Monday, October 8, 2012

Bad Parenting 101

So sometimes you just suck at parenting.  You make bad choices.  David standing at the top of the stairs with Rissa cowering below him on the landing three steps below.  "Go get your book!  You are old enough to be able to go down the stairs by yourself with the lights on!  If you don't go downstairs and get your book, you will stand on this landing ALL night."  You draw the wrong line in the sand, lead with anger instead of patience.  Like I did when Rissa was about 4... "I am NOT killing that spider up in the highest corner of the public washroom for you because you're worried it might bite you.  And if you keep crying I will leave you in the bathroom to pee all by yourself.  (Wail!  Wail! Wail!)  Okay, I warned you.  You will pee all by yourself."  Just awesome standing outside that washroom with horrified on-lookers.  But I had drawn the line in the sand.  It was the WRONG line in the sand, but I couldn't go back.
When Rissa was two I locked her in the garage.  And before you threaten to call children's services... It was so I wouldn't kill her.  She was having a full-on tantrum, I picked her up under one arm to carry her up to her room.  She was wailing, screaming and scratching and I knew that I wouldn't be able to make it up the stairs without strangling her, so I opened the garage door, turned on the light, put her in and then shut the door.  I held on to the other side of the door as she wailed and screamed and told her that Mummy could not let her in because Mummy needed a time out.  David was horrified when he got home.  "What would you rather"? I asked.  "Coming home to a strangled child or a child who was in the garage for 2 minutes?"
As they get older you make different mistakes.  You think your mature 12 year old kid can see the 14A movie.  Yesterday we might have taken Rissa to see Looper.  It's a film starring Joseph Gordon Levitt and Bruce Willis - Rissa LOVES both those actors, with a pretty big crush on JGL.  It is a film featuring time travel... murder for pay and.... apparently... limb amputation.  Well-written, did NOT go where I expected it to.  Great film... for ADULTS.  About 20 minutes in, after a particularly violent section of character-building plot, Rissa leans over to me and says, "What is this movie rated?"  If I'd been a good parent, knowing as I did how her body language had changed and sensing her discomfort, I should have then taken her out of the movie.  I didn't.  I was a bad parent.  But I DID cover her eyes when I knew that the really bad shit was coming up.  Does that help my case here?

WAY too much fun!!
Right after that we went to see Pitch Perfect, a movie about collegiate acapella singing - which our geeky little household absolute adores - we'd been following The Sing-Off (see the clip of all-girl group Delilah below) for the past couple of years.  I barked laughter at least a 1/2 dozen times, which happens rarely for me at the movies.  I'm more of a chuckler unless it strikes my comedic fancy which Hanna Mae Lee's character did.  ("I ate my twin in the womb.")    As the movie was ending Rissa announced, "WE NEED TO OWN THIS!!" 

It was the perfect movie to purge Rissa's mind of the 14A nastiness from the first movie. There, see?  Now we were the GOOD parents.  Of course I had to spend  45 minutes holding Rissa's hand in bed, having given her a couple of stress tabs to chew, waiting for her to fall asleep because she wouldn't let me leave and mentioned several times "I really didn't like the Joseph Gordon Levitt movie Mummy.  It was NOT Inception." 

When I was 12, I made the mistake of watching The Exorcist while having a sleep over at a friend's house.  (It was the 1980 and apparently it was okay to have rated R horror movies on primetime then.)  I slept with my little brother for 4 months after that.  To this day, if I see even a film still of Linda Blair from the movie I want to throw up.  She's 12.  We know that Rissa she can handle the F-word, adult comedic situations and cartoony violence.  There may be times when she acts 16, and talks about non-neutonion fluids, but as she clung to my hand last night - even in sleep - she's still my little girl and as much as I want to share the Kill Bill movies with her?  She's too young.  I can wait.  She'll be older all too soon.

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