The Opposite of Nostalgia

Wednesday, Dec 30, 2009 11:00am  |  COMMENTS (5)

bandaid-1-140.jpgWith a child this big (6-years-old), right here and now throws everything else into shadow. Either that, or I’ve got some kind of weird memory disease. But I am often struck by how long gone our kid’s earlier childhood–and earlier parenting–seems. Memories from just last year can be like somebody else’s family videos.
Once in a while, though, it all comes back. And more than anything I want to go back to when our child was younger. Blindsides and hurts, this parental nostalgia, but also a window on the best, best times.
Then there’s the opposite–stuff comes back that I couldn’t stand. And I’m surprised at how much I couldn’t stand it. Happened just the other day at Whole Foods. Walking by the baby food shelf, I looked at all the little jars with cloying faux-country labels proclaiming wholesomeness–fruits and veggies that never watch TV–and ludicrous prices and felt a wave of loathing. A thought, surprising in its power and vehemence arose:

Thank God, I will never, ever have to buy this sh** again.
We, like many over-invested parents, used to feed our baby out of Whole Foods. Since I was at home, I did the buying, dutifully and without much feeling one way or another.
However, as I just discovered, I hated it. Not sure why. Who knew?
More anti-nostalgia comes to mind, always minor sideshows. Actual challenges–like, say, late but fierce colic, ER-grade vomiting and diarrhea at Lake Tahoe–don’t seem so bad. I’d go through them again, just to get to the good parts. But I never, ever want to go back to, and will never miss…

  • Mommy (Daddy) And Me Before Preschool
  • Dora The Explorer
  • The Wiggles
  • Obsesso-pink girliness
  • Disney Princess anything
  • Our nanny’s wars with the neighbors’
  • Trying to do the girl’s hair (I sucked at combing and brushing; she screamed)
  • Hello Kitty

There’s more, but now it’s your turn. What don’t you miss?
Post by Mike Steere, writer, stay-at-home dad and blogger of Pater-familias.
Illustration by Peter Arkle.


  1. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  December 30, 2009 @ 12:07 pm

    I really, really miss Dan Zanes and all the other family music I was told was good for my kids and I pretended to enjoy…
    (And those wonderful, fake-ass learning, Baby Einstein videos.)
    Oh, wait.
    Thankfully, I don’t have to remember any of that.
    As for NOT missing things? Happily, I can say nothing– I miss it all.
    But I tend to forget things I don’t like.
    As John Mayer says, “I don’t remember you looking any better,
    But then again I don’t remember you…”

  2. POSTED BY Generically named Mike  |  December 30, 2009 @ 12:23 pm

    I’m not surprised the original poster has such a loathing of anything related to the baby food or any of the other things listed above…
    After all, “A man must do his chick stuff alone,” right? And who wouldlike doing such lonely, shameful things?

  3. POSTED BY HidingInBaristaville  |  December 30, 2009 @ 1:23 pm


  4. POSTED BY monty  |  December 30, 2009 @ 3:21 pm

    The KIDS on Barney. They seemed like stepford children. I used to imagine them getting loaded into the back of a run-down van after the taping and locked in some warehouse with nothing but porridge and paint chips to eat until the next day…One of them should write a tell-all book (contract be damned) if any of them survived that is…

  5. POSTED BY Debbie Galant  |  December 31, 2009 @ 2:20 pm

    Needing a babysitter to go out. Parent-teacher conferences.

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