Monday, June 11, 2012

Parenting With Cryostasis.


We all know I'm pretty new to this parenting thing. We've had our children for just a bit over a year now, and I'm constantly reminded (particularly by my mother) that there is a lot more to learn.

But there's been a breakthrough. I have news, y'all. The kind of news that you see at first and you think, "Oh wow, that's awful," but then you secretly try it later just to see if I'm serious. And it turns out, that even though what I'm about to tell you is based on common knowledge, I haven't heard of it being used before. This has led me to two different conclusions.

1. What I'm doing is groundbreaking and I should receive a Nobel Prize for it.

or

2. What I'm doing may in fact be slightly illegal and I'll be put in jail for it.

At this point, I'm really wanting to lean towards that whole "Nobel Prize" thing. Mostly because I don't think I'd do well inside the prison industrial complex. I'm not a fighter, and in prison, you're either a fighter or you're the guy the others guys fight over and then proceed to Andy Dufresne the mess out of you in the shower, in the movie projector room, or out by the tool shed.

"I wish I could tell you that Andy fought the good fight and the Sisters let him be." 
I just want to chase a quick rabbit. If you read the rest of this blog in Morgan Freeman's voice, I really think it might soften the impact of the incredible news I'm going to share with you. So go on, get in character. I'll wait. 

Alright, so the other day, our children went out back with our niece to swim in one of those little turtle swimming pools that are about three inches deep and have a tiny slide. We've all seen them. It's the kind of pool that white trashy people put in their front yard right out by the street and let all the neighborhood children come pee play in. I'm proud to say my brother keeps his in the back yard. 

About twenty minutes into the "swimming," our son comes up to the door, and he's shaking like a Republican in a Pentecostal church. The Missus immediately runs to get him a towel, yelling something like, "He'll catch his death of the cold, bless my soul!" Apparently, seeing a shaking child turns my wife into a housewife with big skirts from a 1960's TV sitcom. 

I, on the other hand, observed the situation. I noticed the fine details. Mostly, I noticed the fine detail that our son wasn't talking for the first time in two weeks. He couldn't talk. You could tell he wanted to talk, he wanted to talk about leaves, and why he was cold, and tell us that he knew a bunch of stuff, and colors, and all the scuttlebutt down by the "pool," but he couldn't. He was shaking too hard. 

Something in my mind clicked. 

Then, The Missus rushed by with a towel, muttering something about the vapors, and wrapped her precious baby up in it, drying him off, and showing him all the love that she used to have for me. 

And my brain just kept right on spinning. 

"Travis. Hey, Travis. If he can't talk when he gets cold, this could mean a whole new dynamic in car rides. You've got to do some research here, Sloat. You have a responsibility to God, the people of the world, and your sanity to do something about this. If you don't, you'll go to your grave never feeling like the successful person I let you think you are." 

So I searched for the opportunity to research. 

It just so happened that yesterday after church, it was just the children and I in the car driving home. We got in, and they were so excited, their little heads filled with bible stories, and their little endocrine systems full of sugary drinks. They just kept talking. Talking to me, talking to each other, talking to themselves, it didn't matter. They just wanted to talk. 

Just another aside, but they are ALWAYS talking. I think, and this is Travis Sloat being real here, that this has got to be the worst thing about kids. They constantly talk. When we first got them, I thought, "Man, this will keep my conversation wit quick." Now, a year later, I'm trying to watch a National Geographic special on Blue Whales, and the announcer says, "This, a Blue Whale, is the most majestic creature on the earth, and also the largest, with a length of about 30 meters and a heart the size of a small car." And I'm thinking, "Wow. A car." And our son, our wonderful, precocious son, is sitting there, soaking it all in, and I'm thinking, "I'm a dang good parent, letting our kid watch this kind of nature stuff." And then I realize that if there are animals, and this is NatGeo, that sooner or later there will be a mating scene, and I'm not quite sure if I'm ready to deal with that just yet, and our son, he just looks at me, points at the TV, and says, "I know what that is, that's a Blue Whale. It's majestic." 

I KNOW YOU KNOW WHAT IT IS! IT JUST TOLD YOU WHAT IT WAS! DOES YOUR BRAIN SHUT DOWN WHEN YOU STOP TALKING? IS THAT IT? IF YOU KNOW SO MUCH, DEFINE MAJESTIC! CAN YOU PLEASE GIVE ME AT LEAST TILL THE MATING SCENE BEFORE YOU TALK!? 

100% disclosure? Their talking will be why I die at forty.  

But back to the car after church. They're talking, and they won't shut up, and I think, "Now would be a great time to test this theory I have." So I crank the AC up full blast. 

The only way this eventually works is if The Missus isn't in the car. Anytime I turn the AC on with her in the car, she just looks at me, rolls her eyes, and either turns it down or shuts her vents off. Meanwhile, I'm sweating like I just ran a 5k. 

So the AC is on, and nothing is happening. Of course, it's 98 degrees outside, so I have to give it a minute. Finally, the car starts cooling off to the point where it's getting chilly. Still, the talking continues. 

Then, the staccato pace turns to a heavy machine gun pace, and I think, "Is this working?" 

As the car nears a temperature rivaling that of a walk-in food storage freezer, the conversation grinds to a halt like a car running out of gas, and stops suddenly. 

I can't believe it. I looked back, and both of them had just stopped talking, almost mid-sentence, and were SLOWLY FALLING ASLEEP. 

"So there was this one guy, named Jonah, and he was...umm...mmmfdhjalfda...nnnn."
Folks, I don't have to tell you how big of a breakthrough this is. Houses will be permanently chilly, cars will be filled with dry ice on long road trips, and schools will have classes outside in the winter. It will revolutionize the "children should be seen and not heard" sentiment of generations past that somehow got lost, for which I blame Barney. 

Of course, there are still side effects to consider, such as an increased tissue budget, as well as an increase in cold medications. But you have to ask yourself. "Is a quiet child worth a little hypothermia?" If your answer is yes, then I suggest you start your own research. 

I just have to make sure it isn't actually child abuse first.