Alex DeSpain

True Parent 4

Parent to Parent

Dancing on the Edge

Ask the Parent!

Sanity-Saving Air Travel Tips!

Why Talk About God?

Two Kids are L’il Angels. Two are L’il Devils.

A Lack of Education

When my first child was on the way, I had no shortage of advice at my disposal. Books and websites and YouTube videos gave me answers to all sorts of questions, from “What’s the best swaddling technique?” to “Oh dear god! Why is tar coming out of my baby’s butt?”

What I was not prepared for, however, was playing with my child. Specifically, the sheer mind-numbing monotony of playing the same games over... and over... (and over... and over...) day in and day out.

With my first daughter, a repeat offender was a toy aimed at improving motor skills. By pushing five different shapes, various animals—a lion, a rabbit, an elephant, etc.—would pop up to her (never-ending) surprise and delight. It was her favorite toy, and I came to despise it with the heat of a thousand suns.

My daughter’s obsession with this toy—and other similarly mesmerizing playthings—all shared the similar trait of repetition... which may be necessary for kids, but absolutely stultifying for parents. And while I like to think of myself as a patient dad, it wasn’t long into my parenting life when the selfish need to shatter the monotony of playtime began to overshadow the joys of interacting with my child. I was, essentially, starting to lose my marbles—often while dumping marbles out of a bag and putting them back again.

And then, one afternoon, while my wife was powering through the latest tome required by her book club, I stumbled across a relic from my pre-parent life: a small glass pipe that still had a few scraps of leaf in it. I slipped outside and fired up.

I should pause here to note that I’ve never been a particularly heavy weed smoker. Even now that it’s becoming legal, I’m much more of a weed dabbler than a Cheech and/or Chong. But the light baking I gave myself that afternoon made my parental self see pot in a whole new light. Suddenly, the pop-up toy no longer terrorized me. Repeatedly building towers of blocks for ceremonial toppling wasn’t a chore. Dumping out the bag of marbles over and over again was actually fun.

I n other words, when it came to playing with my daughter, a pinch of weed made me a more engaged, more attentive parent. I was more on her wavelength, to dust off some hippie slang.

Now, before Child Protective Services fires up its SWAT team (they have those, right?), I want to make clear that while that first blaze of inspiration wasn’t the last, I didn’t regularly fire up before playing with my child. I certainly don’t condone being a raging pothead while parenting.

But for me at least, a touch of pot now and then helped me focus on, and often times connect better with, my daughters. I’m pretty sure even Nancy Reagan would approve of that outcome.