Saturday, February 03, 2007

Bad Moments in Parenting

We are still playing Kid-Swapsies on a daily basis with our nice new neighbours. And we're still trying to work out the ground rules and the boundaries of it all. The other morning I heard Next-door-Dad exhorting Next-door-Boy (5) not to be a serial pest. This because Next-door-Boy hoists himself atop the fence and yells out Climber! Climber! ... It's me, Next-door-Boy! Climber? If that doesn't work he calls out Stomper! Stoooooomper? Can you get Climber for me? or Can I come over and play? My Mum says it's allright. And of course, Climber does it right back too.

So, the rules we've established involve always checking with myself or Next-door-Mum if it's convenient. Letting the Mums know if you wish to leave the premises to go back home so that you can be walked back to your front door. And NOT bringing toys over. Because you don't want to lose them! Neither Next-door-Mum or I run spotless establishments. Both houses look lived-in, in the sense that they are lived in by young children with waaaay too much lego and other crap, and the general pick-up of detritus probably only happens after the children are in bed and if the detritus is not in a walkway or an area where the grown-ups inhabit sometimes not even then.

But yesterday Cherub slipped though the loop. For a start I don't always notice if he has a small toy clutched in his hand. Despite the fact that I should know HE ALWAYS has a small toy clutched in his hand; it's like a security blanket with him. The favourite toy (see left), Lightning McQueen aka Stickers from the movie Cars, is not even his, it was a Christmas present to Climber. But poor old Climber has lost the war on this one. Cherub knows in theory that the toy belongs to Climber but he ain't nevah gwine give it up.

Anyway, at some stage after Cherub has returned back from a play Next-door, he realises Stickers is missing and a right old hue-and-cry ensues. And after a while the noise is annoying enough to send me over Next-door to hunt it down. But I want to be quick so I just run out, shutting the front door behind me, while the kids are occupied - Climber with the lego, Cherub in the toilet. And I'm over there hunting high and low and I can hear Cherub doing more carry-on but I figure he's safe and it's just because he can't see me. What I don't know is that there's been a smudgy-undies episode which has distressed him a lot. And what I also don't realise is that while Cherub is too short to let himself out the front of our house, his big brother can do it easily and will apparently do so without qualms when asked.

When I give up on the hunt for Stickers and walk out onto our street the first thing I see is Cherub running up and down the footpath next to the road. (back and forwards in indecision like a duck in a sideshow alley game).

And he is:


Crying hysterically and calling out Stomper ... Stomper, through streaming tears.

And holding a pair of smudgy-undies.

As my sister says. Sometimes there are no words.

PS. Stickers was found that evening at our house.


  1. Oh. My. God. Stomper. I'm sorry, I should not laugh at your beautiful cherub's distress but your description of his movements being like "...ducks in a sideshow alley...." had me doubling over in laughter.

    The darling has a similar affliction with needing to carry around some toy at all times. And they seem to be getting progressively smaller and harder to see and find. Our current favourite is a Snow White figurine about 4 cms high ;-) So we have instituted a ban on taking things outside the car; meaning they can take it with them to the car but when we leave it to do whatever we need to do it stays behind. This also applies to visits to friends' houses. A toy can be taken to daycare for sleep time ONLY.

    So many rules; so little time!

    What I don't understand was how there wasn't a camera crew outside your door at that very moment to capture it all for those tabloid TV programs. Isn't it, on those SMALL occasions when things go completely pear-shaped, when you're most likely to be seen by the most people? Well, that's what I tell everybody when things like that happen to me :-)

  2. *snort*

    No really, not funny .. at all ..
    Not a bit.

    not ...
    .. funny


  3. Ahem, I could see that happening over here. If we had age-appropriate next-door-neighbours that is :-)

  4. honestly,

    I don't have a problem with any of it..

    But I am a Bad Parent.

  5. Oh Oh, cant speak for laughing!
    Speechless, I agree.

  6. I see no bad parenting here...sounds like a day in the life of a parent, but not a bad one! You are to be commended for the toy search. My attitude would have been: well, that's what happens, if you want it, you look for it. But I am harsh. Just ask my poor scarred children.
    I would have freaked about the naked screaming in the street thing though. Hope you were OK.

  7. snort.

    i am surprised this hasn't happened to me yet.

    although our doorknobs have a disturbing tendency to come right off the door in your hand, so that might slow the hoodlums down. a bit.

  8. I'm not laughing.


    I'm not.

    Not at all.... ;-)

    Poor Cherub.

  9. you could at least have pointed him in the direction of the closest cricket grounds..a career in streaking awaits the boy! :)

  10. As a Second Child I relate to the Cherub's plight, and his attempts to rectify, to some slight extent, the ineradicable advantage Firstborns always have over the younger siblings in terms of clothing, possessions, attention, bossiness, age and skills. Etcetera! Hang on to Stickers, little Cherub! Some of us are barracking for the underdog side.

  11. This reminds me of a rare occasion when I went shopping with my neighbor, leaving small children in the "care" of their father [raised in the East European fashion, to wit, mother belongs in the kitchen, preferably barefoot, possibly pregnant, children hanging from her apron; certainly not out, wantonly shopping]. Returned, flushed and happy with the few hours of freedom to find the male parent unconcernedly reading in front of the telly, smallest child nowhere in sight. In the ensuing panic, said child was found in the bathroom, happily splashing in the wonder my hair is snow white. Go Cherub!

  12. Hee hee .... why do they ALWAYS have toileting troubles at the most inappropriate times!? I bet you love being greeted by a small child holding smudgy undies ;)

    You are sooooo lucky to have neighbours that your kids love!!

    Glad to hear that Stickers was found and returned to those that love him.

  13. Hi Sis. We are also doing the sorting out of the rules whilst playing with neighbouring friends. Except I have many more of them that Whelan has latched onto (or them onto him). Four to be precise, from 2 separate families, but sometimes two of the four come armed with 2 of their friends! So a couple of times last week, whilst on my own with both of my 2 kidlets, often taxing enough, I had 7 boys in my house/backyard! And they are all hungry! 7 boys having morning tea at my coffee table!!!!!! And when you send them home, they just come back, and back, and back. Admit to having some reservations regarding the socio-economic level of the households these boys come from, and the impact on Whelan. But what can I do! He loves them! Begs to play. Breaks into uncontrollable sobs when the leave! And they put up with his tantrums! And they come back! Perhaps it's his toys, or the boat, or the fact that they get fed here, not sure! But I've had to bail a couple of them up trying to exit with some of his toys on a number of occasions...... At least the Cherub was on the footpath, not on the road............ Sigh, smudgy undies, truly, there are no words!!

    Whelan started school yesterday. Went in really happily, although a bit anxiously, then I did the good mummy in doing what the school asked, which was not to follow on to the classroom. Except that half the mummies and daddies weren't good, and followed! Making me appear like bad deserting mummy to Whelan, who kept asking my friend 'where's my mummy', instantly making me feel awful (as was still there!). Then a low sugar episode followed (2.6), then he went high (15.1), and when I left that time (after popping in and out to do tests) he had a complete meltdown. So that was one of the moments I cried during the day as I left the school. OK again at pickup time, apparently afternoon pretty good. Sigh,.. so stressful.....

  14. ps - was also coerced into joining in water bomb game, which ended up back at our house, filling up balloons of water in the bathroom, for them to run out and use in about 15 seconds flat. That was a 7 boys in house moment........... Was completely razzed by end of day!

  15. Well I am not as nice as the others above - I am laughing and laughing lots!! But then again I am not a nice Mum. Ask my kids- they tell me that all the time!!


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