Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Tough Love and Rusty Axes

Welcome back to The Cushy Parent!
So what have I been up to?  Well....yesterday morning I was on my exercise bike, sweating like a gerbil in a toaster, when the phone rang.  It was school.  My son had just passed out.  I drove down town like a maniac and fisted down the school doors – to find my son lying on the floor as a teacher dabbed his brow with a towel. 
Within twenty minutes we were at the doctors' getting my son checked out.  And within five more, he was sat on the balmy veranda of our local garden centre tucking into lemon meringue pie and a chocolate milkshake (my son, not the doctor). 
That kid knows how to work me.  I then got a text from my husband: Is this the new tough love stance you mentioned?
The point is that, aside from establishing that I wouldn’t know tough love if it came up to me in the street and propositioned me inappropriately, this fiasco got me thinking about how parents respond to perceived emergencies.  For instance, a friend of mine got a call from school  last week saying that her daughter had broken her leg, an ambulance was on its way and that she needed to come immediately.  She responded that she was busy but would be there in fifty minutes.  Wow.  I admired her, and feared her.
Much of parenting is banal, non-life-threatening.  “Mummy, my head is killing and is about to split into two” rarely translates as “Archie just spliced my skull with a rusty axe”.  As a consequence, all too often we barely listen to our kids.  I dread the day that my son tells me the living room curtains are on fire and I say “oh lovely.  Well done.”
Our mum told us to get 5 a day. 
We told her we've been on 5 a day since 1802. 
The daft eejit.
Back in my day... danger lurked unheeded.  Take the Shaws, who lived opposite my family's house .  Mrs Shaw was one of those vague parents who liked to garden and hum a lot (I don’t mean smell, but hum as in sing).  She rarely watched her children, who were also rather vague.  One day, I went running into our house yelling at the top of my voice “Mummy, come quickly, Nicholas’s got an AXE!”  My mum followed me outside only to discover that tiny Nicholas really did have an axe and was tottering around naked, wielding it in the middle of the road.  What the...? said mum, looking around for Mrs Shaw, before hearing a familiar humming sound and realising that Mrs Shaw was in her front garden, tending her roses.   
Nicholas never did cleave his brother’s head in two.  I believe that both her sons are alive and well today, although still experiencing some mental confusion. 
Mrs Shaw: vague and highly medicated, or parenting genius?  Who knows.  All I know is that my attitude towards Mrs Shaw has changed.  If I ever see her now, I’ll go up and shake her hand...  and beg for her prescription details.
Until next time my friends...
Next time at The Cushy Parent: find out the gruesome truth behind my son’s fainting stunt.

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