Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Joys of Parenthood

Children. Kids. Rugrats.

I have three. My oldest son, Dakota, is a sweet, good boy with a lot of anger problems. He is an introvert, much like myself, but he got his father's explosive temper. Not a good combination. Not a bad one either, though. He's highly intelligent. His teachers have shown me (on a silly chart graph, as if I were too stupid to understand the difference between above mark and below) how high his reading ability is. In school, they will only let him try up to a fifth grade level. At home, he reads at a college level. I don't interfere with my kids trying to read. If they want to read, then by George, they freaking will! I try to help my son with his anger issues. Being bipolar, I feel like I should understand. He refuses to listen to what I have to say, complaining that I just don't get it. The problem is, though, that he won't listen to his father either. So, where does that leave me? In the lurch, with all the others stuck in the happy nation I like to call "Clueless Parentton". He's only nine, but I'm afraid that my son is slowly rolling toward that avenue no one wants to see their kid on. And what can I do to stop it? Nothing. Not a damned thing.

My daughter, Savannah, is an 8 year old drama queen. Everything is the end of the world. Everything makes her cry. Everything is all because no one wants her to have anything or any fun and we're just mean, mean, mean! I'm sorry, but my eight year old daughter is not going to be dropped off at the movies with her little "boyfriend" and left with no adult supervision. Not going to happen. Not when you hear about 11 year old girls having babies on the news. In fact, when I was having my daughter, there was an 11 or 12 year old who came in the hospital. Her water had broken a week before her c-section was scheduled. She was screaming at the top of her lungs "I WANT TO GO HOME TO MY MOMMY!!!" 11 years old. Screaming for her mommy. About to become a mommy herself. Oh, huh-huh-hell no. Not my daughter. No way, not happening, not while I draw breath into my lungs.

My youngest son, 6 year old Nicholas, brought home his last report card, which was covered in a happy little note saying that he has difficulty paying attention, can't focus for more than 3-5 minutes on a subject, making noises, actions with his hands. I admit, I got angry. My son is very boisterous, very imaginative. He certainly CAN focus on a task; he does it ALL the time at home. I have no problem with my child having a vivid imagination. I have no problem with him wanting to use his imagination to occupy himself when he has finished his work ahead of everyone else. His grades are excellent, yet she claims he is "not preforming on grade level". How can a child receive high 90's in all his subjects, but not be on grade level? Sounds a trifle bull-shitty to me.

Okay, so I don't have perfect kids. I don't expect them to be perfect. How could I? I started having kids when I was 16 years old and stopped when I was almost nineteen. Yeah. I had a kid a year. I was the mother of three before I was twenty. Soooo??? What have I done wrong? Nothing, exactly. I just didn't know what I was doing. No one does, their first time around. Unfortunately, all of my times at the "mother-board" (sorry, small attempt at humor) occured at about the same time as my first go around. There is only two and a half years between my oldest son and youngest, with a daughter thrown in between. I was a kid and yeah, I screwed up. A lot. All new mother's do. But now, I have a child who has been thrown off the bus for destruction of property, a daughter who thinks she just isn't anything unless she can show her tummy off a bit and another son who crawls along the floor chasing fuzz when he should be doing math worksheets. And guess what? I still don't have a clue. I don't know what to do because no matter how old they get, I will still not have any experience. Each year brings new and exciting worry because I just haven't been there yet. If I had a baby, along with the other three, the baby might have a chance at having an experienced mother. Might. Know why?

Because no matter how many kids you have, you'll never be an expert. All three of my children are intelligent and have ample opportunity to become decent adults that actually contribute to society. I'm afraid, though, that one or all of them will end up like me and my husband. I quit school to have a baby; my husband quit to support it. He's a coal miner, but with the economy, he's laid-off for the moment. Not sure when he will get the chance to go back. I have no college education, I've stayed home and taken care of kids since I was 16. I've worked, but only for two and a half years at a restaurant. My dream was to be an author. It still is. I have three completed novels that I'm too scared to try and publish, forty or more short stories and several novellas that I'm also too scared to try and publish. I keep telling myself that I'm not scared, but in truth I am. I've had more than a few people tell me that I'm a wonderful writer (people other than my family... family doesn't count) and I just can't bring myself to try. But, I also have three children who depend on me. They look to me to make their lives better.

As a parent, I have a responsability to my children, to guide them and teach them everything they need to know to care for themselves as adults. I don't think it's wrong for them to have chores and be taught how to cook. My youngest son, in fact, won't eat scrambled eggs unless my daughter is the one to cook them. He says hers taste better than mine. At least she will be able to cook for herself when she's grown and makes a home for herself. But, I also have to make sure they do the things they are supposed to do. Like their school work. If they want to go to college, they have to make the grades and behave themselves. They have to get into college. But telling a nine year old that he needs to try harder is like telling a man who can't hear that he needs to listen a little better. It's useless. And I'm lost. I don't know what to do. And for some reason, I don't think I ever will. Kids are like opinions. They're all different.

I suppose I'll just have to hope for the best and do what I can. Isn't that what we parents all do? Try our hardest and just hope it comes out okay? I'll have to settle for that because it's the only thing I can do. Just keep trying.

Peace and love, y'all.

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