When your child goes missing …. or hide and seek level 42

 

I saw a note on Facebook about a mom (Lisa-Marie) who received a call that her daughter was absent, when the mom had dropped the child at school.  Her daughter is in Grade 1 — it’s not like she could have decided to go and hang out at Forever 21 for the day.  She is 6.

Mom has a cardiac arrest and spends the next two hours breathing into an old McDonalds brown bag.

It reminded me of an incident with Connor that happened a few years ago.

I get to after care and I look for Connor, who is no where to be found.  I walk up to to the sign in sheet and notice he hasn’t signed in.

It is just after 17h00 and he would have signed in by 14h20.

I ask the after care teachers where he is — they say, they don’t know.

I can feel a full on “episode” coming on, but I am trying to look calm and control my facial features.  Already I have visualised the call I will make to nearest and dearest about the fact that somehow I managed to lose my oldest child and now he is dead.

I sort of started speaking in that slightly hysterical voice and saying “well where is he — he is meant to be at aftercare?”

I think the teachers could smell the impending poes collapse, they also came to look at the sign in sheet and agreed he hadn’t signed in.

Thanks, I am missing a child, not fucking suffering from retinal fucking detachment.

I start to go outside and call for him — which is one step further up the ladder of insanity as after 17h00 all the kids are inside.  So if he was outside I would not actually need to call for him — because he would be alone on the playground.  Unless he was Casper.  Then he would be on the playground and I would need to call him.

I started phoning a few of the usual suspects — again keeping it light and fucking breezy, when I was freaking the fuck out — “so, is there any chance you fetched Connor from school today….?” “no…” “okay…” “no, no problem — just a matter of him not being here and no one knows where he is … but other than that, it’s all thumbs up over here”  “yes, of course we are still on for the braai …. no worries…”

So now I am in full blown panic disorder territory, but I am still trying to look vaguely normal.

After care teachers do not feel comfortable when a mom is going fucking insane in the aftercare when little children are watching.

I swear if one more fucking teacher looked at that sign in sheet I was going to murder her with the clipboard the sign-in sheet was on.  I am not missing a signature — I am missing a child.  Similiar, but one is slightly larger and less likely to fit in a 10cm line space.

At this point I realised I was the only one here who was fully understanding the situation and I started to do that frantic run you do over the school grounds, when you think your child has been snatched.

If you haven’t experienced it yet, then I can highly recommend it.

Not only do you run faster than you ever thought you could, but you manage to learn to pray, string swear words together and start to plead with your imaginary maker —- it is all quite something.  I was having religious epiphanies, planning a funeral, deciding on an epitaph ….. it was all quite exhilarating.   I am not sure if this is that “moment” that runners feel when they are in the zone, it is hard to say.

I eventually found Connor down at the cricket nets —- his friend was not in after care.  Connor and Devin had decided they were going to play cricket till their moms arrived.  Devin’s mom knew where her son was —- my son was not where he was meant to be.

Connor of course forgot the key part of informing his mom or after care.

I can’t explain to you the relief you feel when you find your alive child at the school and not dead or in the back of a black panel van with tinted windows, with four dodgy blokes.

{my imagination and hysteria have very particular details to them}

At the same time that the relief endorphins move through your body, the other “I am fucking going to kill you” hormones make their way to your eye balls, mouth, and hands and you seriously want to fucking kill that child.

Right there.  Right then. Fuck epitaphs.

I screamed at Connor like I have never done before.  I think kids two fucking schools away learnt a valuable lesson that day. “Sign in to fucking aftercare like we fucking agreed ….” My fuck filter was totally off that day.

Connor couldn’t grasp why I was acting like a unhinged person — he had a cricket bat in his hand.  I felt an over riding urge to take the cricket bat and have a go at his knees.

For the next two days I kept looking at him with a sense of relief …. and then an immediate urge to beat the living shit out of him.

Parenting is super fun.  I don’t recommend it.  Get a dog — they usually leave you after 14 years and that is about just enough time to get attached to them, like them, and not have to get angry with them because they are going to steal the car and drink all your beer.

#greatparentingmoments

#fuckthisparentingmalarkey

#greatparents

#whymomsdrink

#daydrinking

#hideandseek

#hideandseekloser

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I am not a hooter.

I am not a hooter.  Hitting my hooter in the traffic is just not really something that I do.  It is usually because when an event occurs in the traffic where a sharp honk of the horn is the right, and only reaction, I usually cannot find the “hooter” spot on my steering wheel.

By the time I have, the event is long over, the idiot has crossed three lanes, and exited the highway and is sitting down with his chai-tea somewhere reading his YOU Magazine.

For some reason Connor wants me to be less afraid of my hooter.

He has taken it upon himself to point out incidents in traffic where he feels it would be appropriate to use my hooter.

He has recently taken to leaning over from the passenger seat and honking the horn on my behalf, which I find rude and an invasion of my space.

The way I get him back is now I hoot for him when he is standing with a group of his friends and it is obvious he (and all his friends) can see me.  Then I hoot at him.  And wave frantically like a Stepford Wife.  It’s sometimes the small victories that get us through the day.

Anyway on Friday there was an incident on the N1, and some jerk off cut in front of me.

I usually scream some expletive and then carry on with my life.  Connor felt we had been wronged and tried to be a passenger hooter.

He again admonished me for my lack of hooting prowess and I had to sit for the lecture.

I explained to him that hooting is the equivalent of walking somewhere and when someone does something that annoys you, you SCREAM at them.  Loudly.

I said that because there are a lot of people around you, you are really not going to scream at that person – its just not done.  You will swallow your anger, and no doubt purchase a chocolate and slam that into your face instead.

If the person is a total royal doos {for my 3 non-SA readers:  afrikaans word meaning “vagina” — but it is one of those words that in it’s self encompass someone being a total toss off} then you would scream at them, but they would need to be a TOTAL DOOS for you to scream at them in a public place.

Connor goes, “but you scream at us” — I said “I do scream at you, because in my normal voice no one seems to be able to hear me…” Connor says: “no, we hear you…..”

I thought that was the end of the conversation — but from the back of the car Isabelle pitches in: “We aren’t dooses and you scream at us….”

She then went on to use the word “doos” in every possible context – all of them being correct – until we got home.

I did not achieve much today, but I did teach my children the right use of the word “doos” … it’s not much of a win, but I will take it.

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Parenting …. no one tells you about when they get pubic hair ….

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Parenting is a very tense relationship.  With adjustments and readjustments and basically some shitty times, with some cool instagram photographs thrown in to keep you mildly sane.

Often you forget it is tense and you lie on the couch and go to sleep.  You will be forced awake (stuff jabbed in your eye, a child on top of you, the cat using you as a clawing post ….. kids screaming and fighting) and then you will start to rethink this entire “relationship” and why you got in to it, and how you can get out of it.

You will imagine various scenarios that usually include leaving your kids with your parents.  Or just plain leaving them on a corner somewhere.

When I say “leaving them with” I mean dropping them off in the dead of the night.  With a sticker stuck to them with instructions like “Feed this one Pronutro, check that teeth are brushed, check she is wearing panties ….. no matter how “like a princess” you dress her, she will look like a thug when you collect her from school.  No I do not know where the clothing is that fits her has gone either.”

You keep thinking you have survived or at the very least just got the hang of this parenting malarkey when your children will present a new facet you were not expecting, and ill prepared for.

Maybe I just have not read the notes on this section of parenting ….. that What to Expect when you are ….. sort of drops off in the toddler years.

Guys there is an entirely area here you should get your shit together on.  What to Expect … The Teenage Years.

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Connor is turning 14 in December.   Needless to say he has been 13 for far too many months already.

It feels like last week when he was 9 and he agreed with me most of the time.  His feet did not smell like a chemical experiment involving sulphur and he actually spent time outside of his room – he was polite, and a sweet sweet boy.

This year he has given me a clear insight in how parenting a teenage child is going to go.

Or the alternate but more apt heading “How I am failing at parenting a teen…”

It has not been pretty.   I have not come out of this process covered in glory, in any way.

It has led me to screaming, talking really loud, using pauses to prevent him answering back like “AND AND AND AND …… AND” and basically with what ever we were talking about getting so blown out of proportion that eventually I can’t even remember where I stand on an issue.  Or what we were arguing about.

I am fucking exhausted.

The problem with the exhaustion/feeling defeated is that I am waiting for every conversation to escalate into this screaming, arms waving and door slamming conclusion.

Connor and I have been fighting like maniacs for the last few months.  It feels like since last year to be honest.

If I say something is white, then he will counter it is black and then will try to convince me of his view point.

I do know that “Just fucking do what I told you to do because I am the fucking parent.  OKAY!” Is not the most winning statement one can make as the parent, but holy shit balls, sometimes (too often I am afraid) I lose my shit.  Like lost.  Like the series LOST.  That far gone.

I try and remain reasonable.  I try and remain calm.

But there is only so much backwards and forwards I can endure before I start to look for cakes to throw out the weekend.

We have had a sad shortage of cakes in our home.  I might be going with some Ultra Mel Custard in a carton soon. That one is going to not only need the strong throw, but it needs that propulsion follow through so it bursts as it hits the floor/concrete/dining table.

I am not sure I am on Custard Carton level as yet.

At one several point I thought “you know fuck this shit” and I started picturing packing up his clothing and what ever he needs to survive for the next few days.  Dropping/dumping him at Kennith’s house.

The fact that Kennith was not there at the time was a very small detail I was able and willing to overlook.

Kennith phoned shortly thereafter to ask me something totally arbitrary.  He got hit with the version of me that is screaming, sighing, spittle forming on my chin and basically at the point where I am willing to shift from a three child family to a two child family.

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I really was at the end …… the absolute end ….. the place were postcards are sent from …… end of this shit.

Kennith had Connor for the weekend and spoke to him —- I assume.  Connor came back and he was far better.  There was less fighting.  The respite was joyous.

He used to do me the favour of screaming at the girls for me, which I thought was rather endearing.

Then this weekend came along.  For various reasons I was feeling on edge and I just needed the shit to work, you know the stuff to get sorted, everyone to be at the right place at the right time in the right coloured underwear.

Connor was going to a birthday that I could not drop him off at.

I managed to organise my friend to drop him off.  Great.  He let me know that he was going to sleep over at another friend that night — I said fine, “take the bag that has been packed for you – take it with you to the party and then take it with you for the evening.”

There was no confusion there was only one bag.  And who had to take it.

I happen to go past the house, see the bag is there, pick it up and take it with me thinking I will drop it off at his friend’s home later.  I can’t work out why he would leave it, but this is Connor, he has left his school bag at home before.  On his way to school.

He goes to the party – and the mom drops him off at his evening sleep over place.  I am high fiving myself for a plan that seems to be working.

Then I start to get the SMS’s asking me to pack things in the bag …… that he should have with him.

The more I tell him that this is not going to happen (because I am not at home, and the bag is with me) the more the “please moms” start.  It goes on and on and I really start to develop a tick in my right hand eye.

He then escalates this to his school project and starts to ask me when this is going to be ready.

I made it clear from the outset he needed to build this project himself.  By himself, for himself.  He insisted on asking Wayne for assistance and I said no as Wayne has some other obligations and is not going to be able to do it.

He whinged and whined (no shock there) and I said that he needs to ask Wayne, and arrange it with him.  I am telling him not to, he is choosing to, and what ever happens is his problem.

Connor being Connor forgot to mention the project is due for Monday.  This is Saturday night.

He mentions it now in his messages.

I lose my shit.  Like. Shit.  Lost.

I realised I can no longer do messages, this requires a phone call.

I call Connor.  It is not a good conversation.  I am not screaming as much as talking really loud.

What we established is Connor does not have a hearing problem.

He clearly recalls that I told him NOT TO TRY TO GET Wayne to do this project.  What Connor is arguing is that I only told him ONCE!!

It appears once is not the right number.  I asked if he could give me the magic number of repeating myself over and over again …… I think he thought I was being a bit aggressive and told me I didn’t understand.

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It was just another situation that deteriorated into both of us feeling angry and hurt and not being heard by the other.

I was really angry.

The amount of planning and organising this day required was akin to the Normandy Invasion.  Then the one person you give the clear instruction of TAKE YOUR BAG THAT IS PACKED AND WAITING IN THE DINING ROOM does not, because he comes up with another plan.

The school project actually did my head in —- totally.  I was so spittle on my chin angry with him.

The problem with these things is as a third person you can offer really good advise as the person looking in, but as the one involved, you lose your sense, you lose perspective and you forget exactly how many years you get for murder.

On the drive home from school yesterday I had a little “it’s late but it is still related to Saturday because I was so freaking angry” explosion.

I drew some lines in the sand.  He still wanted to argue with me, and then I said the thing that you just don’t say to your child “SHUT UP” —- I actually said shut up to my kid.

I just wanted him to be quiet so I could tell him what I needed to tell him, instead of getting into a haggle about every point.  It was either telling him to “shut up” or me shoving a gag down his throat …..

Connor looked at me as if I had slapped him …… it wasn’t my finest hour in parenting.  I have to return the rosette best parenting award on Thursday.

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If anyone tells you the most difficult part of parenting is choosing the nursery linen, deciding on breast or formula, and working out whether co-sleeping is a good idea.  Laugh.  Laugh.  Hard.

This all.  This all fades into nothing, when you are sitting there arguing with your child, who unfortunately in some cases can argue you into circles.

I miss the days of the Waltons when no one would speak if Ma and Pa were at the table.  They would all defer to the parents say things like “yes sir” or “yes ma’am” and it all seemed like a very happy place.

I think I am ill prepared for this hormone soaked, pubic hair sprouting phase.

Please tell me this shit gets better ……. soon!

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Check out more of Brian Gordon’s comics on > http://www.fowllanguagecomics.com/comic

Maybe parenting … and mathematics … is not for everyone …

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