7 Things…

As a parent, you spend most of the time trying to make sure your kids are having fun, learning new things, that they are brilliant in school and that they of course love you immensely.  In the world we live in, at least one parent work long hours in the office, while the other battles on in the house, making sure the family survives.   It sounds more omnious than it really is, but it’s unfortunately a fact.

Sometimes you wonder how the kids are and whether they miss you or not.  The horrible truth is that they probably don’t miss you, and they most likely didn’t notice you left for work, as they were having a blast in school or playing excellent games with their friends.  Some kids have imaginary friends who’ll keep them occupied for days.  My “friend” was called Herman and had red eyebrows.  He still visits me!

We spend time worrying too much about our kids when we are not with them. We should instead relax.  They are perfectly fine, and I’m certain that they are fine without their nagging parents.  I still remember how annoying my parents were at times, when they constantly were checking up on me.  Well, it’s probably because I was playing with matches in the barn!

Anyway, I’m now the parent of three beautiful kids.  I work a lot and spend just as much time in the house cleaning up after the riots after meals.  So, I’m not playing as much with the kids as I would liked to.  That said, I have plenty of fulfilling hours playing with them; Wii, Lego, Wii, Lego and some outdoor activities – and they do cherish the hours we spend together.

Now, some things are really starting to bother me.  It’s not the fact that I’m getting grey hair (according to my silver fox wife), but it’s the inevitable progression of things – that my kids will start doing stuff without us.  What worries me is simply:

  • How they will cope without me?
  • Who will look after them in school, in the street playing, etc.?
  • Will they even miss me?
  • What if something happens?

All things aside, there are 7 things that I’m really NOT looking forward to as a parent in the years to come. But I know I just have to accept them and get on with it.

Puberty (and everything that comes with it)

No, I’m not taking about the moments where they suddenly hate their parents, want to run screaming around the shopping centre naked or dress up like these Edward Scissor hands.  This is more tangible although frightening.

The first big change to girls is the Lopez (butt) formation, where the sides might increase slightly.  See, I can deal with that and so can most girls.  However, my problem as a father is when other parts start to change.  As toddlers, kids don’t care if you see them naked and one often bathe the kids together.  In fact, some kids have no hesitation to run around naked, showing what God gave them. It’s either that or they are just Scandinavian.

I have absolutely no idea how I’m going to deal with questions about the female body changing, despite having received a B+ in a college exam about the female cycle.  And, I have absolutely no problem watching naked people on TV.  But, this is my own daughter.  I’m still somewhat traumatized over the time when I saw my sister naked in our teens, by accident of course.  She hammered me over the head with a record as punishment.

It’s a fact that a boy’s voice changes, which can be hilarious – not for the boy – and it quickly becomes the talking point … literally.  Every family member is suddenly going to have long conversations with the poor boy, only to burst out laughing when his voice breaks.

The biggest problem for most teenagers, unless you are a computer nerd locked into your room most days, is dealing with zits.  These little (in some cases HUGE) mountains can be the most unpleasant creatures.  And, they tend to burst in the most awkward situations, such as meeting the boy/girl of your dreams or his/her parents.  Thankfully these can be defeated with creams and other chemicals.  I was lucky, as I never had problems with zits. So, advising my kids which product to use will be based on the ads on TV or I’ll quickly refer them to my wife.  Not that she has a zit problem, but she is very familiar with skin care products.

Meeting their first boyfriend / girlfriend

In short, this is never going to happen.  If you remember, they still have convents in various parts of the World and my daughter is already registered.

As for my son.  Well, go get ’em tiger.  Make daddy proud.

Listen, no boy is going to touch or kiss my girl, least of all when I’m around.  I’ll be loading my shotgun, just in case (don’t have one, but it sounds cool), and I’ll make sure nobody takes my little girl away.

I absolutely love the scene in Bad Boys, where a boy is picking up Marcus’ (Martin Lawrence) daughter.  Mike (Will Smith) opens the door and pretends to be some hard ass criminal …

Mike: [pretending to be drunk] Nigga, who is it at the door?
Marcus: It’s Reggie!
Mike: Who the fuck is Reggie?
Marcus: Came to take Megan out.
Mike: [to Reggie] What you want, nigga?
Reggie: I’m here… to take his daughter out.
Mike: Motherfucker, I heard the boy say your name Reggie? You wanna be takin’ Megan out?
Reggie: Yes, sire?
Marcus: Have my daughter back by 10:01. If she’s not back by 10:01 I’m in the car, locked, loaded and hunting your motherfucking ass down.
Mike: And I’ma be with him.
[pulls gun]
Mike: You know what it gonna be if I’m there, gonna be Chitty Chitty Bang Bang nigga.

My wife is dreading the first time their heart is broken by love.  I only had one love, my wife, so haven’t tried it.  All I can say is ” better start running punk!”.

First real party

What could possible go wrong?  In short, a lot!  At least a lot went wrong when I started to go to parties; girls (I wish!), booze, rock ‘n roll and smoking.  What could go wrong, went wrong.  I’ve never been the same since, and according to my dad, I threw away a brilliant badminton career.  He said I could have made it big – well I won the club championship in mixed doubles at the age of 13.

Partying was always more fun, except the day after.  It soon became a regular weekend event and I was meeting a lot of new “interesting” people.

Now, my kids will not be allowed to any party until they are 21.  As if that’s going to happen.  I’ve always said that the first beer should be shared with your parents, then kids are less likely to go on mad binge sessions.  That’s the only thing I fear – a loco evening with friends can quickly turn nasty.  So, my kids will (I hope) be sensible about parties, especially because they see us parents at parties.  They know you can have fun parties without alcohol – even though a gallon of Caiparinha does wonders to any party 🙂

My advise is simple; learn to say no and always have enough for a cab home.

Joining the mobile bandwagon

Most kids are demanding mobiles from an early age, so they can stay in touch with their mates.  It should not be necessary to have a mobile, when they can use our house phone.  Also, I prefer if they use email and Facebook, where I can monitor them – and protect them from creeps.

The problem with mobiles is also that kids don’t learn how to spell properly.  The use text language that slowly takes over their writing.  Once they get to the exam room, they can’t even spell memory!  The worst thing is that I can’t understand or read this foreign language.  It looks like writings from Pandora.

That said, I will get my daughter a mobile, but one of those simple phones from Firefly. It allows the kid to call either mum or dad, and we can always reach her.

They gotta earn it!

I had my first official job when I was 10 delivering newspapers.  Before that I helped my day in the workshop.  That’s how I made money to buy stuff.  It felt so nice getting paid and then buying something you really wanted, not having to wait for Santa or your birthday to come around.

Work became part of my daily routines and it financed most of my youth – all the way through college – covering rent, food, CDs, smokes, parties, etc.  It was my freedom.

But, kids nowadays don’t work.  They expect to get everything served so they can focus on college, traveling and hanging out with their mates.

My kids will from the age of 7 start to have house chores, saving money for their own stuff.  I will of course provide parental guidance, such as buying a PS3 with 2 controllers instead of one.  If they want to have freedom (buy what they want), then they have to earn it.  That includes paying for their own way when moving out too, which is in deep contrast to my wife.

Going on their own holiday

That’ll be a tough one.  I would miss them all the time and constantly wonder what they are up to … NOOOO   ha ha ha 🙂  I would enjoy having time off with the missus, just the two of us, traveling the World.  It’ll be good for the kids to look after themselves, and I trust them enough to know that they’ll be sensible.  Sure they’ll be getting drunk and make fools of themselves, but they’ll do it with style.  They would know when to say ‘no’ and always call if they need help.

Moving out

That’s it.  We’ve done our bit.  Now it’s time they start looking after us.  They are always welcome back at the house and I will still look after them from afar.  Whenever they need help, we’ll be there.

Still, I’m dreading the silence that will be left behind when they leave.  And, it would certainly make me feel old.

What if they move somewhere really far far away and marry an ogre?  Will they ever move out?  Is that it?  Will they ever visit us again?

So, what are your greatest fears about your kids growing up?

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