Is He Kidding?

No, really, I'm asking. I'd feel a whole lot better about this Neil Pollack essay at (subscription or free "day-pass" required) if he were. In "When Toddlers Get Fired," Pollack laments the fact that his 2-yr-old son has been expelled from pre-school for repeatedly biting his classmates --to the point of drawing blood. But it's not the fact that his son thinks he's a T-Rex that bothers him.
On the drive home, Regina and I could barely keep from weeping. Our respective families were 1,000 miles away in either direction. We were terrified at the prospect of a summer without help. The irony was that we don't have the $1500 it would have cost to warehouse Elijah through September, so we might have had to pull him out anyway. But now we've been forced into the challenge of caring for a smart, stubborn, high-strung 2-year-old. We love him very much, but that's not the kind of work either of us wants, at least not full time.

Later his wife says
"I don't want to spend all summer with him! He's difficult! He's a difficult child! He wants too much from me. And you're going to go crazy if he's around all the time. Our marriage always suffers when he's home!"

The irony is that Pollack himself hits on the solution to the biting, if he'd only see it.
They were putting him in timeout at school, but he didn't seem to mind that, either, because it was one of the rare times he got individual attention.

I think it's the saddest and most shocking thing I've ever seen in print. There's not a parent in the world who hasn't had a moment --or many moments-- of wanting desperately to get off the island, but you conquer yourself and move on --you don't turn it into a lifestyle.

What's worse is the incredible number of Salon readers who wrote in to defend Pollack and denounce the "drive-by parents" who initially wrote in to criticize. One thread of feedback claims Pollack's only kidding. I've re-read the piece twice, though, and while it starts out possibly funny, when he hits the complaints about inadequate child-care, I think he's gotta be in earnest. And his defense of himself on his own website makes it clear that "government must save parents from their kids" is a hobby-horse for him.

Me, I wouldn't know where to stop if I started drive-by parenting on him, but I agree with the friend who sent me the column in the first place.
But what really creeps me out is the parents' attitude, beginning with the "summer of hell" reference in the title. The father's attitude toward his son: I think he hates his son. The parents first seem in complete denial of their kid's dysfunction ("every kid has issues"), and then they come right out and say they have no desire to deal with their kid, and whine because they can't "warehouse" him at some school and make other people deal with him. "Dealing with him" in this case means putting up with their kid biting, drawing blood, regularly. And this strikes them as completely unfair.
And then the guy writes this article, referring to his child in these terms, and actually signs his name to it. Imagine this kid reading this article a few years from now.

Yeah. Salon documents changes it makes to articles, and you can read that when first put up, Pollack referred to his son as "that little s---." I really hope he's kidding. Anyone want to adopt a cute 2-yr-old?