Day 340: Going Native

Lindsay and I barely have any time to talk, much less explain ourselves to each other, so when I heard her upstairs singing the Strawberry Shortcake song, I just yelled, “No!” and she replied with a cheery, “Sorry!” and we went about our business. She wasn’t offended, and I didn’t feel the need to compliment her singing in spite of her choice of material. There was no time to say, “Babe, love your voice, but I can’t hear the goddamn Strawberry Shortcake song again.” I only had the energy to yell, “NO!” as if someone had asked if I liked bleu cheese salad dressing, or the cat was trying to eat my burrito.

Lindsay is completely immersed in kid culture. She’s even started dressing like a child – not a toddler – more like Pippi Longstocking or Punky Brewster. Yesterday she had on a purple hoodie and orange jeans tucked In to long colorful flowery socks. She’s also been wearing short pigtails, eating children’s food, and on numerous occasions I’ve spotted her taking long drinks from one of the kids’ sippy cups.

There’s a term in anthropological research called “going native,” and it’s used to describe a situation where a researcher comes to identify so much with his or her subjects that she gives up her “real” life to live amongst the people she’s been studying.

I’m worried my wife is going native. For the last few nights, Arlo hasn’t gone to bed until past 10:30, thereby preventing us from having any adult time. We woke up with him and went to bed with him. In between, while I was working, she sang songs, read board books, made play dough pizzas, and said, “Really great jumping!” four-hundred times. Without small doses of grown-up reality, I fear she may embrace the culture of our children a bit too much, and lose her already tenuous grip on womanhood. When she has time to herself during the afternoon, she’s frantically organizing our extensive online catalog of family photos like a manic CIA agent desperate to prove a far-fetched theory.

Thankfully, my parents are coming today for 3 weeks which should help relieve some of the potion making, pillow fort building, and fake leaf raking duties, allowing us to concentrate on her re-entry into adult culture. I suspect it might take a few days; she’s coming off a long boat trip to toddler island and will require some time in isolation to shake her sea legs. The first step will be tonight, as I’m sure my father will cook a meal suitable for humans over the age of 11. Tomorrow, I will force her to go hunting and then to a death metal show in the evening. Life is about balance, and it’s my responsibility to load up the other side of the scale for a few days before both of us start wearing velcro shoes.

I'm a contributing writer to Parents Magazine, GQ, Psychology Today and some others. My book, "This is Ridiculous. This is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists" is available here Look for two more books in 2015: "Must. Push. Buttons (Bloomsbury Kids), and an as-of-yet untitled memoir I’ve appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “Nick Mom’s Night Out." I live in New Jersey with my wife and two sons and enjoy making them laugh more than anyone else.

27 comments On Day 340: Going Native

  • Thanks for this! Not only did I have a good laugh, but I remembered this months after originally reading it and am going to include it in my Anthropology field research paper on Motherhood. If that's ok with you?

  • When you start doing raspberries on each other's bellies, there may be no going back until the kids go to college ;)

  • I thought what I was wearing was fine until my husband said, "It seems like alot of your clothes look like pajamas lately." I guess mothers of toddlers don't realize they are going native until someone is brutally honest…. BUT I have caught him singing from Dora and Diego, and that shit has got to stop.

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