The Wif was regaling me with the tale of how she dropped Mini Monster at daycare a few weeks back.
Apparently mini walked in the door by herself for the first time (a big deal because she normally needs to be carried it then goes into full neck nuzzle hug mode as a form of manipulation to get a hug from one of the teachers) and walked over to a stack of blocks to start playing.
A first! A show of development! A forward step into easing the RSI on my biceps and tympanic membrane from having to carry a human as heavy as a sack of potatoes that constantly asks ‘What’s that!’ directly into my ear at random uninvited intervals.
So while I was pretty chuffed not just for her but for myself, I have to say the following news made my self righteous proud dad “We knows how to raise a fucking kid mate” mood deflate like those sad/scary enormous blow up clowns you see dotting the highway when the Russian circus is in town.
Doesn’t happen in your city? Never mind just go with me on this.
Mini walks past a girl who starts shouting her name rather excitedly because daycare is pretty much toddler prison and when an inmate you know rocks up you stick together so you don’t run the risk of getting shanked in the nappy change block.
This was semi good news to realise that my child is deaf to other people calling her name and not just deaf to my voice. I mean it’s not a GOOD thing exactly, but it’s nice to know I’m not the only one being ignored because she walked right on past the little girl and started playing with blocks.
But said girl was not to be rebuffed so easily. And who could blame her, as stated you need to stick together in a prison environment so she toddles over (yes, that’s why they’re called toddlers) and pats Mini on the shoulder saying her name again in some primitive form of tiny human greeting.
I’ve been told it’s a form of greeting amongst adults too but I tend to avoid talking to breathing things.
An obvious friend shouts my child name when she arrives, calls out to her as she walks past, and runs over excitedly to pat her shoulder and say her name a third time.
Now I know I said I avoid talking to breathing things but I’m not rude about it, (I don’t call myself Polite as Fuck just because I passively aggressively shout ‘You’re welcome’ at people a fraction of a second after they pass me by when I’ve gone to the trouble to hold a door for them) I just literally physically avoid. I will climb over, under or through things and sometimes people if I see the impending obligation to converse somewhere on the horizon when I’m not in the mood but if cornered and without a choice, I will grin maniacally and bear it. Hoping the savagely unpleasant grinning will expedite the conclusion of the conversation.
So the aforementioned behavior isn’t exactly learned from me. And her mother is superbly nice, I mean she puts up with me and has even assured people that I am actually a person once you get to know me on more than a dozen dozen occasions.
My kid looks up from the blocks she’s playing with, stares deadpan right at the kid that is pouring adulation all over her like I do maple syrup on anything less viscous than maple syrup, drops the blocks she’s playing with and just strolls away in the opposite direction.
It wasn’t even a blank. It wasn’t even an acknowledgment of existence!
The Wif stares in shock, the teacher present has a giggle. It was then that the teacher states that Mini and another kid had to be separated a few days ago for having a ‘bit of a biff’.
It was a full on fight but it’s only classified as a bit of a biff because they’re both just over 2ft tall so anything they do is measured in bits.
My kids being a bitch and getting in fights!
Hilarious toddler fights which I’d gladly pay a cover charge and two drink minimum to watch but fights none the less!
That evening the Wif and I had poured back over the minutes of the last several parental development meetings we have had (read: stared off into space with our hard thinking faces on trying to recall when we had last totally blanked someone or started a fist fight in our childs presence) and came up dry.
That’s when we came to the realisation that no matter how hard you play act at being a good person around your child, faking being a fully functional and well grounded adult capable of proper relationships, grinning politely and doing that ‘Good thanks, how was YOUR day?’ bullshit when you really want to ask ‘What do you think would happen if you fired a rocket launcher at an elephant’ and just generally being all mature and reasonable and shit for their sake; all this devilishly firmly impressed observational learning can end up coming up trumps in the face of either
A: A legit full on prison environment at her daycare. I mean I know I joked about it but perhaps she’s learning to adapt to a “survival of the fittest” “all for one and one for none” style of day to day life.
B: The fact that my kid is, despite all our best efforts, deep down a total and utter turd of a person and destined to become a bit of a bitch/bully until that one moment where she gets sat on her arse by someone she pushed too far at which point I’ll be there with an ice pack and an ‘I told you so.’
C: She’s learning the behavior from other kids who in turn learned it from their parents because they don’t have the foresight to restrain their own bullshit high school turd licker mentality around their spawn. The same mentality that’s likely plagued them their entire lives and stunted their overall development as adults. (Like I’m one to talk, my inner adult is so stunted it doesn’t even have to lean back to win a limbo contest in Jamaica. But I do have a masters in bullshit so I get by.)
And if it is C, which it most likely is, you can understand that I’m more than a little shitted the fuck off. You bust your nut doing the right thing by your kid and one bad egg ends up spoiling the whole omelet. In this case the omelet is a group of children and the bad egg is a single child.
(Please note I am not condoning the consumption of a child, but if you were to eat a human, I can imagine child would be the perfect time to do so as they’d still be tender and not sour tasting from years of depression bought on by the drudgery of navigating life while suffering the blight of the human condition.)
But this is the same thing I shouted at a co-worker earlier today who tried to justify talking shit about me and my team of workmates behind our backs.
His justification was that everyone else bitches about other people so why is it such a big deal if he does it.
To which I replied simply (and loudly)
‘Fuck that mate, be better than everyone else!’
I hope that my child grows with compassion in her heart, I hope she doesn’t end up as internally… lets say fractured? As her dad. And I certainly hope she doesn’t turn into a bully.
And if she does, I really truly hope that she takes the above advice on board when it comes time for me to shout it at her.
Because I fucking will if I find out she’s grown into a bully.
Now if you’re a parent who has a child in toddler prison on a weekly basis due to this no longer being the 1980s or decades prior where a family could inexplicably exist on a single income and not be relegated to eating stale ice cream cones from an old boot as a weekend treat, and you’re feeling disheartened that your efforts are all for naught when your well trained mini human returns home with bad habits or black eyes, just remember that you’re doing this shit for a reason.
Don’t fall into the trap of ‘Well if everyone else is like that around there kids I may as well be because my kid will learn it from others eventually.’
If you’re ever feeling that way, just imagine standing in a warehouse as cold as Nicole Kidmans’ smile with an angry bearded man in high vis shouting at you so hard it echoes.
“Fuck that mate, be better than everyone else!”
Be better than everyone else for your kids. Be better than everyone else everyone else’s kids. and Be better than everyone else because herd immunity is a legitimate thing.
Let everyone else do what they want, but the people who didn’t let up and act like self righteous misinformed window lickers are the ones that helped eradicate polio.
Besides if you don’t do your part to nip this behavior in the bud early they’ll grow into being that fuckwit in high school that doesn’t learn to let the mentality go and carries it on into adulthood then teaches it to their brood.
You feel me?