DAD: I don’t think we should ever talk about feelings.
DAD: I’ll take the greatest number of photographs of her when she’s in her most awkward stage, right in the depths of puberty.
MOM: Good idea. I’ll make sure to send them to all our immediate and all our somewhat distant family and friends. Oh, and make sure you forget your camera the one night in her life that Billy Sherman talks to her, so that no proof exists of said event.
DAD: Got it.
DAD: We should talk very loudly about the truth about Santa Claus.
MOM: Yes, and let’s not make any attempt whatsoever to disguise Santa’s handwriting from our own.
MOM: Let’s make sure we avoid the topic of sex so masterfully and so consistently that she begins to wonder if it’s something made up by people on TV.
DAD: Good idea. Let’s also ignore the existence of any of her long-term boyfriends, no matter how harmless, awkward, and acne-prone they are.
MOM: She should never have to worry about money, especially when she’s young.
DAD: I agree. That way, she can spend all her time worrying about us getting a divorce.
DAD: When I teach her to ride a bike, I will tell her that my hand is on the seat, but then I will take it away just as she is getting the hang of it.
MOM: That will not turn out well.
MOM: I’ll make sure to give her a haircut that matches mine. Mine in 1972, that is.
DAD: Great. I’ll wear an awkward comb-over.
DAD: I think I’ll always be a little bit weirder than necessary around her friends. Especially the “cool” ones who are just over to copy notes for Ms. Reardon’s AP Physics midterm.
MOM: Sounds good. I’ll always talk one decibel louder than a normal person.
DAD: She will beg us to get a dog for many, many years.
MOM: And I will repeatedly tell her how I am allergic to animal hair.
DAD: You will wear a fur coat.
MOM: Whenever she does something that really upsets me, I’ll always make sure to tell her that “her grandmother is rolling over in her grave.”
DAD: Even though we will cremate her.
DAD: I will demonstrate a total lack of understanding of the proper grammatical way to use quotation marks, and sign every birthday card with “Love.”
MOM: That will keep her on her toes.
MOM: I think the most important thing is that we will criticize her, no matter what she does or who she becomes.
DAD: And that she knows we criticize her just as much as we criticize each other.
DAD: Let’s not give her a little brother or sister.
MOM: No. That might function as some sort of coping mechanism.
MOM: We can’t take her on those classic but trite kid vacations that every other child in the Western world gets to experience, like trips to Disneyland.
DAD: No, for she will gain great popularity and respect from her second-grade classmates when she wears her “I Went to Vermont and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt Made From 100% Recycled Compost-Heap Materials” T-shirt.
DAD: We should always give her what she wants.
MOM: That way, we can hold it against her when she’s older and can finally provide for herself.