A Millennial Parent’s Packing List for Sending Their Toddler to Stay With Conservative Grandparents

There will come a time when you, as a progressive millennial parent, will find it necessary to send your toddler to stay one or more nights with your conservative parents or in-laws. This need arose perhaps because you have a wedding to attend or need a weekend getaway with your spouse. Perhaps you are traveling to a protest in an attempt to smash the patriarchy, or attending an essential oils seminar.

Whatever the reason, an important question must be answered: Aside from the necessities, what do you pack? How can you best innoculate and protect your child against regressive policies, ideological bias, and fascism?

Fear not,  millennial parent. This extensive packing list will have your child prepared and well-taken care of during their adventure with the grandparents.

Clothes

Choose clothes that are gender-neutral in color so as to avoid their grandparents forcing them to conform to traditional gender roles. As you know, your child may not have chosen their preferred gender yet. Consider labeling the clothes with your child’s preferred pronouns, or the appropriate gender-neutral pronouns.

Children’s Books

  1. Whose Boat Is This Boat?: Comments That Don’t Help in the Aftermath of a Hurricane by Donald J. Trump.
  2. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twist.
  3. I Dissent: Ruther Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy.
  4. She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World by Chelsea Clinton.

Creative Tools

  1. Angry Octopus Color Me Happy, Color Me Calm: A Self-Help Kid’s Coloring Book for Overcoming Anxiety, Anger, Worry and Stress (don’t forget the non-toxic crayons or washable markers).
  2. A xylophone.
  3. A tambourine.
  4. A kazoo.

Toys

  1. Sesame Street’s Let’s Dance Elmo (make sure the batteries are new and the volume is on high).
  2. A Fisher-Price Brillant Basics Corn Popper Push Toy.
  3. Hillary Clinton Plush Figure.
  4. Bernie Bear.

Important Reminder: A treat every now and then never hurt anyone. Remember to give your child cookies, candy, and/or ice cream immediately (organic, dairy-free, and gluten-free, of course) before drop off so that they are guaranteed to be buzzing right through naptime.

Bonus: This list is the perfect passive-aggressive response to the Trump-Pence 2020 sign in your parents’ yard or the time your mother-in-law reminded everyone last Thanksgiving that “ALL lives matter.” It will have your conservative family members running to a safe space as soon as you pick up your child.

 

 

This Easy Weeknight Recipe Will Please Even the Pickiest Toddler

Dinnertime has always been my favorite time of the day. It’s a time to sit down with your family after working hard, and a time for enjoying each others’ company over a home-cooked meal. Creating a delicious meal can be difficult during the week, however. This is especially so when you are the parent of a toddler. Any parent knows they are notoriously picky eaters. 

Picky eaters are my specialty. When I first met my wife in college, she would eat hardly anything aside from plain hamburgers, pizza (pepperoni only), and chicken tenders. Through seventeen years of dedication and hard work, she will now also eat pasta. With red sauce only, though.

When my son began to eat solid foods, I applied what I had learned over the last seventeen years to his diet. I resolved that I would not raise a picky eater, and instead would raise a child that enjoyed culinary adventure and diversity. But, the time during a weeknight is limited and it was important to create healthy recipes that were quick. This is one of those recipes. It may seem long by the number of steps, but I assure you it’s easy and the more you make it you may even be able to skip a few steps. Bon appetite.

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Gently pat 2 chicken breasts (bone-in, skin-on) dry and rub with olive oil.
  3. Season chicken lightly with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Place chicken in a roasting pan.
  5. Bake chicken for 30 minutes.
  6. While the chicken bakes, place a small saucepan on the stove over medium heat.
  7. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan.
  8. Add 1/2 cup carrot medallions (diced carrots work too) and cook until almost tender.
  9. Add 1/2 cup English peas and cook until tender.
  10. Season vegetables lightly with sea salt.
  11. Remove vegetables from heat. Set aside.
  12. Reduce oven to 350 degrees. Bake chicken for an additional 10 to 30 minutes,  until cooked through.
  13. Carefully remove the chicken from the oven. Let cool.
  14. Once cool, remove chicken meat from the bone and shred into appropriate-sized pieces.
  15. Plate chicken and vegetables and serve to Toddler.
  16. Listen to Toddler cry about the chicken and vegetables for 5 to 10 minutes.
  17. Gently attempt to coax Toddler into eating chicken and vegetables for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
  18. Beg Toddler to eat chicken and vegetables for an additional 5 minutes.
  19. Threaten Toddler with time-out, early bedtime, no dessert, or any other of age-appropriate punishments if they do not eat chicken and vegetables.
  20. Ignore Toddler laughing at your threats.
  21. Excuse yourself to the nearest bathroom.
  22. Shut the door.
  23. Cry briefly at your failures as a parent for approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Dry eyes thoroughly once finished in order to avoid displaying weakness to Toddler.
  24. Return to the kitchen.
  25. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  26. Discard chicken and vegetables in the trash (or refrigerate overnight for a sad, bland lunch at work the next day).
  27. On an ungreased baking sheet, arrange five frozen chicken nuggets (Tyson brand works best, but any brand will do) and a small handful of frozen french fries or tater tots.
  28. Bake nuggets and fried potatoes for 20 minutes, or according to instructions on the packaging.
  29. Plate the nuggets and fried potatoes. Serve with a generous helping of ketchup.
  30. Once Toddler is finished with the ketchup, place another generous portion of ketchup on the plate.
  31. Explain to Toddler they cannot eat just ketchup and must eat the nuggets and fried potatoes. Repeat as often as necessary.
  32. Explain to Toddler they cannot have candy for dinner, and tell them to stop asking. Repeat as often as necessary.
  33. Praise Toddler for finally taking a single bite of a single chicken nugget.
  34. Tell the Toddler they are not “all done,” despite their claims.
  35. Praise Toddler for finally eating a fried potato.
  36. Repeat step 32 again.
  37. Repeat step 34.
  38. Give into Toddler and place candy on the plate.
  39. Repeat steps 21 to 23 if desired.

Be Like Thanos: A Moral for My Toddler

Listen to me. This is important. The Avengers had at least four opportunities to save trillions of lives and they failed. Do you know why? Do you?

It’s because they couldn’t control their emotions. Mainly Quill, actually. Let’s review.

Opportunity Number One: Gamora was the only person who knew the location of the Soul Stone. This is one of the six Infinity Stones Thanos needs to collect. Gamora made Quill promise to kill her if Thanos came for her, so Thanos could not learn the location of the stone. What did Quill do when Thanos came for Gamora? He wimped out because of love, that’s what.

Opportunity Number Two: Captured by Thanos because of Quill and his emotions, Gamora surrendered the location of the Soul Stone to Thanos in order to save her sister, Nebula, from suffering. A sister she fought with constantly in previous movies, by the way. Stupid.

Opportunity Number Three: Spiderman and Ironman nearly removed the gauntlet from Thanos’s arm as part of a very carefully orchestrated plan on planet Titan. This plan relied on teamwork. All of the Avengers present had a role to play, and needed to stay focused. But what happened? Quill happened. Again. He found out Thanos killed Gamora, and despite Ironman sagely telling him to cool it and not engage, Quill went and punched Thanos. This broke Mantis’s hypnotic hold over Thanos. Thanos subsequently regained his gauntlet, and then the Time Stone. Quill is the most worthless Guardian of the Galaxy.

Opportunity Number Four: There was ten seconds left on the clock and the team was down by one point. Thanos had all the Infinity Stones and was about to carry out his plan to wipe out half of the galaxy. It was time for a Hail Mary play. Enter Thor, the most photogenic of all Avengers. Swooping in from the sky like the God of Thunder he his, he hurled his axe into Thanos’s chest. And then Thor opened his big stupid mouth. You see, earlier Thor growled at Thanos, “You’re going to die for that,” after Thanos plunged a weapon into Heimdall’s chest and killed him. So later on Wakanda, ignoring the goal of mission, Thor decided to gloat and have his vengeance. “I told you, you’d die for that,” he told Thanos triumphantly. But Thor was not triumphant because there was still time for Thanos to snap his fingers. “You should’ve gone for the head,” Thanos wisely taunted as Thor screwed up the Hail Mary with his emotions of grief for Heimdall and thirst for vengeance. Seconds later, half of literally everyone turned into dust and flittered away.

We, the audience, were left despondent and speechless. Perhaps worse, we had to wait an entire year, spend more money, and spend half a day in a theater to see what happens next. All of this because “grown up” so-called “heroes” couldn’t control their emotions!

Let’s back up slightly. What did Thanos do when he learned from Red Skull he must sacrifice Gamora to obtain the Soul Stone? Did he fail because of his feelings for Gamora? No. Thanos sucked it up, drug Gamora to the edge of the cliff, and hurled her to her death. Mission accomplished!

Whose fault was the disintegration of trillions of people? Was it Thanos? Or, was it Quill and Thor because they couldn’t bottle up their emotions and shove them deep, deep down inside like even the most average maladjusted man? I think we know the answer. “Heroes” my ass.

So, here we are at the end of this line of twenty people at the ice cream place, and you’re impatiently wailing “MY WANT ICE CREAM!” over and over. I’m sorry, but we have to wait. We have to be patient and committed to getting the ice cream. Like Thanos was to his plan.

People are staring and silently judging your dada. So, I’m going to count to five. By the time I reach five, if you haven’t stopped having this tantrum, I’m going to snap my fingers and we’re going to go home and not have any ice cream tonight. That means you’ll have four opportunities, just like the Avengers, where you can stop me and accomplish your mission. Ask yourself son: are you going to be like Thanos and get your emotions in check, or are you going to fail like the Avengers?