I wrote the post I’ve resurrected below one year ago.
It’s a charming little trifle about my son’s increasingly bad behavior. Little did I know that what I thought, last May, was the onset of the terrible twos – though I even admit in the post that I might be a tad premature in that assessment – was nothing but a tiny preview of the hell to come, and of the abuse Mom and Buried and I were yet to face.
Now, a year later and a good three months into the real terrible deal, this post would probably make me laugh if I weren’t usually already crying.
I thought things were bad when I wrote this week’s Zombie Post, and today things are infinitely worse. And there’s no end in sight. Parenting FTW!
Original Post – Parent Abuse: Parenting’s Dirty Little Secret
Everybody has that one friend for whom they’re constantly making excuses.
“He’s not normally like this” or “He’s cool once you get to know him” or “He’s got a weird sense of humor.”
After a while, though, it starts to become apparent that despite your friendship, that’s an awful lot of caveats. Maybe it’s time for the guy to start taking some of the blame for his own behavior.
Lately, that’s how I feel about my son.
Despite the fact that I could quote Cape Fear ALL DAY LONG and just pretend I’m having a conversation with my toddler –
“I can out-learn you. I can out-read you. I can out-think you. I can out-philosophize you. And I’m gonna outlast you! ”
– that’s not what the title of this post refers to.
This post is about Other Parents and the way they use their experiences to scare you.
Kids are strange.
Even my own son, whom everyone thinks is my spitting image and who you’d assume shares some of my personality traits and interests, is alien to me in many ways.
Every day he does things that make no sense to me. Which should be good preparation for his teen years, when he’ll be into stuff I have no understanding of and he’ll hate stuff I love just because I love it. But his thought process is not yet that sophisticated and, therefore, might even be more honest.
Some of the stuff he hates he hates because he’s young and doesn’t know any better. Some of it is because he’s two and two-year-olds like to be jerks. And some of the stuff he likes he likes because he’s young and doesn’t know any better, some of it is because he has a little bit of Mom and Buried in him too, and some of it is because he’s as unique as a snowflake.
A snowflake I thought I knew.
In an effort to really sell the “terrible” in “terrible twos”, my son has become a very selfish, defiant and lazy guy. Lately, trying to get my son to do anything usually results in him screaming for five minutes.
We’re dealing with this stage as best we can, all the while reminding ourselves that it is just a stage (and if it’s not, there’s always military school) and all the while self-medicating ourselves into being excited that he’s learning how to express himself and grow more independent and have opinions, if you can call “no!” and “mine!” opinions.
He knows what he wants and he knows what he doesn’t want, and never the twain shall meet.
Since time-outs are so ineffective and cages and tranquilizers are frowned upon, we’ve had to resort to other methods to attempt to control the beast.
I remember when my son learned to say “No.” The moment haunts my dreams.
Much like the discovery of lying, when a child learns to say “no,” it’s another step on the road to having a teenager. Another step on the road from merely “keeping your offspring alive” to actually “raising a human being.” Another step on the road from having low blood pressure and a healthy head of hair to looking, and heart-attacking, like Roger Sterling.
As a new parent with grand ideas of how you’ll raise the perfect child and do everything right, you initially try to limit how often you say “no” in the hopes that your kid won’t pick up on its power and start wielding it himself. But he does. He certainly has in my house.
And now it’s no longer about avoiding no; it’s about reclaiming it. Because these days, the word is all his.
There are a lot of children’s stories about toys that yearn to become real. There’s the classic Disney flick Pinocchio, the melancholy children’s book “The Velveteen Rabbit” and the heartwarming and erotic Mannequin, starring silver-screen legend Andrew McCarthy.
These stories are all aimed at children, though some seem more appropriate for really, really dumb children (Mannequin). And there are plenty more in this vein. Oddly, there aren’t many toy-based stories for adults (unless you count porn).
But the lack of such stories for grown-ups makes sense. As a parent, it’s not often that I wish one of my son’s toys would become real, though it would be fun to pummel the life out of a flesh-and-blood Elmo.
On the other hand, I do occasionally wish my son would become a toy. At least there’d be less shit to clean up.
My son likes to play this game called “Give Mommy and Daddy a heart attack!”
The rules are simple: he goes about his normal, everyday business, and Mom and Buried and I freak out at every stupid and dangerous thing he does.
Obviously, it’s not as fun for us.
Having a kid changes your life in many ways, and not always good ones.
One of the reasons I started this blog was to vent about the irritating ways my son’s existence has forced me to alter my own and to show the world that having kids doesn’t need to change everything. Yes, becoming a parent definitely changes capital-E Everything, but it doesn’t have to change little-e everything.
So far, Mom and Buried and I have done a pretty good job of maintaining some semblance of our old lives even as the constant, daily, inescapable presence of a (now) toddler has forced us to make certain adjustments. Certain inconvenient and annoying adjustments.
We’ve been doing okay. But we haven’t been able to avoid every headache.
I’ve seen my wife get angry before, believe me.
I’m a guy, she’s a girl, we’ve had our share of disagreements. I’ve heard her yell, seen her scowl, watched her throw stuff. Guys do guy things, women are insane; it is what it is. Every single guy on earth knows what I’m talking about. Right, John Wayne Bobbitt? Andre Rison? Chaz Bono?
But Mom-rage is different than Wife- or Girlfriend-rage. And the first time you see your wife get angry at your kid? Yikes.