When Kids Are Hyper, You Spend A Lot Of Time Outside

When my kids were little, they were kind of wild. They pretty much popped out of the womb that way. Come to think of it, they haven’t changed much.

When Kids Are Hyper, You Spend A Lot Of Time Outside | TheFurFiles

I blame this propensity for barbarousness on my ADHD husband – he was on Ritalin when he was younger. It doesn’t matter that I should classify myself under the same heading.

Because of him (and marginally because of me), my kids were the ones climbing to the top of the swing set, forget the swinging. They were the ones running and squealing through the mall, and I don’t mean after we’d been there for an hour. I mean right from the get-go. They were the ones jumping out of the stroller or the wagon because “sitting” was not part of their vocabulary. They were the ones making snow forts in the dead of winter – didn’t matter how cold it was – because I (their mother, who was always outside with them, BTW) couldn’t take being cooped up in the house for an entire day with three such rabble-rousers. They were the ones that the checkout ladies at the library dubbed “the loudest human beings on the face of the planet” and then proceeded to ban us from coming in there – for at least a week until they forgot and then the whole sequence started all over again. That was the way it went for many years. “You can’t come in.” We went in. “You can’t come in.” We went in. Why the library had to put the children’s section right next to the senior’s quiet reading corner, I’ll never know.

I have so many examples of my kids’ crazy behaviour, the stories seem endless. Why, we were just reminiscing about one particular incident yesterday. This is a good one.

It was the day of my cousin’s wedding. The kids were pretty little still – four, three and one maybe. They were used to running around (outside mostly) like wild animals, because that is just how we lived. “Footloose, fancy-free, and often without pants” is probably a good description.

Now, the trouble with weddings is twofold – one, you are usually expected to dress up, and two, you are also expected to sit quietly in a church for an extended period of time, neither of which my family was very good at. They still aren’t.

We started with the clothes. You think kids, they’ll wear whatever you put on them. Not mine. And it’s not like I had them in miniature suits and dresses or anything. For the boys, it was a pair of pants and some clean t-shirts, if I recall correctly.

We managed to get to the church on time, which was also very difficult for us. Three little ones and a Jamaican husband – seriously, that’s a recipe for lateness. So there we were, sitting in the back, the boys fidgeting almost immediately, my daughter zooming back and forth across the pew. She was walking by nine months. By one, she could run.

And it was a Catholic wedding. You know how those go – long. I think we lasted about fifteen minutes (which was a miracle in and of itself) when my oldest starting karate chopping his brother, and Tess started hissing like a rabid fox for no apparent reason. “Shhhh, you guys. Watch up at the front. See cousin Karen in her pretty dress.” As if.

I’d also brought games and food and little toys. I’m a smart mother. Unfortunately for me, my children are about running and jumping, not playing checkers or colouring. You can imagine that car rides were a nightmare. They still are. If we travel, it’s usually at night, like bandits.

Anyway, long story short, at the wedding, we ended up on the lawn outside, the boys climbing the trees, my daughter jumping off a big rock. Basically, we were waiting for the ceremony to be over so we could go to the reception and wait outside again until it was time to go home.

With the kids playing, my husband and I tried to watch in the church door, to catch a glimpse of what was going on – so we could at least say we were there – which is why we didn’t quite see that our oldest son had taken off all his clothes and thrown them in the bushes. He was a fast little devil.

And just as he was sprinting across the grass, naked as the day he was born – his “nice” clothes shoved behind some forsythia – the people started coming out. “Oh my God. Get him,” I yelled to my husband. Too late. The guests had spied my little streaker.

Luckily, we managed to wrestle him down before the newlyweds emerged. Most everyone else saw him though. And of course, my cousin heard about it.

That’s pretty much it. People laughed, which was good. And now I have something that will make a really great mother-of-the-groom speech for when my son gets married himself.

You see how things work? What goes around eventually comes back to embarrass the hell out of you another day.

You can say you heard it here first.

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Parenting Is Hard, Like “Trying To Squeeze Water From A Stone” Hard

Sometimes, I want to wring my eighteen-year-old daughter’s neck. Sorry daughter, but you were there the other night. You probably wanted to wring mine as well. Yes, we were having one of those discussions that went from a simple disagreement, to a full out scream-fest.

I find that one of the most challenging parts of raising teens and young adults is that they don’t always do what you tell them to do, like that’s a surprise.Parenting Is Hard, Like "Trying To Squeeze Water From A Stone" Hard Sometimes | TheFurFiles

As parents, we have our children’s best interest at heart. I’m always saying this, especially to my daughter. “Do you think I”m trying to ruin your life? Why would I want to do that? I only want you to be happy and safe, and if I can pass along some of the lessons I’ve learned over the years, then I will.”

But we all know that people have to learn things on their own. You can only say, “Eating an entire bag of grapes will give you uncontrollable gas/if you drink a whole bottle of vodka by yourself, you might end up puking your guts out/you’re probably going to want to wear a coat out there in the minus thirty degree weather…” so many times.

Often, I’m not even trying to teach anyone a lesson. I just expect common courtesy, like that’s such an unreasonable thing for which to ask.

So when my daughter was going out with her friends the other night, I said – like any good mother would – “Call me and let me know what time you’ll be home.” That’s the reason she has a damn cell phone.

Her response – “I’ll try to remember.”

I was hoping for more like, “Sure mom. No problem.” But with my daughter, nothing is ever that simple.

“Make it a point to remember,” I said, snarling slightly. “And how are you actually getting home? Do you need a ride?”

“We’re taking the bus.”

“Whatever you do, stay together as a group. Don’t walk anywhere by yourself.” I remind her of this every single time she goes out. It is paramount in my mind, especially right now as they just found a woman’s body in the bushes very close to our house. As I write this, the police are still investigating the incident. It doesn’t matter. A woman is dead, and you can never be too cautious.

And that’s part of the reason for the scream-fest. A scared parent can be a very animated parent. But you know how young people are. They have no sense of mortality. I get it. I was the same way once. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to handle when you are a mother though.

This whole situation with my daughter brings to mind a few moments in the past when I’ve tried to give her advice, and she hasn’t listened. There have been a few times when things have gotten pretty screwed up too. I don’t ever want her – or any of my kids – to get hurt, but there comes a point when they have to make their own decisions. I can’t be there to hold their hands, and tell them what to do for the rest of their lives, can I? Or can I… [sly smile] An image of her locked in the basement came to my mind just for a split second. Nah, she’d whine and demand things too much.

It’s so hard as a parent to see your kid mess up. There have been a few occasions when I’ve just wanted to smack someone upside the head and say, “I told you so.” But then, what good would that have done? None, except to make me feel better, hence the reason I left out the smack but still said the words.

Anyway, the other night ended with me shouting, “Just call me. Don’t forget.” That’s what I said as I dropped her off at her friend’s house. Well, those might not have been my exact words. My EXACT words were more like, “You’d better fucking call me, or you can start looking for a new place to live. Start right now, in fact. Maybe Angela’s mom will let you live with them.” I was mad. And mad me doesn’t mince words. And I know that if my daughter moved in with Angela (not her friend’s real name, but close) that she’d be home faster than a cat getting caught in the rain. Once and for all, maybe she’d appreciate what a great family she has.

A mother can dream.

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