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My ESPN Guide to Parenting

Assign Numbers To Each Child. Their 'lucky number' may come in more useful than you think, especially in moments of indecisiveness. In our case, Bean has claimed 5, while Buddy has claimed 6. This is directly related to their pull-up sizes, which in essence kills two birds with one stone, since they now have pre-printed uniforms.

Draft Picks Are The Fairest Method. Draft picks are the best way to placate arguments over multiple toys. For kids, it seems like a game in itself, and they spend half the time alternating between being giddy about their turn, and being anxious about their sibling choosing something that they want. As soon as we yell, "Draft picks!" the twins get abnormally excited.

Coin Toss (aka Eeny Meeny Miney Mo). Helpful in getting draft picks started.

Offsides. When Mom or Dad is cooking, all kids need to stand several feet from the stove. Or, when Mom or Dad is using the bathroom, it is unnecessary to get so close and doing so is considered an offside offense.

Refereeing. I am this. close. to buying a whistle and carrying around a yellow flag. It's quite clear that parenting is all about refereeing and in the words of Forrest Gump, "That's all I have to say about that."

Redshirting. (not to be confused with academic redshirting). Although in theory it is easy to tell yourself not to compare your infants with other, over-achieving infants — it is not always easy to carry out this theory. Thus, redshirting comes in handy for parents of premature babies, who can reassure themselves that (for example) since their kids were four weeks premature, they have four weeks to catch up to the rest of those over-achievers. Not that I ever did that. I'm just saying.

Pre-Game Locker Room Speech. Before we leave the house, it is inevitable that we provide a spirited and motivating speech about how we are to behave in public and the kind of attitude and performance that is expected of us. We show the kids we have confidence in their cooperative and appropriate behavior, and then run out the door shouting, "Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose!"

There's Always Time For Tailgating. Uh, no-brainer. Ours is usually post-game and parked in front of the TV, but those are just logistics.

Get Rich Off Endorsements. This is one guideline we can't seem to follow. Now why aren't we paid for all the Dora/Mickey/Thomas paraphernalia that the kids play with/wear/are exposed to lead from...?

Sabotage The Opposing Coach, Then Play Dumb. Sometimes one cannot bear to change one more diaper. So one may pretend to not know about a dirty diaper because any minute now, the opposing coach will be arriving home from work. Uh… not that I ever did that either.

Spot Fake Injuries. As a good referee, you need to be able to spot these acts of fakery and trickery. Sometimes, we are conned by the wails of, "Mom! Buddy kicked me!" When we throw up the red card and Bean suddenly loses her limp, we know we have been duped.

When Their 18-Year Contract Is Up, Release Them to Free Agent Status. When they're adults...c'mon people. It's time to let go.

Remember Your Role as Glorified Caddy. We locate the hazards and we hold their bags for them. We guide their choices, and we suggest how and what to use to get to their goals. We follow behind, observing quietly and (hopefully) unobtrusively. And we do it all not only because it's our job, but also because we want to see them excel, do their best...and become the next Tiger Woods. No, I'm not talking about his success, but have you seen how much that kid loves and respects his parents? Earl and Kultida did something right.

References: napping on the couch with ESPN playing, attending sporting events (i.e. tailgating), and of course, G.


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