Brad the Dad  Mock Advice Column (from 1988)

I wonder about Bobbi.  She's learned to drive the car, and she's only 3.
    I wonder also.  She is apparently kinesthetically gifted, since she must crawl down to the gas pedal to make the car go, and then climb up and stand to see where she's going.
I think cruise control could help her driving enormously...

Since I lost my job, Marilyn has been supporting the family.  I cook, wash the dishes, and read a lot of books to the toddlers.  I'm afraid I don't project the right image of a father to my children.
    You need my latest book, Macho Homemaking, featuring chapters on aerobic cooking and baby Marine drills.  It may help your image to wear a uniform as well. Avoid watching soap operas and you'll be okay, buster.

Is a bassinet essential to a baby's layette?
    Only in France.  In America we prefer basset hounds, those misbegotten beagles who will like the baby clean, as well as supply ears sufficient to dry them.

We are considering natural childbirth.  What do you think?
    I think it is the best alternative until test-tube culturing is perfected.  Even then, natural insemination will probably be preferred...
Where do the holes in gumballs come from?
You must have a 3 year old, or be one yourself, thus it is important to answer this question, or you will be haunted by it all your life...  The sad truth is that third world children are paid to sit in subzero freezers to blow tiny soap bubbles which instantly freeze.  Other workers sort them for size and hold them under a stream of molten chicle trickling from a pipe in the ceiling.  When cool, the balls are painted by hand, and given to the alien masters who fly off to shopping malls around the world to dispense them to unwary children.
How do I keep my baseboards from molding?
Baseboards are  a form of molding.  Real wood when wet will invariably mold with massage of time.  Plastic baseboards are no solution, as they are molded already at the factory. Perhaps you should move to Arizona...

Why do we have to pay more to buy jeans that are worn out and even have holes in them?
What? You think we shouldn't pay all those third world kids to wear the jeans until they have achieved the proper look?  

Our 3 year old was told we were saving the fireworks until the 4th of July.  Now he wants to save everything for "ly" as he calls it.  I can't get near the chocolate cake, cherries, or watermelon.  It will soon be August.
You should encourage thrift from an early age.  Just put that cake on the shelf and ask him every couple weeks if he's ready to share it yet.
What is the best way to unlock a closet from the inside?  My children said they would mail this for me.
It sounds like you have a discipline problem  I expect the time there has caused you to reflect on your behavior which led to this unfortunate accident.  Next time, give them the ice cream before dinner they had requested.
We have raised our kids on granola and whole wheat, but when we go to the grandparents, it's twinkie city.  What can we do?
It's really difficult to get grandparents to eat an adequate diet.  It's amazing you're still alive, considering how you grew up on it.  Try giving your parents designer gift boxes of oat bran and brewer's yeast.  I bet they'll think of something to do with it!
We have three children, and at any moment two of them don't want to do what we have planned for a good time.  How can we change?
Perhaps your idea of a good time is different from theirs.  There's always the odd one in the bunch who wants to go with you to the tax audit, but generally they prefer to go to Disneyland.  Offer them options: Do you want to go to Grandma's, or to a lecture on needlepoint?  Do you want to go to church, or study economics?

Sally eats crayons.  Dick says he's going to tell.  What should I do?  Jane.
et Spot to take the rap.  If Dick does tell, have Sally grab Puff and some cookies and split.  Lay low till the heat is off...

My child takes great pleasure in mixing up everything in the kitchen cupboards she can get her hands on.  What a mess!  What can I do?
hilren need to make messes.  We child scientists call this experimentation.  As an adult, she will be able to truly experiment, creating exciting new substances and the resulting toxic wastes.  Be glad you can still safely flush it down the sink.
What is the best way to get a reluctant baby to burp?
You might try taking the child horseback riding.  If allowed to coo or gurgle to a baby counselor, it may also divulge the emotional reasons it finds burping a painful experience. However it will probably enjoy the rid more, and if you ride long enough, the baby will fall asleep, which is all you relaly wanted it to do in the first place.

Is it necessary to bathe a baby daily?
Babies are not plants, and do not require daily soaking for good growth.  Babies are quite capable of watering themselves, and sometimes their parents and Aunt Susie.  However, they also produce their own fertilizer, and in such cases extra water doesn't hurt.
Is it beter to be strict or permissive in raising children?
favor the consistent approach.  If my child throws food on the floor, I insist that it follow through to the natural consequences and throw all the food on the floor.  The other children join in as well, and we have fun together.

How can I find a good babysitter?
In most cases there's no one better to watch the children than mom and dad.  Now you can contact Rent-a-Clone, a company which produces genetic copies of you to keep in the closet until you need a babysitter.  Be warned, though.  They will not replace workaholic parents.  The clones of workaholics invariably wander off and do something else.

What's there to do on a rainy day?
Play quietly with coloring books, encouraging your parent to take a nap.  Then, in the largest room of the house,  gently move all the furniture into a pile  resembling the Great Pyramid of Giza.  You can play king of the mountain, or all kinds of games till your parent wakes up.
My two-year-old refuses to eat everything on her plate.  What can I do?
Your child's taste buds are just beginning to develop.  Most likely you are not offering sufficent quality of food.  Try buying the most expensive brands  of food for a change.  If she leaves some strained squash on her plate, try crab legs on her, or some French cuisine.  Keep a can of caviar handy, if all else fails.  Remember, just because you were raised on jars of baby food, don't assume the same mundane life for your child.
What is the best pet for a child?
The gazelle is fleet of foot, able to leap over attacking lions or tailpulling two-year-olds.  It eats low on the food chain, and is an item of conversation in any apartment.  It is wise to have them dehorned...

My two-year-old got the car keys and screams if I try to take them away from him.  What shall I do?
Either the child wants to go to the beach, or wants you to quit your job.  Perhaps he is concerned about the environmental degradation caused by overuse of autos.  Grab the keys firmly and yell "Mine!" at him.  I wonder what he'll say to that...

Is puberty preventable?  My teenager drives me crazy.
Both two year olds and teenagers certainly could use an immunization against the outrages of their ages.  For parents, the behavior of two-year-olds innoculates them for the problems of adolescents, but unfortunately the effects wear off before the teen years hit.  My advice is to wear headphones and listen to loud music. Then you'll have some common ground.
Once Johnny learned to ride a bike, there was no stopping him.  He's been gone for 3 days now, so now what?
First check your charge cards.  If none are missing, check your local BMX racing track.  Many kids end up going round and round the track indefinitely.  Perhaps it prepares them for adulthood
Where do kids' hairstyles come from?
Despite frequent claims of demonic origin, all popular hairstyles for males since 1950 are the creation of Pierre Lamod and his mother Marie.  She greased his hair back in childhood, unable to afford a scissors, setting the trend for the 50's.  In 1962, she found a pair, cutting everything below the mixing bowl rim, and it was discovered when the Beatles came to France to learn to sing "Michelle."  She then lost the scissors, leading to the hippie era.  Since then she's tried razors, hedge shears, you name it...
Should 4-year-olds be given chores?
It is important to establish a sense of self-esteem in children, so I always urge them to accept the responsibility of chores.  Your 4-year-old can change the oil in your car, refinish your furniture, even choose colors for your new drapes, and take a lot of the drudgery out of your life...
What's the best way to travel with small children?
I recommend travel in a 14 X 70 mobile home, which has many of the conveniences of home.  It often is the home of families of  5 or more, while the widowed grandparents live alone in four bedroom ranchers.  Anyway, I prefer to drive the pilot car with the "wide load" sign, leaving the rest of the family in the tow truck.
How do I feed on a regular  schedule?
Although grazing is increasingly common, a standard 3 meals a day will keep you properly scheduled.  If you're busy, you can aarange for three pizzas a day at regular times.  If you're talking about keeping a baby on a schedule, forget it, at least until it can eat pizzas.
My one-and-a-half year old smears food all over her face. She seems to enjoy it.  How do we encourage her to use her mouth?
At that age, babies absorb food by osmosis through the skin.  The mouth is reseerved for thumbs, nuks, and other similarly shaped appendages.  Unfortunately, high chairs, walls, and tables also absorb food by osmosis, but don't digest it.  This is the real problem

My two-year-old seems cheerful and friendly until she doesn't get her own way.  Then she gets terribly angry.  Is this schizophrenia?
Yes, schizophrenia is more common than you'd think.  The same thing occurs commonly in teenagers as well, and I feel the same way myself.  All we can do is support the free market system, insuring that everybody can do everyting they want, at any time.

My child seems to live in a fantasy life, and just playes with the briefcase I bought him for Christmas.  How can I get him interested in investment portfolios?
It is best to introduce the adult world in the form of roleplaying games.  Dump out the wastebaskets.  Your child can be an SEC investigator, and you can play an insider trader, and he can sort through the piles of paper for evidence.  Perhaps you won't even have to pretend...

I feel guilt about how much time my job takes me away from my family.  What can I do?
I know how you feel.  My important occupation takes away valuable minutes from time spent with my 3 children--Rose, Forrest, and um, the other one.  My advice is to quit your present job and open a daycare in your home. You'll see lots of everybody.

Why does my 3 year old ask questions all the time?  How can I maintain my sanity?
What are you, 3 years old yourself?  How should I know?  Why don't you ask him?  Or her?  Don't you tell him everything?  Why do you ask me?