…they howl, they cry, they pout and throw themselves on the floor and kick you in the shins and scream that they never, ever, ever get to have ANYTHING good or fun or new.
So you do what any responsible parent would do. You sit them in front of the stereo, turn down the lights and make them listen to Trent Reznor emoting about something he can never have. You sing along, making sure to pantomime your heart breaking. You make it resonate. When the final, heartbreaking notes of the song fade out, you tell them, If you think it hurts to not be able to get your damn sugar coated chocolate filled breakfast treat, just wait until that hot chick who has been teasing you in math class for three months tells you she’s a lesbian.
When you put the kids to bed that night, you eschew the lullabies and put Stabbing Westward’s Wither, Blister, Burn and Peel on repeat in their Winnie the Pooh CD players.
The next day, when you realize you’ve used the last of your 40 pack of paper towels and you make a panic run to Costco, you take them with you. You purposely take them down the toy aisle to see if they learned anything. There’s rows of brightly colored packages; board games, mechanical toys, whirring lights and beeping robots and stacks of pink boxes stuffed with busty blonde dolls. You look at your kids and you can see their hands twitch involuntarily. But they keep walking. They don’t reach for a box or try to play with the electronic drum set on display.
You can’t help but test them a little bit.
“Hey look, Johnny. It’s that new gizmo you wanted!”
“Eh. Why bother asking for it? It would only end up disappointing me later, anyhow.”
You try to hide your proud smile. And when your daughter sullenly walks past the rows of Barbies, kicks one of the boxes and mutters bitch under her breath, you quietly pump your fist and thank Trent Reznor for his words of parenting wisdom.