February 20, 2005

Some Gratuitous Advice

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 3:27 pm

I was reading this post by Christina and this one by Sluggo, both of which are about the joys and challenges of raising little girls. Their posts caused me to remember something that happened to me a few years back.

After having worked particularly late one evening, I stopped at a local saloon for a drink. As I was sitting there nursing my drink and decompressing from the day, a young guy bounced into the place and walked briskly over to the stool next to mine and took a seat. He was absolutely beaming. I didn’t have to ask what had made him so happy, because he immediately volunteered that he had just come from the hospital where his wife had given birth to a baby girl just the day before. He proudly showed me the photo of his beautiful baby daughter.

His unbridled joy was contagious, and before I knew it, we were talking “daughters” and toasting his good fortune. We agreed that there isn’t anything more beautiful in the world than a little girl running around the house. It brought back wonderful memories, as, at the time, my daughter was no longer running around the house, but rather was away at college.

I liked the guy and was genuinely happy for him, so I thought I would give him the benefit of my experience in dealing with daughters. Of course, one could write a book on the subject, but I wanted to impart to him the single most important thing I learned from the experience.

I said, “I’m going to tell you something now, and I am asking that you remember it always.” He eagerly nodded. “In fact, in about a dozen years from now, I hope you say to yourself, ‘Jeez that guy I met in the bar all those years ago really knew what he was talking about.’ This advice, if heeded, will save you countless hours of frustration, aggravation and downright exasperation.”

I suppose he expected something more profound than what he next heard, but sometimes profundity creeps in on cat-like feet. I looked him in the eye and earnestly said,


I continued, “All the bitching, threatening, hollering, and stomping in the world will not change this cosmic truth. So, just understand the reality and be happy just to keep perishables from rotting in the place and attracting vermin. Otherwise, just learn to close the door.”

He thanked me, but I’m certain that he was too swept up in the moment to take me very seriously.

I, therefore, say to all of you with young girls in your house: Don’t fight it. You will most certainly lose. You may experience an occasional “victory,” but in the long run, it is like trying to sweep back the tide. You’re life will be much more pleasant if you don’t try to alter something that has been cosmically pre-ordained.

Now, laminate that advice for your wallets and gaze upon it as necessary.

That is all.


  1. Hell, Jim, you’ve made a believer out of me!!

    I think I’ll tatto it backwards on my forehead…

    ; )


    Comment by Christina — February 20, 2005 @ 3:44 pm

  2. it’s amazing, isn’t it? our oldest daughter was fairly good at keeping her room in somewhat of an order that indicated it might be some sort of human habitat, but our youngest daughter created what we ended up calling “the nest”. Over the years we bought at least three sets of silverware and drink glasses, as they would mysteriously become part of the growing mass of stuff and it wasn’t worth the grief of constantly begging her to bring the stuff down stairs.

    Comment by Gregor — February 20, 2005 @ 6:37 pm

  3. Yup. Thankfully, I learned it early. Right around the time she was 7 or so, I think. I learned to just keep the door shut…and, not look in there unless it was a major emergency…like the house was on fire. heh

    Comment by Pammy — February 20, 2005 @ 6:47 pm

  4. My mother does needlepoint and now I know what she’s giving us for Christmas, even if she doesn’t. But give the guy a break next time and tell him as well, ‘You think you know how much fun this will be. You have no idea.’

    Comment by Sluggo — February 20, 2005 @ 7:51 pm

  5. You Want Me to Do WHAT?

    Clean up my room??? I was over at Christina’s where she was talking about the hair tearing problem of getting her younger daughter to clean up her room. I immediately turned to the defiant four-year-old and told her cleaning her…

    Trackback by Technicalities — February 20, 2005 @ 10:04 pm

  6. My daughter must’ve been a freak of nature because she ALWAYS kept her room spotlessly clean. My son’s room, OTOH, was a disaster area. I kid you not, the last time we moved when he was still living at home, I hauled off an entire pickup truck load of trash. Just from his room. The Navy has been a good thing for him.

    Comment by Rita — February 21, 2005 @ 7:48 am

  7. heh, that little piece of info would have been helpful about 2 or 3 yrs ago.. my 9yr old lil girl will not, can not keep her room clean either. BUT that advice goes double for boys… especially if you have 2 of them in the same room. Closing the door is a wonderful option that i am slowly learning to do.. yelling and threatening to throw out toys just doesnt work like it used to. *sigh*

    Comment by Andi — February 21, 2005 @ 9:20 am

  8. True then. True now. Seriously. I’m still howling after having read that.

    Comment by TJ — February 21, 2005 @ 11:14 am

  9. I just open their doors once a month and toss in a flea bomb.

    Comment by Velociman — February 21, 2005 @ 11:17 am

  10. How true, lived through it with a (now) 29 yr old, doing it again with the world’s youngest teenager (11). The only truer words on daughters I’ve ever heard came via a buddy who has 2 young stunners. He was in a diner in the Texas panhandle and an old rancher/farmer told him “Boy,…someday your gonna wish they was ugly”.

    Comment by Mark Reardon — February 21, 2005 @ 5:52 pm

  11. my back is aching from tearing up carpet and linoleum all weekend for my 3-year-old daughter’s new room. is there nothing i can do while remodeling to help her keep it clean (in the future of course 3 yr olds are helpless, but so fun).

    i’m open to all other advice for fathering daughters as mine is already a diva at age 3.

    Comment by tim hill — February 22, 2005 @ 11:11 am

  12. Tim — The only advice I can give is to strap on a couple extra tanks of patience and enjoy the ride. And in those moments when you’re just about to snap, maybe this thought will get you through; ‘Boys are harder.’

    Comment by Sluggo — February 22, 2005 @ 2:33 pm

  13. I’m where you are. My daughter is 21 and in the army. My youngest is a High School senior and my “strong-willed” kid is in the middle. I feel a bit like a grandpa doling out unwanted advice to the next generation. I’m 8 and 2 years younger than my two brothers but there children are much younger than mine. I like to watch them with their kids and keep myself quiet as I think, “Yup, I remember doing that…hoo boy”. They and their wives are wonderful parents fortunately.


    Comment by Don — February 23, 2005 @ 10:43 pm

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