There are six stages of parenthood: Love, fear, confusion, pride, insanity, and disgust. There is no certain order to when or how you will experience them, but you will, without a doubt. I believe I have completed the cycle at least 340 times. Hell, it’s possible I complete a full cycle multiple times every single day! The world may never know.
Love– when your child comes to you and tells you they love you or gives you a hug without expecting anything in return
Fear– when your kid is playing rough around the corner of a table, or a fireplace, or too close to the street… or maybe when they say they’re playing with the little kid in their room and there is no little kid in their room. or when they say they have to barf and you’re driving 60 miles per hour down the interstate and there’s no way to stop it.
Confusion– when you can’t figure out how they managed to get poop UNDERNEATH the bowl of the toilet, how they got the toy that you hid above the fridge when there’s nothing to use as leverage or to climb on, or even the times where you just don’t understand what the holy hell they’re talking about
Pride– when they say please and thank you without being prompted, score well on a test, impress strangers by not acting like a rabid feral animal in public, or when they finally learn to adequately wipe their own asses without help.
Insanity– weeks without sleep and nights full of screaming, kids running in circles no matter how many times you tell them to JUST FUCKING STOP IT ALREADY WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU, or long obnoxious road trips.
Disgust– having to clean out poo from a small plastic potty, or adult sized shits from tiny underwear, the simple act of watching them chew, the time you catch them scratching their ass and sniffing it or chewing on their damn toenails, or just the funk that permeates from gross, sticky little kids.
Going into Holden’s first long break from school last year, I was rapid cycling through fear and insanity. And fear for MY sanity.
When I say that all my children do anymore is fight with each other, I am not exaggerating in the slightest. I know that I have a flair for the dramatic, but HONESTLY- all those children do is bicker and whine and yell at each other, about each other, to each other. I don’t claim to have a lot of patience, but even the calmest of cucumbers would lose their damn shit during the weekends in my house. It’s the reason we try to stay OUT of the house. This bitch becomes the Thunderdome.
It didn’t take very long into that first break for me to figure out that my kids either had a truck full of chemicals spilled on them or were bitten by some radioactive spider, and instead of turning into super-heroes or glowing in the dark (a la Alex Mac. Who remembers that show??) they transformed into assholes. I’m no doctor, since Googling symptoms and then panicking doesn’t count as a college degree, but I don’t think I’m wrong when I say that most children experience a condition called “Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde syndrome”. Mild mannered and sweet one second, total freakish monster with inhuman strength and a temper you don’t want to mess with. They may not grow in size, but they make up for it in volume. At this point, love and pride leave the building and only return after Mr. Hyde is safely tucked into bed.
Today marked the last day of school for Holden before holiday break. He does not return until January. I have very mixed feelings about this. Last year I almost didn’t make it to the new year, and they liked each other a hell of a lot more back then! The summer time was a HUGE disaster. Thank you cheezus for warm weather because had I not been able to send their bratty asses outside, I wouldn’t need any stages of parenthood because I’d just be fucking CRAZY.
I don’t know who this mysterious “they” is that people always talk about, but apparently “they” know just about everything; or they say they do, anyway. And they also say that kids get better with age. You learn to tune it out, or some method to keep your head from exploding, or discover that day drinking really dulls the ear-piercing sound of tattling children. I think what THEY really meant is that we will think it’s better because by this point, our brain has turned to moldy tapioca pudding and we won’t know the difference anymore.
Today, as I watched my quiet time slip away into the abyss, I wasn’t feeling fear. Not like last winter, or even this past summer. It’s not that I thought I had a solid handle on my kids, or that I thought they were better behaved (BAHAHAHA!) or that I had somehow managed to gather a stockpile of sanity for this very occasion; nope. I didn’t start this new cycle on fear because I realize there’s nothing I can do to keep from going totally batshit crazy over the next week. Not a damn thing! It’s gonna happen no matter what I do, so why not just go with it?
I think this stage of parenthood might be called “acceptance,” but like I said, I’m not a doctor.
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