Is that not the SWEETEST photo ever? I thought so at the time. Protective older brother embracing his little brother. Perhaps a hint of pride in the eldest’s eye. Utterly unconditional love emanating from the youngest.
HAHAHAHAHAHA………….I’m glad I have this moment in time captured because it isn’t happening now.
Before I begin this entry, I should probably warn you that I write to get things off my chest. I write for a release – cheap therapy, or at least cheaper than the therapy I pay for on a regular basis. I don’t write for solutions and I don’t write to hear wonderful, drippingly sweet stories of how your kids are your best friends & the other day while one of them was kissing you goodbye, a butterfly lit on your shoulder making the moment so perfect you had to go inside and light a woodsy-scented candle to complete the scene. I don’t want to hear that. You should also probably know that I carve out and eat the entrails of people who have ONE child & give me unsolicited child-rearing advice. Take on THREE motherfucker & then go all “Dr. Phil” on me. That’s why there is one of those tiny, little salt shakers in my handbag. Entrail seasoning. Just a fair warning….
My boys now literally FIGHT ALL OF THE TIME. I fully intended to be one of those nauseating parents who was not going to have kids who played video games. They were going to build with blocks and Lincoln Logs and swing happily on their tubular, metal swingsets, for Christ’s sake. Build forts in the woods! Do puzzles! Draw! READ! (They do read – I’m not a complete failure.) However, in this day and age, the problem with that line of thinking is that sadly, those children become the misfits who have no friends. We eventually joined the masses and let them get a game system. It hasn’t been too bad. And we have rules. One of my biggest is no hand-held games when we’re at dinner. You must sit & be part of the family. In all honesty, I struggle with that one myself sometimes. But a few months ago they found this seemingly innocuous game on the computer called Minecraft. It seemed cool at first. It’s almost Lego-like in that you build things – buildings, cities, rooms, etc. You can talk to other kids who are building stuff too. And there-in lie the issues…… It fosters meanness. Knocking down each other’s stuff, destroying each other’s buildings, and the language! Oh, my, the language! I’ll be the first to admit that my kids hear bad language from me. I say shit, damn and hell on a regular basis. They’ve heard me drop the F-bomb, though I’m really trying on that one, God, really.* But really children. Pre-teen unsupervised children. Cunt??? Pussy??? Whaaaat? Coming from the mouths of 10 year-olds!?!? My boys pointed out that THEY weren’t using the language, & that the other kids were just typing it in and it appeared on the screen. Yeah, also, officer, I wasn’t drinking that liquor, I was just holding it for my friend & it spilled on my shoe. I’ve watched enough crime tv to know that my boys have big potential as defense attorneys but that crude language was the last straw for me. Minecraft is gone. For good. Not just because of the language but the fact that something about this game got a strong hold on their impressionable little minds and turned them into violent little asshats. Punching, knocking chairs into tables, name-calling (though not “cunt” or “pussy” that I know of, YET) & wrestling each other over SHIT THAT DOES NOT ACTUALLY EXIST?!?! I think not. Things were very improved for a while after we deleted it. They read soooo much more. Wyatt watched the History Channel or documentaries for hours on end. They fought much, much less. I was rather pleased with myself. But it’s starting again. And sometimes it is not even provoked by video games. Just meanness.
Our youngest cannot seem to understand that we do not allow name-calling. Our oldest two cannot seem to understand that we do not want or need their advice when dealing with them and that we will be happy to sit back and watch them try out their parenting skills in due time. I intend to have my hand buried in a bowl of buttered popcorn, watching Roseanne re-runs in a muu muu while this is going on, by the way. Chuck and I may briefly argue some (generally over where we are going to eat or what movie to see or how the dishwasher is supposed to be loaded – nothing serious) but we are not a violent couple. I yell, oh, yes, I yell. I’m working on that but damn, it’s HARD. We will continue to take things away until they get the idea that we mean business. I have said things to them recently that I am not proud of. I really would not take them downtown and start the adoption process. I really would not put them on a plane to Russia to live in an orphanage. I probably would not send them to Colombia to harvest coffee beans in stifling heat and humidity. But I will continue to enforce the rules in our house until they decide it will be easier to comply & be fed & live peacefully. Or until they move out. Hopefully they will come to their senses sooner rather than later.
* (As for my ‘trying’, please feel free to ask for prayer for me in front of your church congregations. Most parishioners will remember me as the one who lived in sin before marriage. “Oh, HER? That was ’92 & she’s STILL sinnin’ ?”)