NME’s Columnist Katherine Ryan On Parenting: ‘I’ve Decided That I’m Completely Rock’N’Roll’

I’ve decided that I’m completely rock’n’roll. A journalist asked me recently, “What’s the most rock’n’roll thing you’ve ever done?” Well, I know that Keith Richards snorted his father’s ashes. Is that just a really sad and potentially carcinogenic way a grieving son tries to get close to his dead relative or is it the very definition of rock’n’roll? If it is, I accidentally brushed my teeth after my dad had just mistaken my toothbrush for his own. I could taste that it was still minty and wet so I confronted my sister before my dad confessed to his error. I didn’t clean my mouth with my father’s spit on purpose, and I cried for a good 15 minutes afterwards, but I think I would have made the Rolling Stone proud.

I’m from North America, where the men are routinely circumcised, though I doubt I’d ever get my own son done. “The other kids will make fun of him for being different, Katherine.” “What if your future husband wants his son circumcised?” First of all, what future husband, playa? Secondly, there’s no d*ck that I want bad enough that I’d hurt an innocent baby to get to it. Full stop.

I am an undisputed gangster. To me, that means playing by my own rules. As an attachment parent, people often ask how I was able to potty train my daughter before her first birthday. I’ve never properly explained that before, so if you’re interested in saving the world from nappy waste and being a smug hero in your own local National Childbirth Trust group, here’s how that went down.

Think about it – by putting children in nappies, we are training them to go in their pants. Just when they get used to it, we change everything and say, “Actually mate, you’re going to do that on the toilet now.” Toddlers, being natural born gangsters themselves, are like, “nope,” and then you’ve got a fight on your hands. My daughter wore standard nappies as a newborn. But when she started on solid foods, I could see in her face when she needed to poop. I’d whip her onto the potty as quickly as possible, then celebrate after she’d been. In addition, she’d be rewarded with about an hour of nappyless nudity. Bliss.

She was my only friend at the time, so I learned British sign language and taught it to her so that we could communicate. Babies know what you’re saying before they can speak, so all you have to do is sign while you’re talking to them as you normally would. Violet could sign 30 words by the time she was seven months old. Just the basics really: how to ask for the potty (so that I no longer had to anticipate the poop face), apple, drink, mummy, milk, inside, outside, cold, hot, tired, careful, vodka, Beyoncé, Tinder, ISIS. She slept in my bed every night, despite my grandmother’s warnings that this would somehow kill us both. I breastfed her until she was two years old because I am also very much against human babies drinking milk that is meant for baby cows, although Jeremy Clarkson thinks breastfeeding is “just like urination”.

To answer your question, journalist man, the most rock’n’roll thing I’ve ever done is use instinct alone to make a little woman feel safe, articulate and empowered before releasing her into a world that tries to take those gifts away. Question everything.

Pure gangster.