Irene Barnett's Blog

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Irene Barnett

Irene Barnett
Santa Barbara, California,
September 23
Wherein I share some personal information with you in the 3rd party voice of Morgan Freeman – please adjust your internal audio accordingly. Irene Barnett is a working co-parent of twin boys named Drew and Sean. Her partner in the lunacy of raising children is Jim, a lovely, mild-mannered balance to her impatience, irritability and general weirdness. Irene is currently making the rent by assuming the identity of a high-powered executive for a software consulting firm that is based out of Seattle while she really tries to live the life of a writer in Santa Barbara, CA. Check out more of her rants at

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JUNE 8, 2012 11:56AM

A Survivalist’s Guide to Talking to Kids

Rate: 12 Flag

I’ve never been a “kid” person really. I have no doubt that this has been evident to my children at times and will be the root of many sessions with a licensed therapist.

Maybe I’ve seen too many Stephen King movies or read The Turn of the Screw too many times, but I’ve never quite trusted that they will not kill me and eat my brains the moment I turn my back on them. It doesn’t help that I have twins, which everyone knows can’t end well.

So, I have compiled a little Quick Reference Guide for those of you who, like me, feel at least mildly uncomfortable around children. You may print this out and laminate it if you like.

  • Many people try to talk to kids as if they are adults. However, I choose to talk to them like they are tiny drunk adults.

  • Most kids are smarter than we give them credit for. This is scary for us because if it weren’t for their short stature and lack of organizational skills, we would be their slaves.

  • Don’t feel bad if you come across a kid you don’t like. They most likely shot out of the womb of adults you also don’t like.

  • Only let your kids play with kids whose parents drink. I don’t think I even need to explain that one.

  • It’s OK to swear in front of kids – just spell out the words. This is my personal contribution to literacy in our nation.

  • Always wear earplugs and shin guards.

  • If you find yourself outnumbered by them at any time, refer back to your reading of Lord of the Flies in high school, ascertain who is positioning for alpha and take him or her out.

  • If the above doesn’t work, turn on any electronic device. You could turn on an empty blender and they will be mesmerized. It’s the great equalizer. And, I believe, the way they communicate with their mother ship.

  • You must always remember that children are lunatics. I don’t have a lot of first-hand experience with truly insane people but have watched several episodes of Hoarders and My Strange Addiction, which I believe makes me an expert in mental illness. My conclusion is that you just avert your eyes and back away. Most mental health professionals would probably agree with me.

So, follow these simple steps to get through the awkward years (1-18) and they grow up enough to be your drinking buddy or your dealer.

You’re welcome.


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twins, kids, family, satire, comedy

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I'm sharing this with my mommy-friends. I'm not a parent, but I know they will relate! Rated.
As Bill Cosby used to say when he still did Stand Up.

Insanity is hereditary -- you get it from your kids.

What a blast and the photo of the kids in "The Ipswitch Cuckoo" is awesome. Of course that's the color version and doesn't have that name, but that's the original story. You can trust me, because I was smart enough to only have one child.

No wondering, "Who did this?" As you stare at the pieces of your scientific calculator you pulled out of the garbage disposal. No mystery who stuck the key fob coated with peanut butter in your Rack Mounted Compact Disc Player. And if you should find odd scribblings in your papers that you're about to present to your peers at a technical conference, you can cover with, "My daughter loves me so much, she wanted to make my presentation more colorful," you can explain as you gently wipe at the grape jam and orange juice covering them.

Perfect. This explains a few things. Thank you eternally.
This is actually pretty advanced and solid advice. In fact, some of it science is working to corroborate. Very clever and funny. R
I think you're referring to the John Wyndham story "The Midwich Cuckoos", nite owl. It was filmed twice, in 1960 and 1995, both times under the name "The Village of the Damned". Great story!
Amusing stuff Irene. Asking them questions helps sometimes too.
Delightful. As a teacher I agree and oft utilize blenders to quiet them as I spell series of four letter words prior to drinking with their parents.
Watch out! One of these days those twins of yours will be literate adults who will read your columns. Plan counterattack now, before it's too late.
Haaaa! My daughter is 17 and I am still not used to the idea I have been responsible for another life....really!? What the Freak were those people thinking giving me that kid when I left the hospital?! Just because I birthed her does not mean I know how to change diapers or do the 5th grade "new math" homework.