American Fiction Funny

Dick and Jane both moved from separate and more interesting cities to the middle of the Midwest. They met and they married. After the wedding, they decided to have children. Unsure of the child rearing protocol in this unfamiliar region, Dick and Jane read a book. The book was titled Extreme Parenting 101: A Midwestern Philosophy. Written by Sally Doesmore, the manual was exactly 500 pages long. It contained 5 chapters. In order to get a gauge on the philosophy of their new neighborhood, Dick and Jane chose to read the first paragraph of each chapter together.

Chapter One: You are Fully In Charge of All of the Micro-Minutiae of Your Baby’s Life, And Your Baby Will Be your Child For the Duration of Their Life

I am absolutely positive that you will gain a full understanding of the art of child-rearing after having read this book. My name is Sally Doesmore, and I have been a mother my whole life. As a matter-of-fact, my four children are here with me now for a weekend luncheon. John is 44, Alice is 40, Robert is 38, and Mary is 36. What wonderfully trained little ones I have! They have all chosen to take time out of their successful schedules to help Mommy with her latest book. Personal talk aside, on with the instruction! As a child, I bossed my siblings around just like my mother did. You could say I was in training from day one. Mother never let us out of her sight, and her voice is the seamless soundtrack of my youth. “Wash your hands, Sally. Not like that! Like this. Like Mommy.” She was so correct always, as I am now, and as you shall be after reading my book!

Dick and Jane needed a break from the book. After discussing what what sounded good for dinner, they tried to ordered Chinese takeout, but, sadly, had to pick it up. A couple of hours later, nuzzling each other on the couch, they read the first paragraph of Chapter Two.

Chapter Two: Using Your Ceaseless Monologue to Control your Child’s Inner Dialogue

A true mother does not allow their child to form their own thoughts. This would lead to rebellious independence. In order to shape your child’s inner dialogue, you must never take a breath between sentences. If you fail to fill the room with your voice, you will usher in the dead air of distraction. Infiltrating each waking moment with your words will disallow the child to mentally stray. I sometimes I even talk to my children as they sleep to help them with their dreams. I have a chair next to each child’s bed expressly for this purpose. When a child is engaged in a mundane activity- such as teeth brushing- I give the exact same instructions regardless of the level of knowhow. Practice with me, reader, “Jimmy, put 4 centimeters of paste on your Batman toothbrush. Ok now, son, wet the brush with just a splash of water. Now brush, Jimmy! Mommy will set the timer for two minutes and sing you a lullaby to pass the time.”

Jane: "Do you want to read more tomorrow?"

Dick: "Yes, lovely Jane. I'm exhausted."

The next morning they read one more paragraph before work.

Chapter Three: Training Your Child to Feel That Their Sole Function Is to Please You

It is imperative that your child know that their behavior affects you emotionally. Saying things like, “It makes mommy sad when you won’t eat your peas and carrots.” and “Mommy is only happy when you make your bed in the morning without being told.” are great examples of this type of language. So long as you maintain the ongoing monologue of expectations and instruction discussed in Chapter Two, your child will eventually figure out exactly how to please mommy at all times. 

The couple ran out of time for reading, and, before rushing out the door, they said their see-you-laters...

Dick: "I'm so glad we found each other! You are so wonderful!"

Jane: "You are the love of my life, and I wouldn't change a thing about you!"

Dick: "I miss you already!"

Jane: "Me too!"

Chapter Four: All Punishment Should Be Covert and Indirect

If your child considers misbehaving, give a severe look paired with crazed eyes. Follow this look with a smile. Say something like, “Mommy knows what you’re thinking, and it makes her sad.” or “You don’t want to ruin Mommy’s day, do you?” My mother never once raised her voice, but we knew. If we questioned her, we were dealt a hand of cards that both confused and belittled us. She managed all of this communication without explanation, and I will never know the type of infraction I committed. Mother knew, and that was all that mattered. Never ever explain yourself to your children, and always demand explanations from them! This will train your little ones to do your bidding without disruption.

By then, it was Saturday, and Dick and Jane were enjoying the weekend. After trying to find brunch on the town, they decided to settle in for a homecooked meal. Afterwards, they sat on the front porch swing to read the final chapter.

Chapter Five: How to Mother Your Children Once They Are All Grown Up

Your children may be tempted to drift off one day when they grow up. In order to keep them coming to you for advice and direction, insist that they call and visit on a regimented schedule. During phone calls sprinkle in a taste of belittlement cloaked in excessive praise. If you do not approve of one of your grown child’s friends, simply point out the faults of said friend in front of everyone. This will protect your child from those unworthy of your family’s company by scaring off the unsavory intruder. Once your babies have learned to meet your expectations and are considered by society to be grown-ups, they will do their jobs as adults and thank you for the perpetual guidance! They will be reputable, contributing citizens of society and all because of your mothering. Never give up on shaping your children! Be relentless.

After reading the first paragraph of the last chapter, Dick and Jane skipped to the end to read the final lines of the book.

One final note. You may be wondering about Mr. Doesmore. Well, he did well to shut his mouth just as my father did. Mother knows best!

Dick and Jane put down the book. They looked at each other. 

Dick: “Where do you want to move East or West?”

Jane: “Either works for me.”

Dick: "Sounds great! I love you, Jane."

Jane: "And I love you!"

The End.

January 21, 2022 00:04

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Tricia Shulist
22:40 Jan 23, 2022

That was fun — fun with Dick and Jane. Thank you.


C.B. Oates
17:19 Jan 24, 2022

Thank you! I'm glad it made you happy, friend!


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