There’s a hamster living in our house. At least I think there is. I remember the day we gave it to Evie and put it in its new hamster cage and she named it Coco. I haven’t seen it since then, which was back in December, which was half a year ago, but Evie informs me Coco is thriving, and I think that’s fabulous. To be clear, I think the fact that my kid has kept something alive in our home without me glimpsing it even once in half a year is fabulous. I feel neutral about Coco’s wellbeing. Nothing against hamsters—I’m just preoccupied keeping the three human children and two dogs alive and have no additional bandwidth for rodents of any size.
I’ve entered a stage of parenting in which the less I know is actually better. Sure, I need to keep tabs on the biggies, like when the school emails to tell me a kid is failing all their classes, and I have to swoop in and take screen time and threaten a friendless, screenless existence. But the less I know about certain things, like hamsters and dubious life choices, the better.
People tell me, “It’s so great that your kids talk to you,” and it is, it really is. Apparently, we’ve fostered such a spirit of openness and sharing around here that my kids tell me everything, but you know, you can have too much of a good thing and we’ve actually had to dial back on that just a smidge. Kids, maybe less detail on a few things. Maybe less HD TV and give me more of a blurry Monet about some stuff.
I had to have a talk with my eldest, who was dabbling in hickeys. We’ve had all the talks and I’ve imparted all the knowledge about life choices that I can impart, and now she makes her own way in the world and it currently involves a lot of hickeys. I finally told her, “I’m not going to ruin our relationship trying to force you to knock it off altogether, but I need to not know where his lips have been.” She and The Vacuum agreed that this felt like a reasonable request.
In some cases, the less I know the better. I want to know stuff and I want to rescue my kids when they need me but like Coco the invisible hamster, some things are better left to the imagination. I imagine Coco happily running on its little hamster wheel, drinking from its little hamster water bottle, but I don’t need to see it happening. I don’t need to see its little hamster poops and its nocturnal hamster ways. I need to not see everything happening with my kids like I’m some kind of CIA agent creeping from a surveillance van. Tell me stuff and let me help you process and maybe even talk you out of some doozies, but if you’re going to go off and whatever, despite my best motivational speech about why that’s a bad idea, by God, please wait till the statute of parental limitations is over before forcing me to hear the lurid details over my peanut butter toast in the morning before I’ve even had my coffee.
Jesus take the wheel and pour the scotch.