My Kid Will Never

18 Mar

She’s finally asleep.

It took 45 minutes of rocking, two diaper changes, a bottle, and some serious “shhh”ing, but my kid acquiesced and decided to go down for her afternoon nap. I can prep dinner, and she’ll be well-rested and nice when she awakens in an hour.

But as I tiptoe out of the room, with the sound machine/projector/life-saver on at full blast, I hear the blood-curdling scream I dread so much; it sounds like the clown from the Saw films is slowly prying off the eyelids of a neighborhood child. Alas, it’s only the neighbor’s little terrors playing in the street.

And then my baby wakes up. For good.

I detest those brats. They ride their bikes in the middle of the street, unaware of (or apathetic to) traffic passing by. And before you ask, no, their parents are not supervising. The spawn are never wearing shoes, even though their mother finds it clever to toss still-lit cigarettes into the street, right in the path of her roughhousing hooligans. Every one of their games includes screams one might hear in the torture chambers underneath the Pentagon, which reverberate through every room in my house. This isn’t the first time that their obnoxious escapades have ended my baby’s nap prematurely. As saucy as I pretend to be, I haven’t actually mustered the courage to knock on their door and rip their mother a new one for allowing her kids to be so evil as to disturb the peace in my home.

Curtly, I think to myself, “My kid will NEVER!” My daughter will play at appropriate decibels, under the close supervision of one of her parents. She will never scream and carry on so loudly. She will never play without Mom or Dad close by. We paid good money for a house in the ‘burbs with a generous back yard in order to confine her games to the fenced-in area. My kid will never roughhouse in the street, a target for a distracted driver. My kid will never…

Oh, shit. I’ve just broken the cardinal rule of parenting. I uttered those four little words that parents always regret five or ten years down the line.

Apprehensively, I ponder: what if my kid does? What if she does play barefoot in the street? What if she does ride her bike (or, by that time, Hoverboard) in the way of traffic? What if she does scream like a banshee when her (yet-to-be-conceived) sibling squirts her with a water gun?

An even scarier thought: what if, as a new mother, my neighbor uttered those very same words?

Is the world full of these mothers? Women who swore up and down that their kid would behave appropriately, do all their homework, eat their vegetables, demonstrate proper table manners while their kid was still young enough to lack kneecaps? And if so, what happened? What changed? Did the hustle and bustle of life get in the way of reinforcing routines and rules? Did they give in to toothy grins and doe-eyed babes one too many times?

I need to know the answers to these cosmic questions now; now, while I still have a chance to learn from their mistakes and raise this girl right. I simply cannot be that mother a neighbor considers with disgust. I cannot allow my kid(s) to disrupt the neighborhood and be the subject of nasty gossip over dinner. If I sincerely want to live by the motto, “Don’t encroach on my right to be left the fuck alone,” mustn’t I raise my child to adhere to this, also?

I open the front door, cranky, sleep-deprived baby in arm, and shoot one of my signature Teacher Death Glares at the rambunctious kids. They consider me for a moment, probably recognizing the stare from their own teachers’ frustrations. Just as quickly as they notice me, they disregard my glower and resume killing each other, or whatever they’re doing. Mom? Nowhere to be found. Shoes? Probably hiding wherever Mom is.

Closing the door, I begin my night-time routine with a fussy, tired baby. I put on my yoga video and Namaste my frustrations away. The screaming outside continues, but I’m comforted the superiority that comes with the assurance that MY kid will never…

© Daisy and Violet 2012. All Rights Reserved.

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10 Responses to “My Kid Will Never”

  1. Blondie March 18, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

    You can be sure that your child will never roughhouse in the street or play without Mom or Dad close by (or at least a qualified, approved caretaker) because that is something over which you have control. While there may be differences between your original perception of raising a child and the actuality, I am quite sure you won’t give in to that. Other stuff is not so predictable. I used to think, “My child will NEVER use 4-letter words.”

    • daisyandviolet March 18, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

      Agreed! Love this comment!

      -Daisy

    • daisyandviolet March 18, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

      Blondie, you’re absolutely right. That begs the question: what kind of mother is my neighbor to allow this? MY mom would not have tolerated this shit. And regarding the four-letter word thing, you never stood a chance. Sorry. =]

  2. MonopoliQueen March 18, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

    If I received a dollar for every time I said “My child will never…” (pre or post baby) I’d be rich. If I had to give that dollar back every time that statement came to bite me in the ass… The interest that accruse due to smugness would leave me homeless and turning tricks on OBT. (If I still lived in FL, of course)

    I have accepted that my child is going to make the biggest liar out of me. She will shriek uncontrolably, she will take her shoes/shirt/pants off in public, eat only PBJ & drink only milk or apple juice EVERY DAY FOR TWO STRAIGHT MONTHS & defy every last request for her to behave herself… But, at least I can control where I am. And I will always be present.

    And let me tell you what… I got fed up with the gaggle of unsupervised children in my complex & I said something. Not only were elementary to high scool aged kids walking by my window & shouting “BITCH”, “WITCH” & even “C—!” Two weeks later, my car window was smashed in.

  3. CJ March 20, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    This is funny. I think my kids were 7 or 8 and they wanted to play out front, but I had housework to do. My husband, in his fatherly wisdom, told them to ahead on out. When I noticed the sudden quiet in my own home I freaked. He pointed outside and calmly said, “We can see them from here. Letting them gain a since of independence is a good thing.” He made me stay inside and eventually, I relaxed at the idea of my kids not being 100% supervised at all times. And yes when they are outside, they are loud. I want to open the door and tell them to be quiet. But my husband is quick to remind me, parents drink, kids need to let off steam outside. Outside is for play. As long as we have them in before it gets dark, neighbors should be ok (no complaints so far). And when I think about it, I rather have them screaming and playing outside then sitting zombie-like in front of a TV or video game.

    • daisyandviolet March 20, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

      Good points, CJ. Thanks to my upbringing in Miami, kids playing outside by themselves is a huge no-go for me. Perhaps being raised else where it would be ok, but as a Miami-an, I’ve been trained in always locking the door and only playing outside with adult supervision.

      -daisy

      • CJ March 20, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

        I totally get it. Parenting is so complex and crazy. You are damned if you do, damned if you don’t. I grew up in Baltimore City, my husband in the suburbs (where we currently live) so we do have different opinions on what is ok for children. I say all this as I sit in my livingroom, front door wide open, kids (mine and a few neighbors) running in and out and playing up and down the street (on quiet cul-de-sac). The bulk of parenting is based on how you were raised, learning from your parents, the good and bad. I say if it works for you and yours, more power to ya! Good Luck! 🙂

        • daisyandviolet March 20, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

          While I think my Miami upbringing kicked ass and exposed me to a lot of cool stuff, there are plenty of times that I wish I would have had a childhood in a location that allowed playing outside solo and running around with neighborhood kids!!

    • daisyandviolet March 20, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

      I second what Daisy said.

      The other day, Daisy and I were on the phone, when I heard her heart actually stop beating. One of her children had screamed bloody murder, and when she went running, the kid only wanted help with the remote control. She gave them a stern talking-to about screaming like that only when someone is bleeding, etc. THAT’s the kind of screams we’re talking about; not normal play screams, but “I’ve been hit by a car and I’m dying” noises. Were my child making that kind of sound, you bet your sweet ass I’d be on top of her in a minute to make sure she’s alive before reaming her out.

      Miami-ians don’t play outside without an adult, period. That’s just how it is. Even displaced Miami-ians like us can’t get over our upbringing. -Violet

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