You always think, okay, now parenting starts …… then you realise, no, now parenting starts

 

Do you recall when you were pregnant/or waiting for your baby and you were kitting out the nursery, and doing extreme reading on whether this wet wipe is good or that cotton blanket is good, and so it goes on.

You spent oodles of energy on getting things just right — because this was the beginning of parenting.

Then you had your baby, and you went all soft lighting and you dreamed of your baby and your baby was everything.  And you were so damn happy.

If you were in the unfortunate category, you got a load of post natal depression, and you then started to look at your baby and though you loved your baby, you sort of hated your baby.  Everything was difficult, everything was painful.  You wanted to run away.  And leave the baby behind.  But you didn’t, and every day was hard, and you thought, okay this is parenting.

Then it got time to enroll your baby into a school and you drove yourself mad trying to find the right school, where everything was eco friendly and they only fed your child organic strawberries and it was all love and goodness.  You got onto various waiting lists and it was so freaking stressful — and then you thought, this is parenting.

Then your child gets into a school and suddenly there are all these issues/shit that appears that you did not know about.  Social skills, possibly testing for ADHD or another set of letters.  You worry about your child being bullied, or being the bully.

You march along when you see a bite on your child — and the bite becomes your everything.  You talk to a hundred people, join a few groups that talk about biting.  Either your kid is the bitten or the biter. And you think, okay this is parenting.

And so it goes on.

There are so many stages in your child’s life — that become your life and you keep saying or thinking “okay, this is fucking parenting — what ever was happening before, was just a minor preempt.”

This weekend I had a “this is parenting” ……

 

My son is 16 years old.  He is a lovely sweet boy who for 98% of the time is a real cool guy.

He is a standard issue 16 year old where everything is about his immediate enjoyment, his friends are his reality, his face is normally facing a screen of some sorts.

But the upside is that he is polite, funny, gets excited about stuff, and is a joy.  For the majority of the time.

Parenting him has been easy for the most part.  I have three children, and the youngest is a thug, so I will be honest, my attention is often drawn to her and keeping her out of the 28’s gang, and to stop her being the “bully” at school.

16 year old is very into his mates.  Like they are everything.  Bro-mance has nothing on this.

He likes to be with them, or they are all together at his dad’s house (my house is too small to have them together in one place) — so he often bows out of things and asks to go to a friend, and I normally give him permission.

A few weeks ago we had a day where he was all over the show and he did not tell me where he was, and I was having to keep phoning him and finding out where he was.

That evening we spoke and I explained how important it was that I knew where he was — that he was honest with me, and that he was safe.  So we had this great conversation and it went really well, and I walked away from that going “dude, totally aced this parenting thing… look at me” and then I high-fived myself.

Fast forward to this weekend.

He asks to stay over at a friend for Friday.  He tells me the friend, and gives me the mom’s details.  He has stayed over several times and his friend J is within walking distance from the house.  I agree, check with the mom, she says that everything is cool and off my 16 year old goes.

Now I will confess I did not think through Saturday — I thought I would give him flexibility and he can hang with his mates and he can be back late in the afternoon.

I had my daughters’ friends over — so I had four girls with me on Saturday.

I started to feel slightly uneasy as a certain point — around 2pm —- as I had not received pings from my 16 year old.  I felt that the “chain of agreement” we had discussed, was falling apart a bit.  Totally actually.

I sent him a few “where are you messages” and got some vague responses.  I sort of let it past, as I was a bit distracted by the 4 girls and attempting to roller skate and not break a knee, and I thought he will be home around 17h00 and then I can calm down.

Late afternoon swings by — I now turn my attention to my 16 year old, who is not home and is showing no movements in that direction.

I start asking him where he is — vague responses.  I start to step up my messages, and I am getting no response or vague responses.  I start to call my son, and it goes to voice mail.

Nothing makes you dial your child 150 times than going straight to voice mail – when you know he has his phone sewn to the side of his face, so does not leave his phone anywhere away from his body at any given time.

I am getting no feedback on where this child is.

My head has already orchestrated him OD’ing and being on the side of the road (nothing supported by reality —- but when you brain moves into the range of “shit to worry about” there is no stopping the escalation).

This child is not responding.

Eventually I am at my wit’s end — I think it is around 19h00 now — I tell him I am putting the girls in the car, and we are going to the police station and reporting him as a missing child.    We are at this point of the evening.

He then called me back and said he is fine and safe, and I can punish him tomorrow and then he puts the phone down.

I have no idea which opium den he is in, which child trafficker has him and where he is being held hostage.  I am freaking the feck out — now keeping in mind I had been escalating for about 5 hours.

I am like a pressure cooker, that just needs another 3 – 5 minutes of applied heat and I am about to blow the freaking ceiling off.

Further calls go straight to voice mail.

I lose my shit (some more) —- short trip at this point.

I phone his dad who is travelling in India or somewhere equally far away.  I just felt if I had managed to break and kill our child he should know.  He also tries to phone said child, and also to voice mail.

I call one of his friend’s mom and explain to her that my 16 year old has gone AWOL and is there any chance that he is with J.  I said I think he is with his friend Avw — whose details I do not know.  She said she does, and calls the mom.

The parents are off camping.  The thinking is the boys are all together at a home without any parental supervision, and parental permission in my case.

J’s mom does not tell me the address.  I think she realised that I am at that point where I would arrive there with a 200kg gorilla who  would just yank my child out of there with or without his consent, and probably cause a scene and leave some blood on the door frame.

I am not sure how a gorilla got into my train of over imagination and over reaction.

Eventually J’s mom says her son has stopped answering the phone and says she will drive over there and check on what is going on.  We are now at about 22h00 on Saturday night.

It appears the boys are just hanging out.

I still do not know where he is, I still do not have any control over this situation.  I am trying to be calm but I have now sort of moved into how to move this from a three child family to a two child family.

Sunday swings by — I walk up feeling drunk, I am exhausted and stressed and literally every nerve fiber is frayed.

I go through another day where this little fecker just does not come home.  Eventually I send him a few threatening messages.

My 16 year old arrives around 17h00  – 18h00.

By this point I am already scraping his name off the door.  My sense of humour.  My upbeat manner is long long gone.

My 16 year old walks in without a care in the world.

I am going to end the story there, as we are not sure yet how to deal with his punishment.

I need to wait until my ex gets back from his overseas trip, as it is important we are on the same page here.  He moves between both our homes and it is pointless me instigating a punishment regime that is not being used at the other house.

The theme of this post is “so this is parenting” …. and really this weekend taught me that what ever the stress I had before regarding breastfeeding versus bottle feeding, buying purity of making his puree, the wooden toys which are better than the plastic toys for him, worrying about how he holds his pencil, his keeping up with the learning levels of the class, whether rugby is safe for him, will he have friends, will he fall apart because of the divorce, how will he adjust to the new living situation, am I working hard enough to keeping an open channel of communication with him …… all of this ….. all of this just disappeared into the mist of “my son went AWOL and I had no idea where he was for more than 24 hours” ………… and this people, this is parenting.  Hard core.

#fuckthisparentingmalarkey

 

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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