How To Raise The Perfect Child And Genuinely Celebrate Mothers Day

Something extraordinarily momentous is going to happen on my blog today. Something that doesn’t happen very often, so prepare yourselves.

 

Mr Benn The Pirate
Mr Benn The Pirate (Photo credit: a11sus)

This post is going to be a HAPPY post.

 

If Mr Benn can do it (Pom joke), so can I. So today I am choosing to be Pharell Williams and to ‘feel happy’, even though its taken all of my courage to post this piece because I am fully aware that I run the risk of losing those few loyal readers, who obviously share my antipathy towards life in general and get off on a good whinge.

 

And yes, I am fully aware of the potential repercussions. Anxiety says that if you find yourself in a happy place – Be FUCKING AWARE – no-one really gets away with that shit, and some hideous retribution will be lurking around the corner.

 

But I’ll ignore the voices for today, because guess what? Kurt is doing okay at school.

 

I SAID KURT IS DOING OKAY AT SCHOOL.

 

Cue: drum roll and god-awful trumpet sounds.

 

 

HALLELUJAH, Hallelujah, Hallelujah……

 

According to his teachers, (and I quote), ‘there have been no major behavior infringements this term, his key assignments have been completed and handed in on time (which makes his tutor the best $40 I’ve spent in a long time) and his teachers LIKE him.

 

‘I’m sorry, you must have made a mistake.’ I questioned. ‘My son’s Kurt Cobain.’

 

It turns out that my son is ‘trying’.

 

So this current state of euphoria must be what parents that don’t have ‘Kurts’ feel on parents evening? I keep humming ‘you are the wind beneath my wings’ playfully in his ear, but he swats me away angrily, like he would a fly.

 

But he has negotiated a Macca’s this weekend as the first recompense for ‘CONFORMING’.

 

It’s all my fault, apparently. So what’s new?

 

It was funny not walking away from the usual parent speed-dating night (thanks @meggsie62 for that wonderful analogy) without wanting to camouflage myself or hide and weep in the nearest dark corner with a bottle of Vodka. Strange not to feel deflated or fearful about my son’s future; I didn’t even HATE (WITH A WORRYING LEVEL OF VENGEANCE) every other parent in the hall and all their perfectly formed children.

 

I left that hall with my head held high, a very silly grin plastered on my face and a distinct spring to my step.

 

In fact what I really wanted to do was get on a soapbox and shout out to everyone there, ‘Yes, that’s my son, Kurt Cobain. Form an orderly queue, please, if you want to learn how to successfully parent a child with ADHD,’ and on the back of this I would obviously set up a financially successful parenting programme and cite wine and chocolate as my major influences.

 

But I was too worried that the old man might get to the wine drip I’d set up at home first.

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Driven Insane By Kurt Cobain.

So I got a new motor this week.

 

kurt cobain
kurt cobain (Photo credit: seattlewhat)

I can’t say it was a purchase that the old man took lightly – as many of you know, there is very little manoeuvrability within the old man’s pockets – but after fifteen years of nagging and providing him with several very valid reasons as to why I was stealing his golf membership money, (that include the safety of our children and having a GPS that can actually direct me from A to B), he finally caved in.

 

And I’ve surprised myself by becoming very precious about this new car.

 

Which is funny, because I consider myself to be a normal woman when it comes to cars and aside from the colour, I really don’t give a fuck about or understand a damn thing about engine size, petrol consumption or those other minor specifications that men masturbate over.

 

But one particular male in our household has been particularly excited by our new purchase – he, (who along with ‘The Medicinal Benefits of Cannabis’) who is studying Top Gear as one of his electives for his HSC and who refers to Jeremy Clarkson as Dad.

 

Which has caused some personal distress for me in my new motor because he just keeps touching things.

 

Normally our car journeys together are a time where Kurt and I reconnect, albeit to the background noise of some god-awful music that he has recently discovered so that I can’t even hear the GPS let alone her wonderful mispronunciations of Australian street names, and I turn into my mother.

 

‘TURN THAT MUSIC DOWN!’

 

When the old man got a new car a few years ago, Kurt and the Spoodle Princess were forbidden entry, but because my car has been categorised as the ‘family’ car (aka The Pit), I have to share it with the parasites and pretend to be tolerant.

 

There is tolerance and then there is being a fucking saint of a parent, which as you’ve probably realized by now, I’m not.

 

I took Kurt to his drumming lesson yesterday. Ordinarily, this is a ‘happy’ journey together because he is excited at the prospect of beating the fuck out of a drum set and pretending it’s his parents, and I get a useless hour to wander around Leichhardt in search of a decent coffee from one of those lovely Italian restaurants that are never open when I am there.

 

Generally, on the way back home we catch up on what Kurt has been doing that he shouldn’t be doing, while we sit in rush hour traffic.

 

But yesterday was different because the new car has changed the usual dynamics of my one chance per week to be a good parent. I admit to feeling on edge about Kurt touching my new toy and playing aggressively with the controls within my first twenty-four hours of ownership. ADHD kids like touching, taking apart and sometimes destroying as a mode of learning and I wasn’t ready to sacrifice my car, yet. Horrible memories of a similar situation came flooding back of when the old man and I bought our first sofa together some twenty years ago from this posh shop in London. On the first night, while we were sleeping and I was dreaming of its beautiful latte upholstery, one of our cats decided that the sofas arms were better than any scratching post she’d ever seen and clawed the fuck out of both them and my precious sofa was completely ruined.

Veteran Car Dashboard
Veteran Car Dashboard (Photo credit: photographia magnetica)

 

I felt really sad and a little bit sick every time I sat on that sofa over the next ten years and the experience cost the old man five years of therapy as well the re-upholstery costs.

 

Kurt knows that when he pushes the electric window buttons and the automatic door lock button constantly that I become agitated, and this new car has a veritable smorgasbord of interesting buttons to push. He then proceeded to yank at the fragile-looking stick-thing (that I give one month max) that controls the GPS and radio (that’s if you know how to use it) and I remember thinking at that point, ‘thank fuck, we didn’t get the sunroof.’

 

And as we sat on the Harbour Bridge, bumper to bumper, I began to hyperventilate so loudly that I couldn’t even hear Barbie’s frantic commands of ‘turn around where possible’ on the GPS, took the wrong turn and began heading back to Parramatta, which provoked Kurt to roar in rage that even with a GPS I could still get fucking lost.

 

The straw that broke the camel’s back was when he turned Nirvana up so loudly and proceeded to drum in time with his drum sticks on my new, perfect dashboard. I stopped the car and told him calmly that unless he could behave like a sixteen year old rather than a three year old, he would have to walk home.

 

Or maybe…. I did an emergency stop, (destroying my new brake pads), stormed out of the car and tried to yank him out of the passenger seat like a crazy woman, bellowing expletives that even I didn’t know I knew.

 

I haven’t played the ‘get out of the car right now’ parenting card for at least five years but at least this time it wasn’t dark and he was wearing trousers.

 

I know that one shouldn’t get prissy about material things and that relationships are more important, (thank you Pinterest), but sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of what is important.

 

Mr Cobain has been warned that next time I will leave him there.

 

 

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The Secret to Visualizing Happiness In Middle Age

Pinterest tells me on a daily basis that happiness comes from being grateful for what we have – but sometimes that’s easy to forget.

Like yesterday morning.

Motorsports / Formula 1: World Championship 2010, GP of MalaysiaIt’s dire having to work Saturdays at the best of times for a billion different reasons, but the main one being that you can’t get shit-faced on Friday night.

Admittedly, in comparison to some peoples jobs, mine is pretty cushy and flexible and when Kurt Cobain is your progeny, that flexibility becomes more and more useful to cater for all those last minute emergency therapy sessions, brown-nosing of school Principals and urgent dashes to guitar shops for life or death ‘parts’.

But I do have to work Saturdays (sigh).

Nevertheless, yesterday morning I had attempted to swallow that bitter pill and was trying to visualise happiness. It was pretty easy to be fair – not only was it a beautiful Sydney morning, it was also a reasonable hair day and I think I might even have had a spring in my step as I collected my clients and began meandering out of the CBD towards Potts Point, chit-chatting inanely about the wonders of the city. I remember thinking to myself at one point, that although it was indeed a Saturday and the rest of the world was obviously having a fucking awesome time without me, life wasn’t too bad.

Then I got a flat tyre… with clients in my car…in the middle of the CBD…and with a schedule of back-to-back appointments lined up for the day.

To add salt to the wound, I was driving a hire car whilst the local smash repair place attempted some state of the art (very expensive) plastic surgery on the superficial wounds incurred by the old man, who these days can’t seem to navigate walls when reversing in car parks.

Needless to say, the hire vehicle was not covered by my personal roadside assistance.

I can admit now to experiencing an emotional implosion as I stood there looking at the saggy back tyre while my clients fretted behind me, anxiously waiting for me to wave my wand and get us out of this awkward situation.

(An emotional implosion, as opposed to an emotional explosion, is where you become so anxious that you almost lose control of all physical faculties but have to carefully conceal this state because you are supposed to be a consummate professional, while you try to ascertain the best way to handle a truly fucked up situation. Your inner voices may well be hollering FUCK! WANK! BOLLOCKS! SHIT! I’M JUST NOT MATURE ENOUGH TO DEAL WITH THIS LEVEL OF SHIT! but you must feign calmness and find a solution).

I knew the professional thing was to remain calm, but all I wanted to do was kick that fucking hire car, desert my clients and march off to the nearest café for a double shot coffee with a Whisky chaser.

But I didn’t. Professionalism prevailed.

Twitching only slightly, I managed to pack my clients off in a cab with vague promises of meeting them in a couple of hours time, once I had miraculously mended the unreliable fuckmobile.

Surprisingly, I managed to orchestrate the repair quite quickly, as it appears that I can still hold my own with semi-retired, short-sighted NRMA men, even though I have become invisible to men with working penises between the ages of 0 and 55,

But of course, that two hours of stress had to present itself physically in some way – everyone knows that you don’t get away that easily with ‘life shit’, and of course it did – in the form of the most ginormous, throbbing and weeping blister on my little toe that reduced me to walking like Detective Columbo for the rest of the day.

So when I finally dropped my clients back at their hotel at the end of the day and looked at the blood seeping through my new orange suede shoes, I sat in that pile-of-shit called a car and I cried until I had proven that my waterproof mascara was not in fact waterproof and my eyes were as red and puffy as my little toe.

Until I remembered how I had started the day – visualizing happiness.

I buoyed myself up again with what I have learnt from Pinterest – that shit only happens to people who can handle it, and how shit makes us stronger, and all that inspirational crap about life that I normally chuckle over psychotically – and I decided that I would not let a little flat tyre beat me and that I would change my attitude to life.

Again.

Because I’m middle-aged now, and frankly I might be running out of time to find the meaning of life and real happiness. Sometimes I admit that I get bogged down by my own cynicism. And anyway, you’re far more likely to live longer if you are insanely happy, rather than when you moan about everything. Just look at Tibetan monks and Hari Krishna people.

Not that I ever allow my wine glass to be half empty, but I have decided to make it half-full ALL the time from now on. I am going to be positive and happy and try to see the best in every situation, and above all be grateful for the wonderful life I have. Because according to Pinterest, ‘happiness’ doesn’t cost anything, (although obviously in my case, it might constitute a radical personality change).

So I spent last night thinking about all the truly awesome things in my life.

I thought about what a beautiful day it was in Sydney yesterday morning….although the flies were particularly irritating while I was waiting for the NRMA guy to change the tyre, dressed as I was in my corporate attire in 27 degrees heat.

I thought about how much I missed the old man who is away for the next ten days…..although fortunately he has left his credit card and I am sleeping better and they are ten hours behind in the UK.

I thought about Kurt’s recent attempts to give up smoking…which would be great if he wasn’t ‘dancing on the ceiling’ with withdrawal symptoms and replacing tobacco, (I suspect), with something else.

I thought about how wonderful the other day had been when NC and I had sunbaked together around North Sydney pool…until I remembered catching a glimpse of her pert breasts in that barely-there bikini and looking at my own flattened baps in comparison in my burqa-style Speedo.

But then I did only gain 1kg this week and I suppose that I don’t have to worry about STDs, pretending to be interesting, shaving my legs or pregnancy anymore…

I’ve decided that the secret to visualizing happiness in middle-age is defining the macro from the micro first…

When I was five years old my mother always told me that ‘happiness’ was the key to life. When I went to school they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me that I didn’t understand the assignment and I told them that they didn’t understand life.‘ John Lennon

The Lethal Cocktail of ADHD And Depression

Deutsch: Cocktail
Deutsch: Cocktail (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We’ve had a bad week with Kurt.

You might remember that in my last post I caught myself foolishly romanticizing about how fantastic life was – it was like I’d discovered God or something and would be joining those rockster Christians in our local church on Sunday for a non-alcoholic drink and a session eulogising the joys of ‘giving’.

But anxiety says that dumb attitudes like that always precede a big mother fucking fall, and inevitably the euphoria was short-lived as reality banged rudely on our door once again.

ADHD can be a bitch like that. The only positive thing you can say about mental illness, is that it’s certainly never boring or predictable.

I sat in an ADHD support group last week, trying not to laugh hysterically as I listened to this fantastic speaker, Caroline Stevenson, reaffirm what life is truly like with ADHD kids. She talked of highs and lows, sinking and swimming – drowning a lot.

As she pointed out, ADHD is a very different animal to other mental disorders. Where other mental illnesses provoke pity, caring and support, ADHD is much more reactive and controversial. These kids can test your limits all the time – they can be angry and make you angry, oppositionally defiant, sly and (as she put it), fucking ‘annoying’ at times. (I might have added the F word).

Sometimes, they are very hard to love.

Mix depression into that blend, a pinch of anxiety and the general horrors of full-blown teenage-dom and you have the recipe for chaos.

After the fallout at the beginning of the year when we first arrived in Gotham City, (and the shit hit the proverbial fan), things had settled down recently to a suspiciously calmer pace. Kurt had tried and tested the delights of Glee School and its bounty of illicit goody bags and girls, and I assumed that the novelty of city life had worn off to a steadier grind.

The old man and I breathed again.

Kurt has been ‘happy’ of late, aided by a concoction from his psychiatrist, although he has put his outlet of music on the back burner while focusing for the first time on the social side of his life and new school.  He objects to his medication, saying that it thwarts his creativity – but at least those terrifying angry outbursts which often led to cutting, (which is terrifying as a parent), had dissipated for the time being.

He continued to hyper focus on the 27 Club, of course. He soaks up everything about his idol Kurt Cobain, and is as admiring of his behaviour offstage almost as much as his music, sadly.

But then something snapped.

It can be the tiniest trigger with ADHD – a falling out with a mate, me being less patient than I should be due to the balance of work and parenting or putting my own needs first, or simply from tiredness towards the end of term and feeling overwhelmed by the demands of relentless assignments, (that he has no hope of completing).

He buys sharpeners with my money and unscrews the blades to cut his arms. This is the same boy who screams in pain when I tweeze his mono-brow or put his earring back in.

And then I freak out and blow everything out of proportion because I am his mum and that’s what mums do and I can’t bear the thought of life without my ‘mad’ son. And that triggers the old man to become Mr Angry because he doesn’t have the emotional tools to deal with a child he can’t understand. Which in turn triggers NC to defend her Dad, and get all bitchy because her loony brother is taking over again and the family revolves around his needs like stars orbiting in the Kurt solar system.

He’s not actually ‘OK’, you see, if you measure ‘ok’ on the sanity chart with ‘conventional’ being ok.

And he probably never will be.

Suicide is my biggest fear. We all know that ADHD mixed with depression has the potential to lead to suicide.

I try to undo the damage caused by the missing Dopamine in his head at every opportunity, but sometimes the sheer frustration of not being able to get through to this human being that I created turns me into a mad woman too. When you are terrified that your child will hurt itself, the parenting rules go out of the window.

How can I punish him or shout at him? What if he does something stupid?

God, I would miss him. He is part of me, a huge part of me. It would be like someone opening my body and ripping out my insides. I am so like him. There is a bigger connection than normal, (almost perversely so), because genetically we have many of the same traits, only mine are not as extreme as his – perhaps my wires are not quite as tangled as his or I was able to develop the coping strategies to manage my shit better.

I want him to understand the preciousness of life and how much we love him, but I can’t get through to him. He smiles sympathetically when I try to tell him my fears, but I know that he doesn’t understand them.

On a good day, his ambition in life is about making his mark and leaving the world on a high. Which is what he thinks Kurt did.

On a bad day, he can’t even see a way out.

Mental illness sucks. I defy anyone to say that eventually a ‘pull yourself together’ attitude works. There is a chasm there, a black hole of chemical imbalance that defies logic.

If only my biggest fear for my teenage son was his HSC score or him drinking too much alcohol, rather than him taking his own life. If only I could be certain of that suicide cocktail not becoming lethal.