I write a LOT about parenting. Usually in states of bewilderment or gripes because while it’s a beautiful thing to experience (NOT) it is REPLETE with pitfalls, second-guessing oneself and for me: a usually irresistible urge to flip someone off.
I know plenty of people who have kids and extol the experience to the heavens and can’t imagine a time when their little princesses and princes didn’t seamlessly fit into their lives, But the Bell Curve being what it is, there are plenty of us out there who go through various levels of WTF-ing pretty much throughout entire parenting process.
For the most part, once you get over the notion that there is no returning this particular gift, is when you can get down to brass tacks and start the actual process of parenting.
And while amongst the people who are co-parenting together, there will be a fly-off-the-handle person vs a I-won’t-fly-off-the-handle-and-you-can’t-make-me person, the facts remain that until your kid does something that you never expected, you don’t have a response that will either have a) a desired effect of teaching a child a behaviour that is acceptable or b) come back and bite you in the ass at the most inopportune time.
Child-rearing for me has largely been divided into TWO major parts for till now: I. where I was in control and II. where the control has slipped and the slippery slope it’s on is unending.
This is not to say I have an immensely difficult child. I have a HUGELY expressive child who Red and I have encouraged to be curious, expressive and be friendly with us. And therein lies the rub. Because once you open the stable door to the “Be-Friends-With-Your-Kids” stall, the “You’re-My-Friend-And-Not-My-Boss-So-You-Can-Suck-It horse bolts and catching it is TOUGH!!
I have a beautiful child. He’s pretty. Has long lashes, a cute face and was generally considered a damn cute kid even by those who don’t fawn over kids to the extent of inducing nausea in others. And I LOVED every single atom in his body. Even down to the stinky-diaper covered bits.
But then he started growing up. I thought it would be great fun! Mother and son colouring like we were tripping on shrooms, laughing, dancing and generally having those memorable moments you like to look back at and beam proudly at. Instead so many days go by when I think, “Dang, again? Screw it..I’ll just spend the day doing virtual retail therapy and living in the Kindle world because it’s nicer there and no one gives me attitude!”
And that in a nutshell is what life with a pre-teen, teen and often a young adult child shapes up to be. You don’t entirely know where you took a wrong turn in your parenting journey; just that while you still love the kid down to his atoms; you wouldn’t mind throwing a pie in his face and cackling like an evil witch because he is kinda hard to like every, single, damn day!
What is also pretty hard to do after a particular age is the recalibration of one’s self, personality, reactivity to issues because you can’t stay who you were while parenting. Not entirely anyhow. And those who claim that “nothing’s changed at all!” are either getting paid by Pampers and other baby/ kiddy product companies to have loving smiles pasted on their faces but the rest of us know the dark truth- Once you have kids…you go to the dark side. And pretty much end up camping there for good.
Because while the kids are still evolving, you have largely evolved but will need to devolve to some extent to get to a place where toothpaste on top of the shower cubicle isn’t a reason to freak out and don your best gormless look. Where impromptu hair and eyelash cuts aren’t a weird thing, where creepy crawlies are plush toys your kid hugs while sleeping and where every problem is solvable (temporarily) with a healthy dose of Netflix and eating like a human vacuum cleaner.
So you do the same dance every day where you talk, talk and talk and they don’t listen, dance around while they should be paying attention and basically acting like life’s an endless Spring Break! Occasionally you go silent because it seems pointless to be in a S.S.N.D kind of situation but then comes a small hand on your shoulder and they agree to play ball…just for a bit though…and you grab on and hope you can make it last!