Good Kids: How to Live with a Tiny A**hole, with Jay Casale
Jay Casale (The Lighter Side Podcast) shares his hilarious wisdom on teaching kids kindness, dealing with perpetual poop problems, and being completely ill-prepared for parenthood.
[01:12] Hi, this is Jay Casale, and this is Good Kids: How Not to Raise an Asshole.
[01:21] I definitely find myself in a daily struggle to figure out what a good kid is. I guess a good kid is a kid who treats other kids or other people — well, you know, someone who’s I guess kind would be the sort of cliche, lame way to say it. But that’s my goal always is I’m trying to make good kids. My first thing is make sure that they’re kind to other children and to adults and to everyone. I mean, it seems like a basic starting point, anyway. It seems like that’s a good in.
[02:03] So I have a seven-year-old girl, her name is Joanna, and I have a two-year-old girl, and her name is Angela. And a big thing is managing the relationship between the two. You know, having the 7-year-old and the 2-year-old and really, it starts right there in getting her to be nice to her sister and be kind to her sister. Because, you know, as much as Joanna, the older one, loves her baby sister, but she expects a little bit more of her than she’s able to provide. You know, she’s only two, so she’s not really a complete playmate just yet. So Joanna gets so frustrated with her. And the second that Angela, like, doesn’t want to do exactly what Joanna wants her to do, it’s, “I wish I didn’t have a sister!” And it’s a hair trigger, you know. And so it’s very much about “listen, kiddo.” And, you know, trying to be a good parent, we have had to stop ourselves from overreacting to that, from her going, “I hate you. I wish I didn’t have a sister!” Stopping ourselves from going, “What do you mean! You can’t say –” because then at a certain point you realize, well, she’s doing that because we are doing that. So being like, “listen, take a breath. Let’s reframe this a little bit.” And say, like, “do you really wish you didn’t have a sister? Do you remember when your sister was born how much you loved her?” Eventually she starts to calm down and she understands and she apologizes.
[03:46] Yesterday, I had to pick her up early from aftercare because, you know, she was getting into a fight with a kid there. It’s just always so drastic with her. And then it turns into everybody hates me, you know. And now I’m having a conversation with my seven-year-old about, listen, everybody doesn’t hate you, but you start to realize she lashes out like that because she’s got this feeling of insecurity. And, you know, it’s trying to navigate your way through that kind of stuff. I think that if we do it the right way, then she’ll hopefully, you know, learn how to be good. You know, how to be a, quote unquote, good kid.
[04:28] I don’t know if a kid can be bad, right? Like, I think that they can do bad things, but I don’t think any kid is, you know, 100 percent cognizant and knows what it means to be good or bad. So I don’t think there’s a bad kid. But I think, you know, a kid that, like is annoying is different than a kid that’s bad, right? Like, I definitely don’t want my kid to be annoying, but my kid definitely, both of them, can be huge assholes. That’s different. And that’s a really tough thing when you’re like, oh, man. I wish I didn’t love you so much, because I don’t know what to do with myself anymore.
[05:09] No one on this planet is luckier to be as adorable as my two-year-old daughter is. Because she needs to be adorable to compensate for how much of an asshole she is. Because it’s non-stop, the whining. I mean, she cries sometimes if I — literally if I look at her. If I look at her directly, “no, daddy! Don’t look at me!” What? I was not aware that I was not allowed to look at you. My favorite is my two-year-old tolerates me, but she is attached to my wife. If my wife leaves the room, my two-year-old is bound to turn into a disaster. So, you know, horrible for my wife sometimes because, you know, she needs to be able to do things without being attached to a two-year-old. And so, you know, I’m trying to change her and she’s like, “I don’t want daddy. I don’t like daddy.” And I’m just like, “but Angela, I’m such a nice guy.” No, Daddy, you’re not a nice guy. And I’m like, what? And so now that’s like her thing she says whenever she’s upset with me is she tells me that I’m not a nice guy. And I’m like, what’s a more horrible, more shitty thing for your two-year-old kid to say to you than like, “you know, dad, you’re really just not a nice person.” But that kind of stuff you’re like, I hope this works itself out. And it’s cute when it’s a two-year-old, when the seven-year-old tells me that she hates me and then she wishes that she had different parents, you know, that cuts a little bit more deep. And just spiteful, “I don’t want to live with you anymore.” Do you know how hard everything is, you know, what I mean? Like we keep the lights on, you have a playroom with toys that you have the privilege to neglect. You have a backyard, you know.
[07:41] And you find yourself like getting into these arguments with a seven-year-old. And you’re like, I just worked for 11 hours so that you could have dinner. So I don’t know if I’m doing a good job of not raising assholes, but I think that I am aware of it and I am always working on it. So I don’t just let them be assholes, I guess is the point.
[10:26] I always feel like such a hypocrite giving anybody parenting advice because I always feel like I don’t know what I’m doing. Everybody’s got an opinion about everything. Everybody’s got advice for everyone. But the same things don’t work for everybody in the same way that, you know, my in-laws love to talk about, “I don’t know why these car seats are so complicated, ours you just threw them in the car and everybody lived.”
[10:54] And I’m like, “well, we lived. I’m not so sure everybody did.” And I’m certainly on the side of safety and increasing the chance of living. But, you know, everybody’s got an opinion. You know, wherever someone who’s about to have a kid asks me, you know, like, what should I be aware of? I’m always like, listen, you have all the — you put the crib together and you put the stuff on the walls and you do all that stuff and have all the supplies that you need. And you go to the hospital thinking, all right, I got this, we got it all together. And then your kid is born and you’re like, I have no idea what I am doing in any aspect of my life. You know, like I literally had no idea it was going to be like this. I don’t really know how to process this. And I’m kind of just flying by the seat of my pants. And that’s OK. I learned to be OK with having no idea what I’m doing.
[12:07] The worst thing that you can ever do is think to yourself, all right, I got this. Because the second you think you have it, it completely changes. That started for me with their sleep because the one started going to sleep at 8 o’clock at night and waking up at 7 o’clock in the morning and it was going on for like two months and we said, we got this.
[12:32] And I think it was like two days later where she started waking up like every five seconds overnight, and all that kind of stuff. And it’s just, you know, you never got it. It always changing. And you always have to admit that you’re not an expert. My two-year-old child, if we’re lucky, is asleep by like 11 o’clock every night. I think it’s just an irony because my wife and I are just such lovers of sleep. We really covet it and they hate it. It’s so funny that two things my kids can’t stand is sleeping and pooping. My younger daughter, ever since she was a little kid, she has hated pooping so much that we’ve wound up in the hospital like on several occasions because she’s refused to poop for like weeks. We had a very, very memorable trips to the E.R. I mean, one of the last times — maybe this like knocked it out of her — but my daughter refusing to poop. I have to take her to the hospital finally after we’ve tried everything at home. And basically what they do is they put them on like what is essentially a garbage bag, they lay them down on top of like a giant garbage bag, and give them some sort of suppository. And then they’re basically just like. “Clear out, everybody. Watch out.” And my kids are like both of them really like a wriggly. You know, it’s really hard to keep them still. So everyone’s trying to hold her down and then it begins. I get sprayed completely. Doctor gets sprayed. And it doesn’t even all come out. But like, my daughter just immediately gets up, stands on top of the thing and goes “clean it, clean it!” So many of my memories of my oldest have to do with poop. It’s a lot of fun over here.
[14:33] This has been an episode of Good Kids: How Not to Raise an Asshole. I’m Jay Casale and I’m the host of The Lighter Side podcast. It’s a show about transformations, where over the course of the last three seasons I’ve lost 150 pounds. I’ve bared my soul and I’ve tried to figure out my own shit by talking to other people about their shit. I’ve spoken to musicians, artists, tech gurus, CEOs, personal trainers, doctors, and even be incessantly delightful producers of Lemonada Media, Jessica Cordova Kramer and Stephanie Wittels Wachs. I just dropped season four, its greatest hits compilation. It’s a show about weight loss. It’s about addiction. It’s about the struggle to find one’s place in the universe. But, you know, funny. It’s on all the podcast things. Thanks.
[15:32] Good Kids is a production of Lemonada Media. It’s produced and edited by Andrew Stephen. Our executive producer is Stephanie Wittels Wachs and our music is by Dan Milad. Ad sales and distribution are by Westwood One. You can find out more about Lemonada online @LemonadaMedia. If you liked what you heard share, rate, review, say great things about us.