The things that make me insane
I am a Dad of many girls. While I have had many moments of joy in the course of their upbringing, there are some things that make my usually logical and calm self bat shit crazy. There are several flavors of crazy.
Some things scare the crap out of me
TWICE, I rounded the corner in my home to find my 2 year old with her head stuck between two spindles on the stairway, kicking her feet as she dangled 10 feet above the ground on the OUTSIDE of the stairs. I guess she was climbing up the outside and could not resist the temptation to stick her head in between the spindles. This same daughter was playing tag and ran through a plate glass door a few years later. She has a unique ability to scare the crap out of me, and has taken many years off my life in the process. I will get even….
Then there were the hospital visits. I can’t count them. Seizures, wounds, broken bones, dislocated limbs, passing out, choking, breathing issues, car accidents, heart surgery, …. I can’t count how many times I have been there. Again, I lost years off my life.
The things that piss me off
there are many things that cause me to loose emotional equilibrium. For example:
I come home from work and find the house (apparently) empty and silent. As everything seems calm, I go into the master bathroom. After a few minutes (a very few minutes) of peace, the doorknob starts rattling. then comes knocking, and soon pounding. I grab my head in my hands as if to try to keep my brain from exploding, and rush to finish up. But it is not fast enough. At least 4 people will come to the door demanding admittance, a ruling on who gets to pick the movie, clarification of who’s turn it is to pick up the dog poop in the yard, or an urgent need for first aid. When the kids were younger they would get down on the floor and try to see under the door — even waggling fingers to convince me of their need.
Help from the experts
There are other things that make me temporarily lose my stuff. Don’t judge me! You may find some of these trivial, but until you walk a mile in my shoes you have no idea.
Some people, usually complete strangers (family members know better), decide that they have unique insight into my travails as a parent and feel compelled to offer helpful advice. These folks often have one child that is very young, and sometimes none at all. Them offering me advice is a bit like my telling the surgeon which instrument to use when opening me up to remove a kidney. The hubris is so astonishing that sometimes I just gawk at them open mouthed. Other times I start search for a heavy dull object.
If you are one of these blessed souls bear in mind that experienced parents are not idiots — even if they are disheveled, with vacant star on their face, and shuffle a bit when they walk. My wife and I have five degrees between us. We started out as intelligent and capable adults. Things are never as easy as they seem from the outside. When you have a really cool idea to suggest that you read in Parent Magazine — just walk away. It will be better for your health, and prevent our kids from being put into foster care while we serve time for battering you to death with a can of corn.
Socks and Shoes!
Finding matching socks and matching shoes for Church was a source of major angst while my girls were young. One day a parent of one(!) kid told me that if I make them get their shoes and socks out the night before, I can avoid this problem.
They are still searching for the body…..
A mid summers nights dream
I have great plans for summer. Each child has school work assigned to get them ready for the next year, chores to perform per a defined list, with free time to exercise and read.
Some days, however, my plans are for nought. Things go well as I make my way home from work. I feel relieved to be done with the pressures of the day and by the time I get home I often have a smile on my face.
However, my dreams of family bliss and feelings of gratitude for my lot in life receive a shocking blow when I find dishes all over the kitchen and chores undone. Upon questioning, I find that school work was not accomplished. I discover that the dog peed on my bedroom carpet by stepping in it AFTER I have removed my shoes.
Ok, super parents if you tell me to make a chore list and curtail privileges if the work is not done… I will find you… and I will kill you.…..
Teens moaning like a banshee at an Irish funeral within one second of my starting to vocalize a request that they do a chore produce a curious and surreal effect in me.
When this happens time seems to slow down, I see their open mouth, and hear a wail like a WWII air raid siren starting to crank its way up from the depth of a tortured soul. I feel am projecting my spirit outside of body— looking down on the scene as I consider the meaning of this turn of events and the best way to respond. In other words…. I lose my shit.
The dulcet sounds of ones offspring
Certain phrases unlock my inner animal such as, “It’s not fair", “I dunno", and the ever popular “We don’t have anything to eat in this house". The elaborate explanations of why the kitchen is not done provoke a slow boil. Usually this involves a claim that they did one thing and a sibling was supposed to do everything else. It is futile to try and sort out the relative importance of each contribution —or debit the time so and so spent in the bathroom (which is always an urgent need when work is to be done). So I resort to the ever popular, “no one is done until everything is done.
Shock and awe
There are moments of sudden spikes of crazy—like finding that someone has dumped all the recyclables on the floor of the garage when asked to take them out, crush them up and put them in the plastic bin. This provokes a sharp pain not unlike that moment when you realize the dentist drilling on your tooth has not given you enough Novocain. However it stabs through your skull instead of your tooth.
This is especially acute when I find the mountain of un-crushed boxes and containers piled up beside the large and EMPTY recyclables bin that was supposed to be the final resting place of these items. Noting the slow trickle of fluids onto the floor is icing on the cake.
Girls bathrooms….. need I say more? This one also falls in the “things I find horrifying” category as well.
My teenage daughters discussing boobs or menstrual cycles in my presence causes me to immediately leave the area with fingers in ears as I chant “La la la la la la".
Sometimes I like to get even.
Again, don’t judge me! If you are honest you will admit you can be just as childish as I can. While I did knowingly enter the state of parenthood, I had no idea how this thing was actually going to work. Back then, parents sort of kept the secret to themselves — like when your school chum was about to open the door with the bucket of water over it. Your parents want revenge for the stuff you did to them, and the other adults enjoy seeing you flounder almost as much.
I pretend not to hear when I am being called. This is surprisingly effective, and can really ratchet the kids up when played correctly. Sometimes I call then and then pretend not to hear their reply until they finally rush into the room I am standing in, out of breath and aggravated.
I make jokes that I know they find irritating. Dad humor is a wonderful thing. You make jokes that you enjoy but kids either don’t understand or find really irritating. Over time you get a sense how to really turn their knobs and put them over the top just like they do to you(!).
Deliberately mis-pronouncing the names of their friends is a really good one.
I have been known to clean my handguns on the dining room table when dates come to pick my daughters up. This was irritating to my daughter — but also my wife, who tried to shield the view from our visiting lad. Two birds with one stone!
I play classical music during dinner. I love classical music. I am alone in that proclivity. So it is the perfect music to play when everyone is trapped at the table.
I wear ridiculous clothes when their friends are over, and ask the standard Dad questions about plans for college or career — that make my daughters eyes roll back in their head as if they are about to pass out.
There are some other cool tricks I have come up with as well — but I don’t want to give too much away. I am approaching the age when I will start to see my own kids struggling. And I don’t want them to pick up on the good stuff until they have suffered as well.