“Talk to the side of my head.”

June 3, 2016

Notable Stats

Scan Radius Coverage Area (SRCA) – The range of your ability as a parent to scope out the surrounding area to find your children. With each child, this increases by ten miles with the naked eye.
Rudeness Unawareness Time (RUT) – The time it takes for a parent to realize they are not making eye contact with you because he or she is in a public place with his/her children. Once they realize they were being rude, they continue to stare ahead.

In our culture, we teach eye contact. It is a sign of respect, a sign of confidence, a sign of attentiveness. I get that. From what I gather from my children, it also is kind of a natural skill. My son is amazing at it for a 7-year-old. Then again, he thinks he will invent a new planet by 2018. Kid believes in his ability, but that is for another blog. 
However, I must push back on the expectation of eye contact and I also must apologize. If I am in charge of any or all of my kids, there is a good chance you will be talking to the side of my head. I will wear shades if it makes you feel better.
Although I am not into helicopter parenting at all, I am into telescopic parenting. I will survey the area sixteen times an hour to make sure they are all there. Interestingly enough, this is not so much because I have some visceral fear of their disappearing. That is a part of it; it is about the dynamic between our children.
If you are talking to me at a kid-friendly event, then odds are you have a child with you. That child is highly likely to get swept up in the tornado of environmental cluelessness that engulf my son and eldest daughter. They may trample your child if I do not call my son’s name once every 3 minutes. I ignore you for your child’s safety.
I have seen it happen too many times to not learn a magnetic stare, which I plan to patent. I have found a way to stare so hard at my sprinting-in-no-particular-direction-while-looking-backwards child, that it sends a pulse of gravity in their area to first swivel their head around then freeze them in a gravity lock right where they stand.
Of course, this is what I wish to be true, given it all went out the window when on one occasion when we went to the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. My dream power failed. A bunch of kids were running around recklessly in the front area. It is a mix of sidewalk and grass. We warned our children to look where they were going, to pay attention, which is like telling a muskrat to sharpen a pencil before solving an equation for electrical energy transfer.
On this day, we did not get lucky, which we must admit as parents, is a big part of safety. Our daughter ran full speed into some poor child who was admiring the landscape. The hit rivaled a linebacker for the Chicago Bears. Blindsided and flattened to the ground. Yes, it is our fault as parents. We apologized as best we could which, as the parent of that child, I would have accepted while wondering why that family was so clueless. And this, by the way, happened while we were paying attention and warning them to stop running around. 
So hence the telescopic parenting, the stare, the stalking, the passive listening to still be social with other party goers. I think I have gotten it down pretty well to where every so often I turn and smile at the person I am talking to whose name I have already forgotten. I do genuinely enjoy the conversation, I may even exchange cell phone numbers while holding the hands of my children. 
Please do not take it personally, I hope we can chat later over lunch when I am down to at least one child. I am listening. I am enjoying the conversation, but there is a chance that if I saw you five minutes later in the check out line, I will not know your name at all and as I already explained, I have no idea what you look like. 
Just accept this for what it really is about. My kids have run over children even under strict guidance. My son has run face first into a pillar the size of a redwood tree that he “did not see”, our daughter has jumped into a hammock in full diving position that was over a brick surface, our son has hit a rubber baseball right in the direction of a crowd of kids because he was sure he would miss everyone, our daughter deemed it a good idea to roll a scooter at her brother who was riding rollerblades at one-third the speed of light, our eldest pair of kids have repeatedly attempted to cross major intersections only looking at each other in a game of tag, our son has run a little girl off of the road because she was going to win a race she did not know she was in. 
In summary, optimistically, we are victims of raising potential athletes in bulk. Pessimistically, we are raising uncoordinated dangers to society. So bear with me, give us time to figure out which path we are on and, in the meantime, hope your child is not in the way. Sorry. 
- Doug Glanville


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