing that you think of when you think of New Orleans. And I killed myself with food. Yesterday I waited to the last day because I had to be done with all the debauchery. And then yesterday I let myself really eat and I didn’t work. And so that in and of itself is a fail, even though you could say, hey, mom, you need a vacation. You know, you needed a break. That’s cool.

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S15: But I also did not write my Karen feeding column for this week. And guess what? I found out that it was due early when I was walking in to do the podcast today. And it’s already late, huh?

S14: So this would have been a colossal fail. Except your usual co-host on this podcast, who also happens to be the editor of the care and feeding column, has pneumonia. So it’s a triumph because he’s not here to give you a hard time about it.

S21: It’s you know what? And you would think that would make it better.

S22: I feel so much worse because Dan sent me an email this morning before I’d even gotten because I’m on West Coast time. They’re on East Coast Time. So I’m always catching up on emails and I sleep in. I did catch some emails around 7 and 8 while still rolling around a bit. And Dan sent me an e-mail before I’d even gotten to the pneumonia bill. I had one from him that said, I will edit you from my deathbed.

S14: So this was a triumph on the part of Dan.. Course, I am a failure on the part of you.

S20: Yes. Dan Rexall, yet another triumph. We’re starting the counter over at the beginning of the year. You’re gonna meet the New Year, New me next week because I find her New Orleans.

S23: I am going to stay out of this one. That’s going to be my triumph. It’s going to be a triumph for staying out of this one.

S18: My failed ties to what we’re gonna talk about a little bit later in the show and also the spirit of Dan’s book, which I’m reading.

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S22: And I’m not just bringing that up to try and earn some brownie points with Dan. Well, and Priorities Neuse at the moment. For those of you all who haven’t started yet or who got a copy of it for the holidays and we’ll be reading along with us on Facebook, Dan’s book, How to Be a Family, in which he tells the story of this journey that he and his wife and their two children took living in four very different parts of the world over the course of a year to reconnect to themselves as a family and and discover some habits and practices that really work for them, because they found that what they were doing on the hamster wheel of school and extracurriculars and jobs and responsibilities was it. And I relate so greatly, you know, to the burnout and the sense of I see my child all the time.

S20: But are we having quality time? I’m working hard. I’m doing work that I like. But at some point, this is supposed to be a lot more fun and enjoyable than it is.

S22: So, anyway, Dan, thank you for helping me through this process of burnout that has led to me letting you down. You didn’t let me down. So in your absence.

S16: Yes, you have racked up yet another try out this two for you this week to be all right. So let’s do some business. Slade’s parenting newsletter is the best place to be notified about all our great parenting content, including mom and dad are finding care and feeding and much more.

S18: It is a personal email from Dan. It will land in your inbox each week. All you have to do is sign up at Slate that come back flash parenting email. Also check us out on Facebook. Just search for slate parenting. It’s a really fun community. It’s well moderated so it doesn’t get out of control. And I am planning to keep my New Year’s resolution as spending more time in there because I am so deeply intimidated by Facebook. It has not been my social network of choice, and I feel like a very old person trying to jump into a space that I vaguely remember from when I used to be cool. But you all have been very warm and welcoming in the parenting groups. I’m happy to be in there. So pleased that you haven’t joined the Facebook group. Do it, do it, do it.

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S24: I just want to first of all, second, that remark Facebook group is great. And so. To those of you who are already members of the Facebook group, I just took a look in the queue and it seems like all of us have been on vacation. So there’s a lot of pending posts. What that means is if you submit a post, someone here looks at it and makes sure that it’s not garbage before we approve it. And sometimes during the holiday season, that system breaks down a little bit. So that may be frustrating. But to those of you who aren’t members, you can think of that as your commitment to the fact that there will be no garbage posts in the Slate Parenting Facebook group. So that’s the upside. Do you ever reject posts just because you’re like, that one’s really annoying?

S23: You know, I’ve done that like twice in my life and it’s quite satisfying as an exercise of power. And I’m enjoying sort of swooping back into the show and getting to admit that. Get it off my chest and then disappearing and not reading the emails that we’re gonna get about.

S19: Right. So that everyone will believe that it was Dan or I.

S25: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. No. Now, if your post doesn’t show up, you can blame me. There’s a blame game.

S20: Yeah, I know. I have not rejected any for being annoying. There have been a couple, there were nine that I was just I don’t want to deal with this. I just skipped over them and left it ostensibly for you to come in and actually have the courage to hit the hammer. So the New Year’s just begun.

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S26: We are going into a fresh decade depending upon who you ask, because as I understand the numbers, there is one through 10 and then there’s eleven.

S25: Three. We’re not doing this talking about, OK.

S27: Boomer, Jesus is just so much into this whole new decade, new decade or like it’s a new set of numbers.

S22: I suppose the numbers will start with 2 as opposed to the.

S25: The only thing that matters is the dial turning over on the odometer. There’s no other significance to any of this. Perhaps like people said that during or in the year 2000. If you’re old enough to remember the year 2000 and the year 2000, people were like, oh, it’s not actually a new century until 2001. Shut up. All four of the numbers are changing at once. That’s a new century right there.

S4: That’s true. I do remember that. And I was young enough to be like, yes, I knew everything. So I need to head back. And now that I’m 35 and washed up, apparently. I’m picky about things like this, but it is a new set of numbers, as people often do at this time of year. They are setting themselves up for disappointment and creating a whole huge heap of plans and things.

S17: A lot of pressure to be fitter and happier and smarter and wealthier and better parents and all that.

S15: And by people I mean me, I’m going to become an entirely different person this year. I’m really excited about it. I’m just squirming. I’m changing.

S17: And I want to know what kind of New Year’s resolutions you’re making for yourself.

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S28: Dan, you missed it. I’m sorry. He’ll be back next week. I’m kind of the same to me.

S29: I can understand that. I the the the New Year’s resolutions I’m making are like there’s all the ordinary ones about like I’ve never exercised in my life. And like I’m now at the age where that’s no longer, like, cute or like an eccentricity. It’s like, that is going to kill me at some point soon. So I’m going to start doing that. There’s all that ordinary like personal stuff. But in terms of parenting, like I was thinking for this show, what is the parenting stuff that I should do differently? Cause I you know, I think I’m basically a fine parent. Like, if you are a longtime listener to this show, you will know that I’m not like the kind of parent who’s just constantly beating himself up about his own inadequacies as a parent. But I was thinking what would be like given where me and the kids are now, what would be a good thing for me to change? And one of the things that I realized, his kids are 9 and 5, and that’s an age where, like they can play together. But there’s a big gap between a 9 year old and a 5 year old terms of like sensibility. Those are two really different ages in a way that maybe wasn’t true a couple years ago. And they’re good at playing together and we figure out things to do together or Eliza likes to read. So sometimes, like I’m doing stuff with Leo because he can’t read and she can just be off and reading and she has a 9 year old girl.

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S10: Yeah, but one of the things about that is she can roam a long way. Like I can look around and she’s not physically, but like in terms of what she’s reading and thinking about and caring about and talking to her friends about, like I don’t have as much of a bead on that as I did a little bit ago. And obviously that’s natural. And at some point she’ll be a teenager and will want to tell me about anything. And like she needs to develop her independence. And all of that is fun. But it did make me think I should do more stuff with the kids separately, like I should do stuff with her. I should take her to movies that are much too grown up for him or I should like I read to him because he can’t read. I should start reading to her and find a book that like we both want to read and. Read that to her. Like I should carve out space for the two of us individually. That he’s not a part of because I already have that with him so that I can like, you know, we could have a really good conversation now about a book or a movie, I feel like. And so that that’s my big resolution for the year in terms of parenting, I think. How about you?

S22: I think that’s a great one. And speaking of Dan, because we’re always speaking to Dan, I recall him mentioning or telling a story that involved him reading to his girls, you know, and their big girls. And I thought that was really cool. And maybe it was a letter writer who referenced reading to their children. And Dan echoed that he does the same thing. But either way, I think that’s really nice. And, you know, as a mom to a new reader, we mix it out where sometimes she reads to me and I read to her and I’d really gotten more into listening to her read.

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S15: But I realized that, like how important it is for I don’t know.

S22: I think that’s one of the fondest childhood memories I have, is my mother reading to me. And it’s not something that I really allowed her to do when I was old enough to read chapter books by myself. You know, it was all God on. That’s so lame. But I wish that I, you know, had appreciated that more.

S15: And I think that’s something that your daughter will, you know, hopefully find to be a lot cooler than I did back then, because that is very cool. And spending that separate time together is important. You parents of multiples. I often wonder how you do it, and I doubt knowing that there’s going to be a very tremendous age range between Nyima, who’s already six and a half and future baby that I’ve decided. Even I know you don’t do astrology and the weird spirituality stuff, but I’ve already decided that I’m welcoming a new child in 2021 or 2022. So congratulations. Thank you. It’s awesome. First boyfriend and then we’re going to get engaged and then we’ll get married and then I’ll have a baby. So I’ve gotten married. Vigeland Three years ahead of me. Thank you.

S25: This will be great for the show too. And I love watching this journey.

S20: And those of anybody knows any gainfully employed men the Los Angeles area sticks to or better because the first ones that is tall. So I don’t want to fuck things up. I’m tall so I can post them pictures. Kind of like what I have in mind.

S19: I’d like for my kids to match so that they can look you can’t look too too different from the last one, but not just like em because I dated the guy looked just like my ex and that was weird, so I didn’t go out with them anyway.

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S15: But yeah. So we’ll we’ll get to follow that journey.

S22: But in addition I guess to resolving to finding perfect love and preparing to have another baby in a few years. This year, as far as my parenting resolutions go, I really want to increase the quality of the time that I spend with my daughter. And again, like Dan’s book really got me thinking about that.

S20: I have always included Nyima in parts of my life that weren’t necessarily designed for children. And part of that was wanting to have more time with her. I’m a career mom, not a working mom. There’s a difference. And that’s not to disparage, you know, folks that are clocking in to a job. They’re pretty dispassionate about clocking out and not having to take work home or think about it, you know. But there is a difference, right? There’s a difference in how work impacts your life when you’re working in media and working in a capacity where you’re, you know, invested.

S15: Right. Like you care for much of my career. You know, during name is life.

S18: I had to follow the news cycle. I had to be prepared to file something or edit something at the drop of a hat. You know, it didn’t just go away because we were off the clock. You know, she’s had to deal with me having my phone out and reading emails and responding to things. Right?

S9: Totally. Both me and the kid’s mom are in media stuff. I always think of it like the upside is we get to have interesting jobs that we find engaging and interesting. And the downside is that any time there could be something that like you just have to jump on it. And that’s the way it goes.

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S20: Yeah, absolutely. And so I’ve made some changes in my life where I’m no longer required to jump in that way. That’s good. Yeah, but I mean, there was also a great sacrifice. Like, I don’t have a 9 to 5 anymore, so I don’t have, you know, some of that pay a whole lot more money for health insurance than the rest of do. But it has improved my quality of life in certain ways, but it also requires me to still work quite a bit. So when you’re freelancing and when you’re working for multiple clients and projects, as she still has to see me with the phone out, you know, she still has to come sit with me in a coffee shop in color while I’m writing an article or coming with me on a work trip where it’s like gay, there’s a plane and we’re going. So places like, oh, I get there’s going to be kind of boring. Lambis working, you know, and like even with that, I think it’s great that she’s watched me, you know, and her dad and that mom like have cool jobs that we care about, you know, and that she’s got to come to work with us. Nyima came to work with me at Ebony magazine for like the first two months of her life. She’s. That next to my desk, I came back from maternity leave. I did like six or eight weeks off and then she sat next to me for the next two months. She’s been on the podcast. Everywhere I’ve worked, she’s been there, you know. And that’s been great. But when I think about just the quantity of really quality time that we have together each week, you know, like what are we doing? It’s just about us. It’s not, you know, taking her to a class or, you know, me working and her just being present and trying to be quiet or us just in the house trying to, you know, eat something really quickly and go to bed so she can get up for school the next morning. And I’ll admit that my desire to have constant time with her has led me to be somewhat lax with taking days off from school. You know, like every so often, like what average is kindergarten? It’s just pre-K, just first grade. You know, like cough, cough. All right, cool. You know, just come be with me today. But that’s not a sustainable plan because school is, you know, becoming more rigorous and they have laws and stuff about that.

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S18: So, yeah, I guess what I really want to figure out is like how to maximize the quality of the time that I have with my child, especially with joint custody. You know, like it is cool as it is for me that I get to have time to myself and to work on other things. It also kind of increases the pressure on me, like when she’s there, you know, like they were really taking advantage of this. They were not just two people who happen to be sleep in the same house at the same time or that were just eating a meal together because, you know, we both had to eat, but they were really enjoying each other’s company.

S20: And I also want to be more intentional with my word when I speak to my daughter, which for the most part, you know, I think we as a collective team, as myself, my co parents are doing a pretty good job with discipline. You know, we don’t do physical discipline and we try not to yell. We really do talk to her like she is a person with thoughts and feelings and opinions that matter. You know, not just somebody to chastise or correct, but that we need to hear her perspective and for her to understand her choices and why she’s made them and to be able to articulate them to us, you know. But there are times where, one, I can be long winded, which I’m doing right now.

S18: And two, I think I am so focused on her learning this thing or making this connection. I want her to make that I do forget that this is a 6 year old, you know, and an incredibly articulate and thoughtful and sensitive and funny 6 year old. But a 6 year old, you know, and there are times where I’m just putting too much information there, just too much. So those are my two big goals.

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S6: That second one resonates with me. The fact that like these kids, when you get to know them and you can see how smart they are and how much their minds are just chewing stuff up and how hungry they are to understand stuff. And it’s possible, at least for me to be so sort of drawn in by that that I forget about like, well, and also this is the brain of a kid and it’s different from the brain of an adult. And there’s different sets of stuff that you want to feed.

S26: Absolutely. And they’ll hunger for things that they’re not ready for.

S30: You know, they’re they’re questions they ask. They’re concepts that they raise where it’s like this might be a little bit outside of your weight class.

S17: You know, you really taken the time to figure out, like, what can I give you that you can receive? And sometime, like we talked to her about things that are, you know, oftentimes reserved for older children, you know, or for young adults.

S16: And I’m going to continue to do that.

S17: I think it’s important for her to know certain things about the world she lives in and the community she lives in and the school she goes to and the people that she’s around and her family. But finding ways to do that while just still keeping them light and free, you know, light on their feet as free spirited as possible. And I have a child who is very, very, very free spirited. Also.

S15: Things weigh heavily on her mind, you know.

S20: And I can see that. I went to try to nurture both of those parts of her spirit going into twenty twenty. All right. So listeners, are you making any parenting resolutions for twenty twenty? What are you focusing on as we go into this new decade? Stenness an email to mom and dad at Slate that Khan and perhaps we’ll talk about some of your thoughts on the next show. All right. So this week we have one listener question.

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S16: Dear mom and dad, our four year old daughter is growing out of her neck. My husband is a huge napper and has met at the same time as her over her entire life.

S21: I don’t know why that’s so. I do not met and therefore have naturally started taking point on caregiving duties during this time on weekends that the husband can continue to net. However, on occasions where I’m not around, I believe he should not nap. He thinks if she is next to him on her tablet, that is fine and he can take an hour to nap while he can do what she consumes all of the TV in games. I think this is insane for a few reasons. For example, bad content on the internet can be found.

S22: Or he doesn’t wake up when she walks away and gets into the hijinx or normal jinx, but slips and falls off a step stool. Am I being overprotective or is he being selfish by naming a nap? Find frustrated nearly 40 year old with a 40 year old napping husband and an unsupervised 4 year old.

S15: Can I just say yes and close this year. Thank you so much to all of the married moms who write to us, who write the care and feeding, who come in on the Facebook group, because you all make me feel so much better about my hood.

S27: How dare the world try to make me feel as if I am just struggling, empathetic while you all are raising your husband? We are all in this struggle, all of us together.

S8: United Djamila. If you settle down, you two could have a man who takes a two hour nap every afternoon.

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S19: That’s why I’m waiting until I’m 40. Here’s to get. That’s why it’s taking me a little bit. I’m trying to find one who’s already finished being raised. So I might have to be wife number two or three.

S31: I mean, I think biologically the problem here is that when a kid gets to be like 4, then they start dropping their nap. And when a husband gets to be like 40, then he starts acquiring new naps. You know, I mean, the guy is only going to be mapping more from here on, like I myself have never been a napper. Yeah, I’m now at a point in my life where, like, if I wasn’t in an office doing a job at 4 p.m. every day, I could quite comfortably go and have a nap like my body would be very happy to nap.

S4: I’ve napped on occasion, as I have in this, I guess a year and a half of not working from an office. I. It’s hard to recover, though. That’s the thing. Like when I just want to stay sleep. I don’t Nessa’s. Yeah.

S14: If you don’t do it right it can fuck you up.

S15: 2 hours though. How we feel about this. 2 hours I mean.

S31: OK, so the primary question in terms of like what this mom wants to know is like is a 4 year old safe, unsupervised in the house for 2 hours? And I think when you frame it that way, then the answer is like our culture has given the answer no. Right. That’s the like understood position on that. In our culture, I could imagine in some other cultures it may be that 4 year olds like just wander around the mountainside completely unsupervised for days at a time. In our culture, we say, no, it’s not OK to leave a 4 year old unsupervised for 2 hours. The husband here might say, well, they’re not unsupervised because if like the bookcase crashed down on their head, then that would wake me up and I would get up and go lift the bookcase off of them and carry their bruised and broken bleeding body to the emergency room.

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S11: So great job, husband. But no, you can’t just like take a nap for two hours in the middle of the day when you’re the parent who is supervising your kid. You can’t do that.

S26: I think there is a way. So I am pro now.

S20: I am not somebody who takes naps well, but I appreciate them as an institution. I admire people who can just in the middle today lay down and and get back up refreshed. If I could, I would. My body just doesn’t work that way. My kid wasn’t an apple and I didn’t force it. You know, like when we had stuff to do on the weekends. You know, like she would fall asleep in her stroller and target. But we didn’t do like a lay down naptime. I didn’t keep that with her the way the. A lot of my friends, you know, we like would plan playdates around nap time.

S27: I would take the baby to the casino tonight. You gonna go kick head?

S4: You know, I have them up anywhere, deafen. But I think that it’s fine for your husbands who take a nap. I think that that’s the other issue at hand. Like, is it cool for him to take a nap? And I think that because mom is in a nap or there’s a part of her that is annoyed at how much rest he’s getting and that he’s getting this rest while you’re taking on the duties associated with caring for this child in that two hour window while he’s napping. That, to me is very different than, you know, should he take this nap when I’m not there? And it’s just him and a four year old. No, he should not. And there are times when you have a child and you’re the only adult in the house. It’s not impossible to be asleep while they’re awake. It’s not ideal. You know, when you have a smaller baby who could still be in a crib but couldn’t get out of the crib, who could entertain themselves briefly while you slept? That’s one thing. It again, it’s a difficult dance that had to do it as a single parent. You know, there’s times where I had a fever and I had to lay down and she was at my house, you know, but she was safe in the crib or in a, you know, pack and play kind of thing. Right. And I wasn’t sleep. I was also just laying down and not able to actively engage with her much. A four year old cannot be trusted. You can’t trust a 4 year old while you’re looking at them like they’ve got secret hands. Okay. Like they’re their something or their hands and feet are all, you know, visible to you. But there’s a battery in their mouth. You just can’t trust them that long. And so, dad, you have to figure out something else for the times when your wife isn’t around. But I think that the issue with him napping when mom is there doesn’t speak to what she has to do in that two hours while her husband sleeps.

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S20: It’s what she has to do the rest of the time when he’s awake, because if he’s helping out enough with keeping the room together and, you know, doing the little ones hair brushing your teeth are taking her to the park and all that stuff.

S4: The other, you know, eight to 10 hours of the day that you all might be around each other on a weekend or, you know, depending on which your work schedule is, then him taking that 2 hours off shouldn’t be such a big deal. It sounds to me like you’re maybe doing a little bit more than you should have, too, which is, you know, understandable because you’ve married a man and that he’s getting this big old break right in your face, which is requiring you to do even more. So talk about ways for him to get his chores done before he. He should earn the nap. Then that should not just be your affirmation for being the person who likes naps. It should be. Yes. You’ve done your work.

S14: Yeah, that’s absolutely right. And I think, like the way we have done it in my marriage with different degrees of success is that like we each should get a certain amount of time. That’s our own time to do what we want. This guy wants to use his time to nap. That’s great sometimes. Like if we can work it out, I go to a cafe and read a book for an hour on the weekends and like, that’s great. My wife is more likely to go to the gym during that time and then like I’m on and you’re going to the gym and then you come back and then I’m going to the cafe and then that’s the stuff we’re doing. If you want to use your time for a nap, that’s all fine. Unless if one of us has to go out to do a thing, an errand or an appointment or some work, then the other one is on and you can’t be napping when you’re on. That’s just not OK.

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S20: Yeah. And by the way, he’s probably been doing it longer than you think because the 4 year old is starting to not nap. But if you weren’t there and he was laying a 3 year old down for 2 hours, I don’t know too many 3 year olds. That’s a two hour nap. It’s mostly kids then that age those more, you know, especially if they were in a school setting during the week. It’s more like 45 minutes or an hour. So your kid has been climbing off the walls probably for about a year now while your husband’s been taking his two hour. Yes. I hate to break it to you.

S14: The kid is fine. Maybe that’s an argument in favor of naps.

S15: Hey, did the bookshelf hasn’t fallen down yet?

S11: Yes, it’s worked so far. Mark got to be awake when the kids were. I hope that was helpful. Let us know what your husband says.

S15: Yes. Good luck with that. And find something that you like to do for two hours, just as much as he likes to nap. Make sure that that is also happening, too. So don’t beat up on the way he chooses to spend his time. You can’t beat him up for that. If you haven’t chosen your own time to be indulgent and that is an indulgence and we should treat it as such. So go to the spa for two hours and ask them to pay for listeners.

S30: If you would like for us to skewer your family in the way she sits and laugh.

S32: And I hope that you guys know that it was all in love and all fun. I’m sure everything is just fine.

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S20: Please send us a question to mom and dad at Slate that can and you may hear it on the show before we get out of here. We’re gonna do some recommendations. Gabriel, what do you recommend for us this week?

S11: Well, we had a very nice family holiday, and so we got to consume a whole bunch of like family style culture. I enjoyed. Munchy, the next level I enjoyed spies in disguise, I got really into an IOW game called Marble Oide, which I have introduced the kids to, which is about rolling a marble down like marble madness if you ever played that. That’s pretty fun. But one of the big sort of cultural developments of the past year for me was Leo getting really into Lego and me getting into the first building Lego with him. And then at this point it’s just like I sort of gently supervise while he does the Lego himself because he can put all this stuff together himself. But as a result of that, I have developed quite firm and strong opinions about the merits of different Lego sets. I remember when it was we built two in a row and one of them was this Ninjago temple and it was really or Nathan had all these great details and structural stuff and it was really cool. And then the next one he wanted to do was a plane from a Spider-Man movie. And it was just like a big white block and all of the brass were grey. And you’re just like putting grey bricks on top of each other. And just the difference in the aesthetic experience building these two different Lego sets was so intense that I realized, oh, well, there’s probably a whole culture of people on the Internet who like review different Lego sets and talk about like the complexity of the build and the detailing and stuff like that. And I assume there are. I haven’t wanted to go on the Internet and look at them because who cares what they think. But I have formed my own opinions about them and we did one over the past week.

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S9: That was a Harry Potter set of the whomping willow, the tree from the Harry Potter books where it like smashes the car and you build the car and then you build the tree and then you put the tree in the car so that the tree smashes the car. And you can have Harry and Ron like hanging out of the car with their wands and stuff. It was really fun. So I recommend the Harry Potter whomping Willow Lego set.

S15: Oh, very nice. I feel so bad because I. But Nyima do clothes.

S4: I don’t think I really graduated to Legos. I don’t think I have a strong interest in them as a kid. I had do clothes. I kept them in a red bunny. It was a storage bunny. It was made by Duplo and it’s called a storage bunny.

S20: And my father found that to be the funniest thing he’d ever heard in his life. So whenever he dies, they like what’s that called, like the storage bunny. And he just let to this day, if I call him and say storage money, he’ll cry laughing. I even found the same storage bunny that I owned as a child online and bought one for Nyima as a kid and thought, OK, we’re going to do duplex, maybe we’ll do Legos. And then I stepped on a Lego and that is really all it took.

S7: That’s all. It’s brutal.

S20: They are on the banned list in my house along with Played on slime. So I really am a very impressive millennial mother, but a progressive millennial mother. So speaking of my recommendation, I got Nyima this year among her Christmas presents a creative all world deluxe character kit. So the creative BL World Doll is kind of awkward.

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S17: Name is a gender nonconforming doll that we’re short hair, comes with a wig, has a wardrobe of clothes that allow this child to, you know, express their creativity. And, you know, they’re fluid gender expression. And so Nyima got to know a former colleague of mine who’s gender nonconforming this year. And I think that was a really great experience. And I’m glad that we’re having these conversations about gender and identity now so that she’s not the kid who’s doing harm to a classmate because no one’s talked to her about certain things or, you know, and that’s not just about gender non-conformity, of course, but that we talked to her a lot about LGBTQ identity and how important it is that she’s the kid at school who shows up for the other kids, you know. So whether it’s the boy who wears nail polish or the girl who, you know, is superintend tomboyish thing that like you do not let anybody feel like it’s okay to make your classmates feel bad because the things that they like may not be as common among their peers as other things. And so this doll is so cool. And I was a little nervous about how she would react to it because my EMA is high fat. She has her moments. She’s in a sport. She’s really into WNBA and NBA. You know, she can be rough and tumble and but she’s Supergirl. You know, when especially when it comes to those dolls, everybody is going to wear a ball gown and makeup and stuff. And so this doll doesn’t exactly present that. And she was just so happy. And she gave them a name that I can’t remember.

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S33: She’s integrated them into her other doll collection. And it was really cool and a very adorable doll. That actually reminds me a lot of Gabrielle Union and Dwayne Wade’s child who is I’m not sure. I’ve heard them use both pronouns toward this little person. So I don’t want to miss gender them, but they are adorable and the doll looks just like them. So check it out. The Creative World Doll. There seems to be a lot of them still available. I don’t think there was heavy marketing campaign around them. I think Mattel was kind of bracing for a backlash if they didn’t get the dolls. Really sweet. This is made by Mattel. It’s made by Mattel. It’s made by Battelle.

S34: That’s cool. Yeah. That’s that’s cool that Mattel is making that awesome. That sounds great. It’s super cool.

S32: They’ve come a long way with the Barbie line, too. I will admit that I’m a guilty Barbie loving feminist, but that they have, you know, incorporated different complexions and body types then, you know, looks and hair colors and heights. Then, you know, there’s a Barbie in a wheelchair.

S35: And you know that they are attempting to modernize this brand that sold so many of us deeply unrealistic fantasies of womanhood for so very long. I think they’ve even embraced the queerness of kin, which is a great because.

S19: Come on, come on. And so, yeah, it’s a cool doll.

S32: So happy to have given Mattel a little bit more money this holiday season, as I often do.

S36: So that’s it for this week’s episode of Mom and Dad Are Fighting. Gabe, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you for having me. It’s fun. Lots of fun. Dan, feel better. We hope to see you again soon.

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S37: And if you have a question that you’d like to hear on the air, please leave us a message at 4 2 4 2 5 5 7 8 3 3 or shoot us an email at mom and dad at Slate.com and join us on Facebook by searching for slaked parenting. Mom and dad or finding is produced by Rosemary Bellson for Gabriel Roth and Jamilah Lemieux.

S38: Paisley Plus listeners. So we’re already in kind of a reflective mood today with it being the beginning of a new year. So why not look back on who we thought we would be as parents and compare that to the parents that we’ve actually become? Is this something that other people think about? This is something I think about a lot. You know, just kind of like the child as a teenager, as a younger adult.

S22: There was this idea of like who I would be as a mom or what it meant to be a mom or dad. Right. Like what parents are supposed to look like or dress like or talk like. And then there’s who I am today. And so for me, I’ll kick things off. Gay, real.

S15: My mom had me at 36, so I’ll be thirty six this year in my head like that.

S20: AJ Lee has always been like real grownups. Right. Thirty five year old. I think that’s when you’re like a grown up grown up.

S30: You know, like I didn’t have that thirty anxiety the way a lot of people did, partially because already had a child to have a dark twenty. But like, I don’t know. That was the point where you’re just like a grown up and that you were supposed to be so mature and in some ways disconnected from pop culture. Now, I’m not saying this is what I thought that I would do, but this is why equated with parenthood, right? Like that, you weren’t cool anymore. You know that the way that you dress wasn’t terribly cool and the music that you listen to wasn’t terribly cool.

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S33: And the things that you did weren’t terribly cool. And you didn’t spend a lot of time with your friends. You just kind of worked and child reared and that was it. And that’s what I saw, you know, and a lot of ways from my mother in particular.

S32: And looking back, she was one a lot cooler than I gave her credit for.

S39: You know, like she didn’t look matronly. She was still stylish. And, you know, like has always had a strong sense of personal style and still does. She was definitely not a pop culture girl. She the whole hip hop thing. Penn, no resonance with her. My mother’s a boomer. So like she was in her mid-thirties, which was in her mid 30s in the late 80s. You know, like so just all this, the youth culture, those exploding around her just didn’t land for her.

S26: And I never wanted to be that. I was very clear that I just moved a little bit differently in the world. And, you know, Gen Xers and Millennials, there’s so much more that we seem to have in common with one another. Despite some of the disparaging comments Xers make about us millennials like you did in the last hour. But like relative to that gap between boomers and X-ers, like, yeah, I’m I get on their nerves. Majella, no boomers.

S6: I’m glad you I’m glad you agree. I think that as well. And I think it’s crucial that we maintain the alliance between our generations against our common enemy who are taking this planet down a very dark path.

S35: That is very true. I think that is very important.

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S34: And as much as we can pull you all away from the dark side and. Yes, aging, right? I think that’s right. I think if Gen X has a historical role, it’s to be the pivot that swings towards the millennials and away from the boomers. That’s the way in which we can fulfill our historic destiny.

S35: Yes, exactly. I’m sure there’s a really great Marvel Comics like reference that somebody could make there that I can’t think of because I’m not deeply ensconced in the Marvel universe like that. But I feel like there’s some example of some superhero who kind of like, I don’t know, like maybe dies by thē nose, his hands or something or like just kind of doesn’t make it to the end. But because of their efforts, then young whippersnapper behind them gets the glory.

S34: So that I bet it’s a Star Wars thing. I don’t know anything about Star Wars, but this feels for a Star Wars that sounds like our word.

S6: Are we gonna embrace the dark side? No, we’re gonna use the force for good, but then we’re gonna die. And then you guys are going to go do the real stuff.

S26: There it is. I’ve never seen Star Wars either, but I’m like 90 percent sure that’s how it went. Yeah, I think so. That’s the. All franchised total. But you don’t know, like, I just. I thought I would be less my cell.

S35: I guess that’s kind of like the big difference between like the parent I thought I’d be versus like the parent I am. Like I thought I was gonna be really responsible and really organized.

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S20: I never thought I could be lame or corny, but like, it seems like you’re supposed to just find you at some point anyway, you know, like but that I would always be mature and not like in sense of being responsible enough to pay my bills on time like I do that.

S26: But I mean like having them. Sure. Response to any number of things to you drink not being made on time at Starbucks and you know, and like not saying that I’m having temper tantrums, I’m an adult, but like entirely I’m still annoyed by certain things.

S20: Right. It’s triggered by certain things are selfish in certain ways. They’re like, no, we’re not going to the restaurant. My 6 year old wants to go. So we’re gonna go where I want to eat because that’s you know, that’s what I want to do. And so we’re gonna do it.

S15: And like, I think I’m doing pretty OK at parenting. I wouldn’t say it. I’m not doing well. But like, I just I can’t believe I’m still so much the person I was at fifteen or twenty five or thirty. You know, I don’t like to be like super grown up by now and I’m not. What about you?

S14: So I completely share with you the experience of like, oh I kind of thought having children was going to actually make me a better, more generous, more responsible, more self ab negating, more self-sacrificing person. And it doesn’t at all. It forces you to do various tasks and activities that are self negating. But it doesn’t make you like that or feel okay about it. It makes you have to do them and be very frustrated that you have to do them. Yeah. So that has been a surprise for me and I never identified that frustration in my own parents. And so maybe they were just better people than me. Or maybe they were like better at hiding it than me. Or maybe I’m hiding it from my kids cause kids maybe don’t know how to read what’s going on with Grown-Ups. And they don’t understand that I’m like super mad that I have to take Leo to see spies in disguise when everybody else gets to go see little women.

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S31: Fuck, I want to see little women instead. I’m watching some stupid cartoon with Will Smith as a James Bond. It turns into a pigeon. What the fuck?

S27: But take it a little woman I.

S14: That’s what her mom and her aunt and her her step grandmother and her all went to see little women like through a combination of like the age and gender breakdown of my children. I end up not getting to see little women, and it’s very annoying. In any case, yes, I thought I wouldn’t be frustrated by stuff like that’s only a movie. Gabe, what about the magic parenthood? No, Fuck You I Want is by Greta Gerwig and A.O. Scott wrote this great review of my I want to go see it. I’m not the stupid cartoon. In any case. So I thought that would be easier than it is. The self-sacrifice stuff is always still annoying and frustrating, but you have to do it anyway.

S8: On the other hand, I also have slightly the opposite experience, which is like I sort of thought I’m going to be not a cool parent in the sense of like really laid back and doesn’t care if the kids are driving around drunk or anything, because I always knew I would be like concerned and safety conscious and stuff like that. But I felt I would be a cool parent in the sense of like, OK, physically, I’m 46, but internally I’m still 23. Yeah, it’s how I thought it would be. It’s not like that internally. I’m also 46, it turns out, and sort of recognizing that about myself that like one actually does age and it actually does change you. And that nothing ages you like having kids, like having that first kid is like fucking stepping on the roller coaster of age. And just like Warsh now you’re off, man. And it’s been like nine years since I had that first kid. And wow, if you look down, that is a lot of age that I’ve racked up in that time. That part of it has been a surprise to me. I don’t know if this really gets at the question of like what kind of parent did I expect to be? But it’s certainly an aspect of the experience of parenting that has surprised me.

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S32: Definitely. I’ve always been an old soul of sorts. You know, that’s one thing people said about me since I was a child.

S17: And I feel that then maybe there’s an emotional maturity or, you know, like being deeply empathetic, which is very important when you have kids, you know, and being around other people’s kids.

S22: And so that may be where the old soul shutt stuff shows that. But there is a part of me that still 23 on the inside. And I don’t know, maybe this is a difference between the decades and like if we had this conversation in 10 years for the big mom and dad or fighting reunion show, I could play. Okay. I get it. I’m 45 inside now, but I’m not there yet. You know, I don’t feel quite 35 inside yet either. But with that, I do think of myself as being a fun, cool parent, not in the lax sort of way, but like I’ve noticed the way that her friends react to me.

S32: I mean, you had just dress weird and that’s just fun for the kids or whatever. But her you know, my diasporans is Ted, your mom’s really cool. You know, she seems so cool and interested. But what I do have that I didn’t think I would have is my mother’s unreasonable sense of fear about safety. And I should have no, I should have known. You know, like. And not just state, just like the way that my mom cares for me and has cared for me is. So it’s just about protecting me from the world. Period. You know, so all the times that it was going to get slightly chilly and I had on two outfits, you know, and it was at school sweating or like trying to take off the tights. I didn’t need to wear did the jeans that she swore I needed to wear them under my jeans, you know. Or carrying the heavy umbrella because it maybe was going to rain and nobody else had an umbrella and rain boots on. But I wasn’t going to get wet that I’ve become that, too, in so many ways.

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S35: You know, like I tried to convince my daughter that she was allergic to bicycle’s because I didn’t want her to ever ride because you were scared she would fall off the bike and hurt herself.

S32: That’s low. That’s light. Like we can deal with that. And I’m getting hit by a car, you know, like just riding off into traffic. And she got a bike from Christmas. Not at my house. I would never. And I got the video of her writing her first little, you know, bike miss training wheels on it. And I’m just like, this is a nightmare. This is the worst thing that’s ever happened to a family. How could they feel so betrayed? How could you do this to me? You know, and that’s completely unreasonable. Because bikes are a thing that kids ride like most people ride bikes. I don’t. But some of you like to play fast and loose with your lives like that. And I don’t want her to do that. You know, and so now I’m thinking like, man, I’ve prided myself on being so cool and so hip and so like, you can talk to me about anything you like a boy. We could talk about the boy. Like one day she’s going to ask me to go somewhere by herself and all this to say that my new plan, my new approach to parenting is I have to become wealthy because I want my child to have a bodyguard.

S40: Well, good luck. Thank you.

S4: That’s the most sincere thing I’ve ever seen on the show. I thought that was not a pause for commuting. I spent a lot of time thinking about like, how is she? How’s that going to work? She’s gonna sneak off this most week. I’m at home. It’s OK if she’s most weak. You’ll have to tell me that. Just don’t let her, you know, get in any danger. But as long as her bodyguard is there, she can smoke a little weed.

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S9: When she’s 16, it’s going to be like Zoe’s always bodyguard on the West Wing. Martin Sheen, the president’s daughter, goes to college and has like an FBI agent with her the whole time. An FBI agent has to be like chill and blend in with the college kids. And anyway, I’m not going to go on about the West Wing. But do you remember your mom being super overprotective with you and do you remember how that felt to you as a kid?

S32: Yeah, it sucked. But deep down, I knew she was right. boem all occurred elsewhere. I always knew buying a few examples. You know, like there were times I wanted to go to a party with some older kids and she said no. Or, you know, when she tried to make me wear tights and in my pants, I knew that that was not necessary. But let me say the difference. My mom had the money, so if she had bodyguard money, then things would’ve been a lot different because she could’ve been like, OK, cool. Do what you want. Whatever. And then the bodyguard would be responsible is basically just having a parent who’s there. But they’re not your parent. And so be yourself around Julius or whomever, you know, like. Just be cool.

S19: Maybe a bodyguard that turns me on. Actually, Beyonce’s. So in case you want a job with a little bit less stress, Julius, I know that to be a little tiring, all the pop rad scenes that have to worry about the paparazzi guarding my child. Oh, you got to keep her from getting hit by getting him back on her bike. Lily is right next to look like.

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S40: All right.

S25: See you. All right. Well, I wasn’t expecting this segment to go here. Thank you for that.

S30: Yes. No, I mean, to your point. Yes. I on some level, I felt, you know, frustrated and not trusted because of, you know, her her behaving that way. And on another level, I knew that I was as irresponsible as she thought I was, you know, like I did. Like I. When you started making mistakes, when you started doing this stuff, you get away with it. Your parents don’t know about you now. You’re like, oh, well, she actually has a point. I am pretty much left to my own devices are somewhat ridiculous person.

S14: I mean, that’s the thing, right, is you have the kid and then suddenly, like the rest of your life, is entirely hostage to the safety of this other person. Like if something bad happens to this other person, you are fucked. Like just nothing is ever OK for you again. That part is a lot.

S39: And I don’t think kids understand that. Like, how can you not use your success matters to me. And they do well in school matters to me, and that that’s a reflection of me. But then like chair a person who lives outside of me, who I have limited control over your decision making and the things that happen to you. But what happens to you is the greatest, not just reflection of me, but just how it impacts my life. You know, more than anything else, I don’t think that really fits in to my resolution of talking to my child in kid-friendly language.

S30: So basically, Nyima, my entire existence at this point is about keeping you alive. You know, like I don’t know that she can receive that now, but I mean, she already feels it regardless.

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S6: Right.

S15: Yeah, she does.

S30: She did. So, you know, hopefully she’s just now worked really hard staying alive. So she got.

S7: Let’s hope. Yeah. Well, out of love for you.

S30: Thank you. Yes. I wish that for you and your children as well. And may 20/20 bring us all the success and prosperity so that we can hire security for our children going in. It’s when anyone or at least by 2024, 2025.

S19: I’m definitely going to have the other one.

S6: Nice. Well, so my my wish for you is that in twenty twenty one you find the tall boyfriend who looks similar to but not exactly like name his father, that in 2022 you have a second kid, in 2023 you become very wealthy and then in 2024 you’re able to hire away a bodyguard from a famous R&B star to protect your children. So good luck with that.

S35: Thank you. No one has ever summed up my hopes and dreams as well as you have. So I appreciate you for listening that closely during our show this week.

S17: And that’s it for this week’s edition of Mom and Dad Are Fighting. Slate.

S39: Plus, you’ve got to listen to her rambling and delusions of grandeur and irrational fears about parenting. And I hope you enjoyed it.

S30: So thank you, Gabe. We’re coming back. You’re always welcome.

S6: Hey, thanks for having me. No, thanks. Slate plus.