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“Let Your Kids Break Stuff”

Baby Proofing (Penny): It’s never too early to start baby proofing your house, but my wife and I have been procrastinating. Now that our girls are starting to crawl, we finally decided to start thinking about baby proofing. In the meantime, we purchased an indoor play yard to keep the girls contained. Clementine seems content in confinement, but Penny desperately wants to regain her freedom. 

“Daddy, don’t you see enough cage fighting on TV?”

“What?”

“I assume you want us to fight? Why else would you have us trapped in a UFC octagon.” 

“Ha! Astute observation, sweetie — it is an octagon.” 

“Daddy, the UFC owns exclusive rights to hold MMA fights within an 8-sided cage. I thought you were an attorney?”

“I’m well aware, sweetie — but this cage isn’t for MMA fights.”

“That’s good for Clemmy — we’re not even in the same weight class. I have at least two pounds on her.”

“Well, sweetie, I’m glad we resolved that misunderstanding.”

“Wait a minute! If it’s not for fighting, why are we trapped in here? Punishment?”

“No, sweetie. It’s for your protection. Now that you’re crawling we have to take extra safety measures.”

“Protection? From what, daddy?”

“Lots of things — electrical outlets, cleaning supplies, bookshelves. Not to mention, all of the unknown hazards lurking about.

“Oh, I see. You’re lazy.” 

“How so?”

“Instead of putting in the time and effort to remove the hazards, you’re just imprisoning us.”

“Sweetie, you’re still gonna have plenty of free range playtime, but we can’t watch over you every second of the day.” 

“Oh, so it’s not really about our safety — but your free time!” 

“It’s both, sweetie. And we’re not just creating a safe zone, we’re also granting you free will.” 

“Daddy, free will, if it does exist, is not in this prison cell.”

“Sweetie, when you’re 18, you’ll be absolutely free to choose your adventure. Even then, you may not be ready for the real world. Some teens are so paralyzed by the infinite possibilities, they have to numb their minds with drugs and alcohol. 

“Trust me, daddy — I’m not overwhelmed. If I turn to drugs, it will be cause I’m bored out of my gourd.” 

 “Sweetie, is there anything I can get you right now? I’m happy to accommodate.”

“I miss Turky-butt! Can he come inside?”

“No, sweetie. We’ve discussed this. He’s an older dog, which makes him more vulnerable and unpredictable.”

“Are you protecting us from Turk — or Turk from us?”

“Both!”

“Whatever. How about some reading materials? Even convicted murderers get to read in their cells.”

“Well, sweetie, like many of those convicts — you’re illiterate. The last time I gave you a book you tried to eat it, and then ripped it to shreds.”

“So?”

“Books cost money, sweetie.”

“According to Neil deGrasse Tyson, parents need to get out of the way and let kids break stuff. Penny, don’t touch that. Sit down, Penny! Stop making noise. Stop banging on the pots and pans. Every one of those is an experiment. Children are natural-born scientists!” 

“Well, sweetie, that’s easy for Neil to say —  he’s rich!”

“Daddy, how can you be so obtuse? You and mommy have over $200,000 in student loans — but you’re not willing to fork out a few dollars to replace a book?”

“We can’t afford it because of our student loans! But look around you, sweetie — you’re surrounded by toys that you can abuse to your heart’s content.”

“Fine, daddy, but are you sure there’s nothing in here that can hurt me?”

“Again, sweetie. We can’t anticipate all potential hazards — but we’ve done our best to eliminate anything that can cause death or great bodily harm.”

“And what about Clemmy?”

“What about her?”

“Are you sure she’s safe in here?”

“Yes, of course — you both have access to the same toys.”

“What about these?”

“Your hands?”

“They’re not just hands, Daddy  ***balls up fists***  They’re lethal weapons!”

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