What they don’t tell you

When you get your license to reproduce, there is a manual that comes along in the post after your first positive pregnancy test/after you sign the first adoption papers, and that manual tells you everything you need to know about raising a brood, from a brood of one to a brood of…oh, I dunno…twenty or more. The manual is now available in digital format, which makes the constant updates much easier to handle (back in the day, I’ve heard, parents and guardians would fill an entire room with the print updates of the ubiquitous Care and Feeding of Your Brood, editions 225 through 1844 inclusive). It’s a very handy thing to have – mine is stored on three old hard drives and a Tandy Colour Computer. Unfortunately, when you sign the contract to receive the tome, you also sign a kind of nondisclosure agreement in which you cannot actually reproduce passages from the Tome without written consent from the publishers who, much like the publishers of the Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy, are notoriously impossible to contact.

It covers everything from the profuse hair you grow during pregnancy and some of the difficulties you ought to expect when launching enquiries into international adoption, to how to spot when your child is being elusive about grades or generalised naughtiness. I’ve heard tell from others that later supplements also cover how to speak to your child about the sort of retirement home you expect to be packaged into and the logic behind spending your brood’s inheritance while you’re still alive. I’m actually looking forward to Supplement 427 – How To Handle Finding Birth Control In Your Brood’s Possession.

When you provide adequate proof that you are caring for your brood well and are raising them up to be productive members of society, taking responsibility for their actions and so forth, the supplements are provided to you free of charge. Until that point, you must pay an annual stipend for their production. It’s one of those…whattayacallem…incentive programs.

Now that His Nibs and I are through Your Brood And You: The First Ten Years with all the additional supplements, we figured we’d been through much of what can be expected from the Gender/Gender Identity: Male expansions. But, we came across something this weekend that we hadn’t seen. Apparently there is a small pamphlet you can get that comes between The Terrible Two-Months/Ten-Months/Twelve-Months/Two-Years/Turning Fours and So, You Have A Six-Year-Old supplements. It’s only available upon special request, which is why it’s often missed in the public releases of other versions of the manual.

It’s called Chicken Soup All Over the Goddamned Bathroom, and it deals primarily with how to deal with the following shituation: You are at a friend’s still-shiny, newly-purchased house and your Brood rips the towel rack off the wall just as you’re leaving to return to your own home. Of course, the thin pamphlet did *no good at all* when Yours Truly found herself in just this shituation, because Yours Truly didn’t even find out about the pamphlet until she returned home and discovered buried in the index, the title and subject matter of this pamphlet (now available as a downloadable PDF).

Yours Truly feels EFFING AWFUL that her Brood did such a thing, and while she did offer to pay for a new towel rack, she realises now she ought to have offered to do the work, with the Brood, to fix what the little buggers had destroyed. DestrucTOR and InstigaTOR felt pretty bad about the whole thing too, but didn’t know at all What To Do About It. And here’s the thing: Yours Truly has had other Broods at her own home who have Busted Stuff (Case In Point: the doorknob which has had to be replaced but which has never worked since Brood urchins hung off of it a few years ago), and Yours Truly hasn’t felt the Urge To Kill: Rising. But that’s probably partly because Yours Truly has a Brood. That she *wants*. And therefore also realised at an early stage that having Nice Things could wait until the rambunctious years had kind of dwindled.

And of course, by way of making excuses (it is a parental right, don’t you know), for the most part, it’s not like Yours Truly’s Brood runs amok with hockey sticks and napalm. At least, not in other peoples’ homes. Usually. Those are Outside Toys.

Yes, it was an accident. DestrucTOR didn’t realise that the towel rack would come tumbling from the wall if he tugged too hard on the towels. Or, as InstigaTOR described it “swung on the towel rack”. I don’t *think* that DestrucTOR plotted his revenge on the towel rack. But what are you really supposed to *do*?

The pamphlet recommends immediately returning home and ripping the towel rack from your own bathroom wall so that, at the very least, you can understand what your hosts have to go through because of your Brood. There is also the suggestion that having the Brood run around the yard madly flailing the offending towel rack at inanimate objects could be a vehicle of catharsis. I don’t think that will make reparations to our hosts in any way, however there is an addendum that it’s also acceptable to provide our hosts with copious amounts of baking, and other offerings.

(This entire shituation was made worse by the fact that Yours Truly had a really really really really really really really really really good visit with Mmmmmmmrilla and The Captain and The Nipper had *such a good time* with Pokey that for the first hour of the car ride home, that we all sat sullenly in the car, mulling over the Very Real Possibility that we would not be invited back.)

cenobyte
cenobyte is a writer, editor, blogger, and super genius from Saskatchewan, Canada.

3 Comments

  1. Ceno, I refer you back to page one, paragraph one, of issue one. The heading is “Shite happens”. Read the section on saying “AW Damn, I’m sorry” and then remember that the hosts also have a brood, and have also read the manual.

    Unless of course, said hosts have the rare Brood 2.0, which did not come equipped with the Disastrous Consequences behaviour chip. I have heard that some parents got this model – though I have never seen one in action.

    1. Actually, the hosts in this case do not have a Brood. Unless you count the Cats, which are, it’s true, very lovey and snurgly, but they don’t tend to destroy the house. That’s why page one, paragraph one of the first issue didn’t *exactly* apply. And you know how it’s so awesome to have a rule for absolutely every possible consequence in the universe? I knew it’d be there *somewhere*; I just couldn’t find it.

i make squee noises when you tell me stuff.

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