Parenthood, let me remind you, is rarely sane, and I'll be honest, the first year of parenting should be considered a viable entry in the DSMIV on principle. It manifests in two very distinct ways and I think most parents will agree with me on this one; you will spend a significant amount of time being paranoid--and I do mean paranoid--about completely normal things like killing the kid by changing his diaper wrong, or you're copacetic with putting a baby seat on a motorcycle but like, the likelihood of aliens actually existing goes up like whoa and a certainty kidnapping is imminent. Sometimes both at the same time but in general, the human brain does get there are limits, and when air itself becomes a viable threat to your sprog, it does eventually reset itself to sanity or something less likely to require medical intervention via IV with concerned strangers asking what the voices are telling you.
To give you perspective on this, my nightmare scenario--born of a goddamn Dean Koontz novel turned shitty TV movie but strangely having very little actual relation to it--was a home invasion where I'm tied to a chair, Child (pre-verbal, remember?) in his high chair, and the burglar for sadistically inclined reasons is willing to trust in probability and sets a whole bunch of small legos on the high chair for Child to choke on while I watch. Child never once choked on anything in his life that I remember--and believe me, I would--but that stuck in my head and became this Thing. I mean, I get there was some deeply symbolic subconscious meaning going on, but dude, the literal was plenty nightmare fuel for me. Which is why I was like the only parent in the world who didn't worry about their kid setting the world on fire with his discovery of matches--though this could also be because Child's hand-eye coordination has never been what we'd call advanced for his age--but did spend valuable time considering how to trick the hypothetical burglar in question into tying the ropes badly or working out how to secret a knife on my person without that leading to dramatic questions on my intentions should it come out I was carrying one in less dangerous conditions, like say, going swimming.
It's also the reason that to this day, the four times--I can count this--when I was genuinely shocked into terror at home, my first act was to palm a knife from the kitchen. A steak knife at that, I wasn't picky here, I wanted sawing capabilities as well a pointy tip. Writing it out looks insane, but I can promise you that if someone were to break into the house--or like, there's a sound like that is going on--today, I won't even think about it, I'll go for the first I find in the drawer. You also have to keep in mind my one and only work-related event of the flying squirrel guy when I was a caseworker, after being knocked over by the door, I crouched there holding an unfolded stapler guarding the erstwhile door with ninja-like thoughts on how I'd use it even as at the time my brain was screaming at me what the hell are you doing to do to the guy with a stapler? Staple him? and my internal answer every time was YES. YES I WILL. A THOUSAND TIMES. because apparently, that's just how I roll. Apparently, that includes not being sure if a stapler refill has a thousand staples, which I'm looking up right now, just in case.
In case anyone is curious, Child has officially entered true teenage surliness, but this is my kid and so, it has variations. Everything is out to get him and unfair, but he expresses his pain both normally (as TV has taught him, of course), but also in reciting blank verse at the top of his lungs and gets my five year old nephew to add performance art to the entire situation. It is really, really difficult to hold onto parenting values--I am still working the entire raise him not to be a serial killer or menace to society rock bottom minimum parental accomplishment and it's working out well so far--when he's treating me to at least college-quality improv in the living room and I don't have to even pay for tickets. Being a parent, I think he's genius, but also as a realist, I think he's a genius at knowing how to work with my weaknesses by reciting the equivalent of teenage-level Gilgamesh in which he fights the good fight against parental monsters and symbolic representations of heroic tasks like taking out the trash. It's unreal. I mean, I don't know whether to send him to his room to think about what he's done or applaud, so I end up doing both, which may be the very definition of a mixed message.
I'm wondering when he'll realize his guitar is also a viable weapon of obfuscation of parental wrath. He's tone deaf--I mean, his singing can actually make my eardrums want to burst, he's discovered notes I didn't know existed and really shouldn't, not unless we're summoning Cthulhu for a personal visit--and his ability to navigate strings is very iffy, but I'm honestly not sure what I'd do if he started setting his teen-pain to a beat with terrible accompaniment. This ends in Elder Gods or sheer shock, but both ways will include insanity, and I do not yet have a plan to deal with this well. It may be the unbeatable weapon.
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