Dear Tiny Baby…

Letters to Ethan. Which he can't read yet. We'll get there eventually.

Impulse Control

Dear Tiny Baby,

As you get older, a very sad thing happens called “impulse control”. Though it’s entirely necessary for the sake of getting along with other human beings and keeping yourself out of an early grave, it is kind of depressing when you are suddenly expected to stop swinging on every tree branch you pass and when it’s no longer cute to recite movie quotes to yourself in public. Generally, as you get older, that sort of behavior becomes considered a type of mental disorder requiring some sort of medical intervention.

Mommy has really, really bad impulse control. And you may inherit this trait, so I’m just going to quickly walk you through what comes with that. Just in case. Let me paint you a little picture:

You’ll be a full-fledged adult. You’ll have bills, a car, student loans, and laundry to do. You’ll be able to vote, drink, smoke (but don’t), and play the lottery. People will look at you and take you at least somewhat seriously before you even speak, because when people see you, they will see an adult. You will be for real. You might even have a mortgage payment – who knows? You’re just wild like that, and you’re allowed to be. You know why? Because you will be grown.

But even with all this great power and responsibility, there will always be this little thing called “impulse control” that just loves to slack off when you least expect it. You might be applying for a great job, talking to your potential future employer, doing your best to look like the go-getter of their dreams…and it will be all you can do to keep from drawing something inappropriate in their desktop Zen garden. You could be on a wonderful date with someone you really like and want to impress…and then you’ll hear “Take On Me” over the radio and you will have to force yourself not to stand up and start rocking out.

What I’m saying is this: enjoy the fact that when you’re a kid, you get to act like you are mildly insane and get away with it. The cuteness wears off sometime around the age of 10, and then you have to, like, mature or something. I know, I know, it’s completely lame and frankly, the world would be a better place if it were socially acceptable to fix people’s bad toupees while you’re staring at it in line for the ATM (I mean, come on, you’d be doing the guy a favor).

So I’m going to offer you a deal: you can be as wacky and weird around me as you want. Within reason. I mean, don’t go around smashing plates just because you feel like it. But if you want to sing? Sing. You want to dance? Bust a move. You want to have a full-fledged conversation with yourself using different voices or accents to make it seem like there are other people around? Go right ahead. Mommy does that all the time. It’s the only way she gets any writing done.

As long as you aren’t hurting or bothering anyone else, you do what you have to do. Be yourself. Some may call you weird (and they are probably not wrong). Some may say that turning a cartwheel on your morning jog makes you strange  (again, probably not wrong). But you know what? You’ll be a happier person if you give in. And the world will be way more interesting that way.



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