I'M 28 YEARS OLD. It's no longer weird when people my age have kids. It used to give me the major weirds, as the sheer maturity of that situation threatened my perpetual adolescence.
There was a point, early in my 20s, when the only people I knew who had kids were either really into Jesus, or really into stealing the copper wiring from high schools that were shut down for summer break. No longer. It's normal for people my age to have kids, and EVEN THOUGH THE EARTH IS OVERPOPULATED AND WE'RE RAPIDLY LEACHING OUR NATURAL RESOURCES TO THE POINT THAT THE VERY IDEA OF OUR SPECIES IS UNSUSTAINABLE THE WORLD IS A VAMPIRE SET TO DRAI-EEEYAAAA-EEEEEYAAAAAAIN, it's going to start becoming weird that I DON'T have kids. While I'm still in this grace period, let me, a single 28-year-old, give some advice on raising kids.
I grew up middle-class in Beaverton. Middle-class might not be entirely accurate. I grew up upper-middle-class, I think. I know I grew up upper-middle-class because we always had nice mustard. If you're in an economic situation where you buy nice mustard, then you know you're doing well. If you can look at that grocery store-brand mustard, the kind that comes out of the bottle like a child being born—where the water breaks and the mustard slowly follows afterward—and shun that mustard in favor of the good mustard, the kind with the seeds that almost seems like it's good for you, then you're very comfortable economically. The other reason I know we were doing well was, after high school, my parents told me to "go out there and make some mistakes." GO OUT THERE AND MAKE SOME MISTAKES. THERE WAS A PERIOD IN MY LIFE WHERE I DENIED THE REALITY OF WHITE PRIVILEGE. HOW? If your parents tell you to go make some mistakes, you're upper-middle-class. I don't care how much money your family has. Parents—do not tell your kids to go make some mistakes. Kids will make mistakes. Luckily, I was a boring dork of a kid, so my mistake was starting an improv group and naming it after a Gus Van Sant film (My Own Private Improv). Telling your kid who's had everything handed to them to make some mistakes is how Brandon gets two boating while intoxicateds.
Also, stop dressing your kid like he's opening for the Thermals. They're a kid. Dress them in a T-shirt with a fat giraffe on it. If you dress your kid up like a weed dealer, I'm going to try to buy weed from them. Actually, you'd probably be into that. "Three people tried to buy pot from Zydeco at Laurelhurst. Gotta go, he's late for pinball class."
Finally, I can't take anymore of this parental braggadocio. I know they're your kid and you should be proud, but this arms race is going too far. "Schuyler is only three and he's already reading Melville. We wanted to start him on simpler fare like The Outsiders, but he insisted...." "Oh, well, Juniper is playing a show with Storm Large this weekend, and I'm pretty sure she's the only two-year-old to ever play a show with Storm Large, probably because I drank ground-up Baby Einstein CDs while she was breastfeeding." "Oh, well, I'm still pregnant with my son, the Flaming Lips, but I've been putting unsolved Rubik's Cubes in my vagina, and they come out solved, so...." STOP THE MADNESS. On the other hand, I'm writing this naked, drunk, and three feet from a Tupperware container of spaghetti that's been out all night and I'm still going to eat it... so maybe just follow your heart.