A proper brainwashing: the second part

I’ve begun brainwashing 3-Year Old Daughter in the same manner that I did 7-Year Old when she was about that age. It’s important to embed your ideas into their tiny, little heads early. If you wait too long, they’re off on their own without any curiosity whatsoever about books or The Beatles or art or the New York Giants or The Little Rascals. It’s like trying to bake a soufflé and not slam the oven door.

A key ingredient for a proper brainwashing is lots of alone time. Enough so they develop Stockholm Syndrome. It begins, innocently enough, in New Jersey. The first step is weekend trips to the local diner. You’ve GOT to get a diner into a kid’s life. Think of how poor your life would have been if you hadn’t had a diner to hang out in. Bars are for later on. Diners are the stuff of youth.

This is our first trip to the diner alone. She was a perfect little lady. As a treat, I put a little puddle of syrup on her plate for her to dip her french fries into. Her favorite activity is passing the salt and pepper shakers back and forth. It’s the only thing she is able to do so she does it over and over and over again.


A short drive later we explore the botanical gardens. There‘s a pond stocked with koi and we feed them bits of bread. She leans over far enough so that she can practically drop the bread into their gaping mouths. She almost falls in.


[Fun side note: The house, rolling hills and green acres that comprise the botanical gardens were once the villa of feared mafioso and New York crime family boss Vito Genovese. The land was confiscated by the State of New Jersey and converted to public park land. Inside the house, there’s a fun display chronicling the events leading to the property seizure.]

When she’s a bit older we’ll go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and I’ll expose her to some traditional European art. And after she’s acclimated herself to that, I’ll give her the old one-two with some Jasper Johns target and Savarin paintings at MoMA. She won’t know what hit her until it’s too late.


17 thoughts on “A proper brainwashing: the second part

  1. You are not brainwashing her you are being an excellent dad…..something ours never did. For what it is worth I am so proud of you, how did you get the diner without 7 yr old?

  2. I did not have the joy of a diner experience until I married Yankee, and we moved to New Jersey. I have great memories of many late nights spent at the Mark Twain diner in Hillside.

  3. Brilliant. We’ve been indoctrinating Hedgehog since she was born into all manner of cultural/literary/culinary wonders. Tintin and Tolkien and MOMA and poetry and Pogues being just some of them. The only thing we hold off on is the politics, just convincing her to be a free thinker.

  4. Sinister. Although, I noticed in my years teaching middle school that it was always the smart, refined girls who fell for the baddest, dumbest boys. Just sayin’ unless there is a tweek for that in your master plan.

  5. well done, sugar! y’all have to start early. they’ll never forget any of it, so remember that when the first one hits the teen years and decides y’all are insane and/or the worse parent in the world! it will pass, i promise you!xoxox

  6. MT: Well he taught me what NOT to do. So at least he was good for that.HIF: It was pretty disgusting. I had to avert my eyes.Cat: Diners are the best. They feel like going home. Don’t know the Mark Twain but love the name.Leah: I lay off politics and religion. I leave the spirituality to Mrs. Wife, since I have none.Annie: Thanks for the tip! I’d better form Plan B in a hurry. I’ll try to push both of them into a gay lifestyle as to avoid boys altogether.Savannah: That won’t happen to ME! Will it?Nurse: You’ll endear yourself to her the same way you did S.Daisy: What a great idea! I’d LOVE to do this for a living. And I’d be good at it.

  7. EXCELLENT! Though you don’t need to wait for age for the MOMA.My mom used to do cool stuff like that for me. I vividly remember her pulling me out of school one more so we could go to the airport and see the Calder plane take off. I cherish those moments she chose to share with me.

  8. TE: A wealth of useful information is in my blog. No charge.Nurse: I’ll be your daddy any day. Wink. Wink. Wink.Jo: I’m quite proud of that particular U.S. export. Others? Not so much.Ellie: Some of the stuff in MoMA is pretty intense. Francis Bacon and such.

  9. I didn’t have diners where I grew up. I think that might be where I went wrong.Out of the list of things you mentioned wanting to expose your kids to, I only recognized “New York Giants”. But I figure that’s a pretty big thing so I get extra points for it right?

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