Maintaining the wild giggle to myself of the faded memory of the TIME magazine cover I too shake my head in misunderstanding of the critical judgment passed by parents and non-parents alike. I wonder why we “freak out” to see that a parent so chooses a path to nurture and bond with their child that may be socially out of norm, albeit unacceptable to a vast majority. Yet the parent that lets their child run the streets, is unaware of any retardation they may experience that puts them at a huge disadvantage among other children, and lacks the parental attachment necessary to provide basic loving care is ignored. Not even a huff, snort, or pissy remark given to this form of action and behavior.
I am talking about a parent that has no nurturing qualities whatsoever. I am speaking to a parent that lets their child leave the house and is unaware of their disappearance and is not in the least bit concerned to their childs whereabouts. I am speaking to a parent who has fully admitted the only reason the child is in their life is to save their marriage.
And we thought breastfeeding aÂ kindergartnerÂ wasÂ preposterous.
What I find most appalling is the fact that this parent ADOPTED their child. They CHOSE this child. They CHOSE to bring a special needs child into their home. They CHOSE this life. Call me callous, but this is like adopting a dog. Now when faced with the challenges that childhood brings with this child and the struggles of social growth and cognitive skills they seem to think that this behavior is the norm and ignore the fact their child has greater needs that some parents do not have the capacity to work with, through, or have any experience in the matter. They seem to brush the kid under the rug like he or she is the everyday norm, run of the mill standard kid with no special needs.
I struggle with this parent daily due to our close proximity. I have struggled to not write on this subject because of the damning effect. I struggle as I watch this parent spend more quality time with the family dogs on her daily constitutional than she does quality time with her child. I fight the urge to tell her to fuck off when her child randomly leaves their home and she is unaware of his disappearance, or maybe she is aware and does not exude concern, and the child shows up at my house, unannounced, unwanted, as the child stands at my doorstep entitled to come in and spend time with our family. I find pity and concern and anger with this situation that the child finds solace and acceptance in my home despite my hidden anger, concern, and lastly my pity.
This child acts as an ape in my home, climbing on counters, standing on counters and other household items that are not meant for this type of behavior. Pulling my window coverings from their bases in the walls leaving gaping wounds in my drywall needing to be repaired due to his feral behavior. I had patience and understanding in the beginning, knowing his situation.Â At first I made excuses that the child needed to know the boundaries in our home, to understand our rules and so we discussed healthy boundaries and rules.
Out the window….like their coverings.
I tried to reason and explain to the parents what his behavior entailed so as not to have a repeat offense.
Now, as the child visits my home on an almost every weekend basis I am faced with a rage I can no longer bridle from this parent who lacks any form of attachment, love, or concern for her CHOSEN child. The child is very special needs and quite frankly I am not equipped to deal with this sort of child that is not mine. I do not have the skills to entertain him on the days that are MINE to spend with my flesh and blood. To relax and enjoy my children because I am too spun and wound tighter than a drum because THIS child invades my home. Call me selfish, I can. Not my kid. You are probably thinking: “Don’t let him in,” “Send the child home,” all warranted responses to which I say, I am not the one letting him enter our home.
Often times the child shows up and is let in by my husband, sometimes my kids. If left to me I would leave him at the door at which he compulsively rang the door bell where I would want to rip the notification device from the wall to prevent further use. I then begin to question the motives of the mother who once sent him over stating, “It’s my weekend to relax and I want my time.” I nearly cam unglued and my rage almost got the better of me as I began to hoof my angry, selfish, self-righteous ass over to her house to demand she explain who the hell she was to make such claims and assume the weekends were not my family’s either. TWAT!
So I then question her motives again. My only assumption is her daft obliviousness to the fact that we have goings on in our lives, that we do not just sit around waiting for her to send her child off to our home to give her reprieve, she must just think that since we have three children…in the grand scheme what is one more. Again I curse TWAT and how dare she. But then I thought, why not play her game. One day the child came to the door and we sent our THREE children in tow with this child back to his home for a full on play date at their house.
The silence lasted about week. It was bliss.
Until the weekend this child came to the door on a Sunday, of all weekends, that we all decided to sleep in. By sleep in, I mean we all slept until roughly nine in the morning. The morning was glorious until I was ripped from my peaceful morning arousal by the door bell, a knock at the door, dogs barkingÂ fervently. FUCK!
Running to the door I answered and politely sent the boy away as he attempted to pout and I bit my adult lip to not rip his head off. Meandering back to my room to lay quietly again in my comfy bed to get my wits about me I hear another knock. Short of losing my shit altogether I advise my eldest son that is awake to ignore the door and the child coming to it every fifteen minutes. For an hour the child paces in front of our house after being sent away and finally I cannot take it and so I text the mother to see if she understands the gravity of the situation. Advising her I sent the boy home at nine…by now it is fifteen after 10 in the morning.
She doesn’t catch my drift.
Then the child is trying his hand at jimmying open my son’s bedroom window. At this point my husband is awake, because my sleeping lion has now come full rage and is about to pull the kid home by his ears. By no means am I a violent person, but the events that have taken place have pushed me to corporal actions. My husband calms me for a moment, steps outside and takes the boy aside, speaks to him and sends him on his way. While I pace furiously through my kitchen eyeing the events to the front of my house through my dining room window, I cannot take anymore shenanigans. I text the mother to explain that their child was sent away an hour ago because we wanted to sleep in without their child coming over for once, I explain him pacing in front of our house for the hour, I explain the attempted break in.
No admission of guilt.
Not even giving a fuck.
Then I am speechless. At a complete loss to the lack of concern on behalf of this parent. Their child was away from their home with no known whereabouts for more than a hour. They had assumptions I am sure. Let me further caveat all this that the child is EIGHT years old with special needs. Born of a mother who abused alcohol and drugs. A child who has spent his entire life in some form of therapy classes for social, cognitive, and other basic skills born unto children who are not born of the deficiencies he faces. But clearly he is of sound mind and body to walk around a neighborhood block, on a very heavy traffic neighborhood street, to come play with my children, without supervision on his jaunt, without concern of his whereabouts.
Maybe I am blowing the whole situation out of proportion. Maybe I just care to the whereabouts of my children. Maybe I care to their concern and to that of others. Maybe I enjoy to just spend time with my children on the weekends after I work all week. I am selfish in that I do not want to watch another parents child who sends them off so they can have peace and quiet. Maybe I find that there is a happy medium between the attachment and detached parenting ideals. I like that my children are their own person and being, sleep on their own, completed breastfeeding at one year, but still have me tuck them in at night, I have them still hold my hand across the street and through parking lots, I find that more of being a concerned, loving parent, than fitting into any mold of parenting principles.
When has the detached parenting gone too far? Or in this case was their any “parenting” involved at all?