How to Parent

I hate guns.  I think they are really scary and stupid.  So we don’t buy toy guns for our almost 3 year old, and we discourage him from shooting lasers out of his finger pistol.  I feel like “no fun” when I do that, and I’m wondering if discouraging it will just make him more curious about guns as he gets older.  That’s how it works, right?  Your parents forbid you to do something, so you do it.  Your parents encourage you to do something, so you don’t.

So maybe I should just say, “Griffith, Shoot guns for Mommy. Lets shoot guns and lasers and play war, and cops and robbers all day!”  Maybe he will begin to get bored of it, and start thinking it is really uncool to do that violent stuff because I told him too.  And maybe when he is a teenager, I should say, “Griffith, go out and have a bunch of unprotected sex with your girlfriend, get AIDS, get her knocked up, and ruin your life!”  While I’m at it, I could say, “Griffith! Drop out of High School, Don’t go to college, and become a drug dealer!  Drug dealers make a lot of money, way more than most people.  You may end up dead or a junkie, but at least you will be rich!”  Then I might as well also say, “Griffith! Drive Drunk! It is really cool, and it makes everything easier than calling a cab.  You might die or go to prison for life for killing a baby, but hey, its worth not having to find your car the next day. I do it all the time.”

We also are raising him vegetarian, and he is not allowed to eat butter or drink regular milk unless it is super organic.  This is more my Husband’s hang up.  But I don’t have a problem with it, and I drank my Husband’s veggie kool aid a long time ago, so I follow through with those rules.  We also rarely let him have dessert, and we never allow him to have candy.  Not even on Halloween.  We had him trade his pumpkin of candy for toys, which he loved.  I actually think that is a pretty cool tradition.  Toys are way better than candy.  Then we just trashed the candy.  But with all of these strict rules, I am afraid he will freak out when he gets to be a teenager, and overcompensate for what he missed out on by becoming a super carnivore who is obsessed with meat and a sweet tooth who is obsessed with candy.  Maybe he will get really into understanding the difference between eating healthy and eating like a regular American, like we hope, but I don’t know.  Its that whole rebellion thing I worry about.  So maybe we should say to him when he goes over to friend’s houses, “Griffith!  Make sure to fill up on meat and sugar when you are out of the house since you never get it at home.  You may end up sick, and fat, but at least you got the thrill.”

Not sure what is more effective.  Maybe using educational humor like this will help, but who knows, it could also fuck him up and make him resent us. I have tons of books on parenting, and they all seem to have conflicting advice and tips.

I guess this is what being a Parent is all about.  Trying your best, but not knowing for sure if anything you are doing is right. I guess for now I will just stick with the same routine of, “My house, my rules.” and “I’m the adult, you are the child” minus the sick jokes. I haven’t mentioned my Baby girl in here because all she does is look cute, giggle, breast feed, poop, and sleep.  Man, are babies easy.  Its when they get older that things start getting tricky.

 

Bless Your Bully Heart

My 2.5 year old son, Griffith has an awesome talent.  He is able to psychologically fuck with bullies so much that not only does he defeat them, he traumatizes them as well.  My husband and I noticed it started right when he turned 2.  We were at the grocery store, and a kid about the age of 6 pushed him out of his way rudely, saying “moove!”.  Griffith followed him, with a curious animal-like expression on his face.  He walked closer and closer to him, until the boy began looking nervous.  Griffith got up to his face and said, “Aww, what a cute baby.  Cute lil baby.  Aww baby.  You are cute. Cute lil.  Lil, lil baby!”  The boy looked like he had just gotten pantsed in front of a group of girls and he ran to his Mommy and said, “That baby said I am a baby!  But I am not a baby!  I am a big boy!”.  My husband and I laughed so hard for the rest of the shopping trip and on the ride home.  Then at a playground earlier this year, a little 5 year old girl shoved him down a slide because he wasn’t going down it fast enough.  She made an evil face as she did it, and I wanted to throw her over a balcony because of it.  Before I even got close enough to Griffith to see if he was okay, he ran after her and said, “You are sorry.  You are very sorry.  Aww, sweet lil girl is sorry.  Sweet girl.”  She looked at him totally pissed off, and was like, “No!  I am not sorry!  I am bigger than you!  Stop saying I am little!”.  He just kept saying it while he was shaking his head like, “bless your heart.”  I laughed so hard when that happened, that the girl’s mother saw me and glared at me.  I really don’t see what Griffith could be doing wrong.  He is not intentionally hurting or insulting anyone.  It’s like he has a built-in defense mechanism that is more powerful than anything I could ever try to teach him.

This past spring a chubby little monster child screamed in his face for no reason, again at a playground.  He stood there very fascinated, while the screaming monster boy did it again, this time to the tune of his maniacal laugher.  Griffith again stood there, with a poker face, then leaned in and screamed louder at the boy while chasing him and laughing like a hyena.  It appeared like Griff assumed they were playing a game, and he tried to play along as accurately as possible.  The monster boy looked shocked that Griffith charged him, he ran and hid behind his oblivious Father’s leg looking terrified.  Griffith ran back to me and said, “Lil boy is very sad?  Lil boy can’t play?”  The monster child heard Griffith say this, and yelled, “I am not Little!  You are little, not me!”, and his father chastised him for yelling at Griffith.  Man, my son really knows how to steal all of the power away from a bully in a heart beat.  It is so satisfying to watch.  I am sure with age, and increased awareness, my son will grow more inhibited, because that is what Humans do.  But I have a feeling he will always have an uncanny ability to simultaneously gain power and make peace with someone who is trying to attack him.  I think it is so awesome.  He is teaching me so much about conflict resolution!

My So-Called Mom

My Mom and I have a uniquely shitty relationship.  Its kind of like an off and on relationship that you would see on a teenage drama show.  Like, I am Angela, and she is Jordan Catalano.  She leads me on, then ignores me when I seek her attention.  I get tired of her dicking me around, and that is when she comes running into my arms begging to have me back.  Then the cycle starts all over.  Let me make something clear, I don’t have sex with my Mom.  This is just an abstract example of the ridiculous nature of how we interact.  It has been going on for as long as I can remember.  We started out hot and heavy when I was born.  I was her #1 girl.  She spoiled me, loved me, enjoyed my company, we were inseparable.  Then my sister was born when I was 8.  My Mom immediately pushed me to the side the way an aging ex-playboy bunny gets replaced as soon as a newer, younger, more firm and busty, and less complicated version of her comes along.  My poor sister has no responsibility for this, but of course she has to deal with the tension and I’m sure she feels awkward about the whole thing.  Despite being ignored suddenly, I tried everything I could to gain her attention, and her affection.  I wrote poems and stories and made paintings for her in school.  Instead of being put up on the fridge, or in a frame, they all ended up in the trash.  ALL. OF. THEM.  When I asked her later in life why she threw them away, she said “oh, you wanted me to keep that?”  I tried to put on talent shows for her with my friends.  I begged her to watch how great I was at diving and swimming, to see if that would win her over.  I tried my best to get good grades for her, even though I am kind of retarded, and when I got mostly all A’s, she seemed to forget how amazing that was a day later.  I got grounded for everything.  I was always in trouble for no good reason. I mean, sure, there was a ton of awesome Mommy/Daughter shit that happened.  But it is so far buried under all the attention seeking, I can hardly remember the good stuff.

After years of psychological fucking-with-me bullshit, as a teenager I gave up.  I decided to run away from the insane relationship and gain some sort of independence and individuality that did not involve being upset about my Mom.  It began with running away emotionally, not physically.  I shut down.  With the help of my loud headphones, my car, my job, my sports, and my friends, I escaped to my own private world.  I did not involve her or seek her advice, guidance, or approval anymore.  I could tell it bugged the shit out of her.  Which was very satisfying, the same way it is satisfying to see your heart-breaking Ex be all pissed that you moved on with someone hotter.  When I decided to go as far away as possible to College, she lost her shit.  She literally went nuts about it.  I remember one night Senior year as I was getting ready to hang out with my friends, she trapped me in her Mercedes and took me for the opposite of a joy-ride.  A misery-ride.  She basically cried, yelled, pleaded, and swerved all over the sleepy Madison, CT streets trying to convince me to re-think my College plans and go to school in NYC rather than Georgia.  With ice firmly hugging my heart, and a stone-cold expression on my face, I just said, “No, Mom.  This is what I am doing.  I am leaving.  I need to leave you.”  Luckily a cop pulled my Mom over right about then, because I think she was capable of committing a murder/suicide using the Mercedes, a nearby tree, and her foot on the gas if things got any more dramatic.  The cop said, “Ma’am, have you been drinking?”  She hadn’t been.  Fluke.  And she just explained to him, crying, that I was going to College in a few months and it was making us emotional.  Us?  Not really.  I was happy as a pig in shit that she was feeling all this pain.  She ravaged my emotions for most of my childhood, so yeah, cry your heart out, you bitch, was all I could think.  I soon left for school, and when I say “left”, I really fucking left.  I never returned her calls, I never thought about her, I was living a new life, I just needed her for money.  I took her money, and peaced out.  It was great.

Fast forward to now, and I need her.  It sucks.  I really need my Mom.  I need her advice, her support, her ear to listen to my troubles.  I need her hugs, I need her to call, I need her letters, I need a fucking Chocolate bunny on Easter with a note that says “Love, Mom”.  I need her.  Because now I am a Mom, and I get how hard things can be.  I get how you can become a psycho, asshole lunatic of a Woman to your children, but still be an actually pretty good Mom.  I recognize all the sacrifices she made for me, and for us, and for my Dad.  I see where her sanity switch was turned off, and I actually sympathize and understand why that happened.  I feel so indebted to her and my Dad for all the money I farted away in College because now I know what it means to actually work hard and earn it.  I want her to want me back like she did when I was 18.  But as of right now, we are back to 8-year-old Tara.  I need my Mom, and she is busy.  I try to impress my Mom, and she is unimpressed.  I need her advice, and she tries her best, but rushes off the phone to bigger and better things.  I know what happened, she had to let go of me when I was being a mega asshole from space.  So that is what she did.  And now that I need her, it seems too late.  But knowing us, this shit will go on till one of us dies.  It is exhausting.  It is stupid.  It is literally an episode from 90210 playing over and over.  This is my Mom and I.

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