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Parenting: It’s A Kind Of Magic …

Kids believe in magic when it comes to clean socks and feeding the dog

“The kids in Kolkata won’t be worrying about how their water bottles are filled going off to school … if they are lucky enough to have a school … and they won’t be talking to their parents like that, either …”

I didn’t say that, did I? Said I to myself even as I said it.

K was flustering around the kitchen counter, all moaning and flicking/testing of freshly curled hair ends. Stuffing containers of crackers and fruit segments into her bag, ready to run out the door for school. And there was this offensive water bottle to deal with.

Told me she hated water bottles refilled, because they drip in her satchel, on her books. Fair enough point if it wasn’t being hissed at me with the subtlety of a prosecuting senior counsel.

So Sarky Dad had to stick his oar in, of course.

When the wind abated and she was gone, I had to think about it all. Again.

Yes, her attitude was terrible, and mine hardly better, but she was up and out, and looking gorgeous and fresh.

The episode was actually well down the K Scale and nothing like the explosion it could have been … so the morning had been okay, really.

It’s just hard to see it like that at the time, though, when tensions are high, and there’s this sniping and counter-sniping.

Or have my expectations lowered so much that I see taking only a certain amount of crap as a result?

Handling young teens often seems like handling explosive devices. Trying to maintain control while trying to not set them off. Or yourself.

Hard to do this when even the way you look, how you breathe, even, seems to send them into paroxysms of disdain and irritation.

I often think we set ourselves up for this by taking our kids so seriously. Which reassures and pisses them off in equal measure.

Of course they talk and act this way with us because ultimately they know they can.

And accuse us of not caring while knowing there is nothing we care about more.

Right from the beginning.

I still remember 15 years ago late at night watching the same K sleeping in her basket after bringing her home from the hospital, and the feeling of relief when I saw that tiny little chest rising after a pause that went on for a small eternity.

And then we introduced our children to magic, all Santa, fairy tales and you can be anything you want to be if you believe hard enough Disney-drivel.

Santa and the tooth-fairy are long gone but our household still functions on magic.

Domestic magic. The kind that clears the dishwasher, washes floors and hangs those ironed school uniforms in their wardrobes. And pays for school trips, hoodies and football boots from a source that never depletes.

The magicians are here every day, showing how it’s done, but it’s still magic! If you choose to believe. Our kids sure seem to.

Little wonder that one of my nieces, many years ago when she was seven, told her parents she was going to run away, and when asked what she would do for money, patiently replied: “I’ll get it out of the cash machine outside the bank.”

Which is maybe why it’s so hard to get our teenies to want to take on those magic housekeeping jobs themselves. Without payment.

Of course, it doesn’t help when you have been fobbed off with “Just one sec …” for the umpteenth time and finally flip your lid.

Despite seeing Mommy and Daddy cleaning and cooking all the time, some part of our big, stropping … I mean strapping …  teenagers still believes fresh socks just waft into their drawers, and that creamy carbonara for four just appears on the table at mealtime.

They are bright as anything but still have to be told to get their jackets even though an Arctic gale is blowing outside.

I remember years ago in college reading for the first time about psychotic behaviour.

Turned out it had nothing to do with pulling crazy faces, drooling and talking random nonsense to yourself all day long, with no logic to it.

No, psychosis was logical all right. It was just the logic started from a different place to what might be considered “normal”. And it remained utterly true to that different logic. Was governed by it, in fact.

Which reminds me of how teenagers behave sometimes.

So one minute they are all bright and chatty, and this parenting game is a breeze, and then you ask them, again, to tidy their room and they come at you all confrontational and aggressive.

You are taken aback and regrettably, sometimes you bark back and try to take them to task.

Pretty soon there’s sparks flying and the actual cause of the conflagration is forgotten, as they go through all your parental flaws and all the rest.

You are left seething, and more fool you if you think there will be an apology later.

Yes, I see teenage logic as broadly similar to adult logic, only it starts from a slightly different place. Our adult version is flawed, or as they might put it, “So *** pathetic and stew-pid!!!”

From their point of view, their hormonally-fuelled over-response to your basic parental instruction is magically subtracted from the equation, and thus did not happen, whereas your parental irritation and anger are not alone left in, they may even be multiplied …

So, your flying off the handle had nothing to do with them, and only proves, again, what a crap parent you are.

Magic, isn’t it?

It’s also the kind of magic whereby all the wonderful things you do are just … you know, normal … what every parent does … but if those socks don’t appear, or those keys can’t be found, then the dreaded incantational shout of “Mom!!” or “Dad!!” goes up and this all better be sorted pretty quickly.

Magic, my arse!

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Lucy At Home UK gentle parenting bloggerDIY DaddyCuddle Fairy
Mix It Up LinkyShank You Very Much
My Random Musings

 

76 comments on “Parenting: It’s A Kind Of Magic …

  1. Oh yes! This is brilliant I laughed so much reading this mate. Mainly because it’s my life too! It’s our home and even with two children living away nowadays the magic extends to there homes. You have that to look forward to. Fabulous read Enda.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Daydreamer mum

    Yes , yes and yes!!! the answer to “please could you …” being “one second” makes me ready to sscream (which I don’t…obviously…often)
    I am just blown away by the teenage brain , why argue when you could just have an easy life without mumon your back. One of my teens who shall remain nameless will argue the toss about things on a whim. One day it’ll be fine , the next worth a row and we are both so bloody stubborn we end up in a stand off situation….about nothing!! sigh… #globalblogging

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Much ado about nothing could well describe life with teenies … it’s amazing how they can go from genius to gobshite and back in seconds! Thanks Kelly

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  4. I can remember (with a shudder) my boys when they were teens. I think the phrase “pick your battles” helped me get through those years. Now they are all adults and behaving “normally” again. Thank goodness we all made it through with no lasting ill effects from the teenage years!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ours are still pre-teen, but oh, how they are practicing for this new stage! Yikes. #mixitup xo

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  6. #globalblogging xo

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m not looking forward to the teen years. My Lillie beasts are hard enough work as is.

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  8. Another gem of a post. I cannot say that I am looking forward to this stage. Even if it is a good 7-8 years away! #MixItUp

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Loved this post — parental magic . . . that’s definitely one way of putting it!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. So, parents are magic and teenagers psychotic? I love it! Brilliant piece of writing Enda (As usual) I don’t normally confess this publicly, but I do have a psychotic adult child, and she’s very much like a 30 yr old teenager, the arguments and tantrums are the same (But harsher) I have to think of it the same way, ‘logic started from a different place’ to cope. Thankfully, there is some maturity in there, because I always get an apology. Back to teenagers, I have a 13 yr old and two young ones…Quick, I need an extra double dose of magic powers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jesus, Anne, I was just taking a bit of poetic licence there: I’m not saying teenagers are psychotic … it just seems like that sometimes to me!!! Joking … kind of!! Gosh you sure have your hands full. I don”t know you, obviously, Anne, but you amaze me.

      Like

      • ha ha, I know that! they’re no more psychotic than we parents are magic. I’m not that special you know, I just deal with stuff, it’s my job. I’m pretty boring really 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Everybody’s boring to somebody … and everybody’s amazing to someody else!! Glad it’s like that …

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Karen Dennis

    Definitely with you on this #itsok@_karendennis

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Very nice and even with my kids in their 20’s, parenting is still magic. #mixitup

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I have an almost teen and we are definitely in this territory. I am walking on egg shells and we still have magic fairies who do everything here. I take some comfort in the fact I am not alone. #mixitup

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Kate Holmes

    So real and true. I feel lucky really as mine are not all that stroppy at all probably because I am or something – I don’t know. I think the fact all the getting to work and school stuff does not apply with us so there is more time to work things through perhaps and a walk in the forest will always work its own brand of magic. I remember being terrible at 14-15 – used to call my Dad “sheep” to his face time and time again. My 18 year old son gets stroppy about fairness in the world which I approve of so we can bond on that. He will tell me off for times when I was mentally not strong and did bad things parenting wise. Rightly so! My daughter can throw a brilliant strop but she just impresses me with her feisty attitude. Reminds me of a younger and better me. My youngest uses charisma which he has in heaps so rarely needs to lose it. I guess they like us are all individuals finding their way. Oh and if you work out the trick to getting them to clean up let me know. Mine will cook but cleaning just happens by the wonder woman that should be blogging #AnythingGoes

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do wish my daughter would walk to school, and other places more because I agree, walking is great to clear the head, and provide much needed exercise, which my daughter’s gang seem to have abandoned totally!! I don’t mind feisty, like you, I admire this in my daughter, but downright rude and obnoxious … not so much! Thanks so much for your brilliant contribution

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  15. Kate Holmes

    Popping back to enjoy your words including “gobshite” which is one of my all-time favourites via #GlobalBlogging

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Kate Holmes

    Popping back for the third time this time via #DreamTeam – shall I just tell you that I love the song “It’s a Kinda Magic” by Queen

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Kate Holmes

    Getting silly now #TriumphantTales

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Tracey Carr

    Enda, you’re scaring me! My girls are 4 and 2 so this is all still to come. Yikes!! But you make me consider my behaviour when I was a teenager with my own parents and you are so correct – I took absolutely everything for granted. And it is only now as a parent myself that I really begin to realise the extent of how much they did for me. Oh the gratitude comes a bit too late doesn’t it?!! I’m currently hanging my head in shame here – sorry Mum, sorry Dad! #itsok

    Liked by 1 person

    • You will be brilliant, Tracey. My daughter and I clash a fair bit … because we are alike!! I console myself with the thought that this is a phase, and by many accounts, they come out all right in the end … fingers crossed! I wasn’t exactly an angel myself when I was that age. Thanks so much for your comments

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  19. Sigrid Chu

    Hello Enda,

    My little one is 5 and these past few days have been tumultuous for us. There’s the multitude of “just one sec…” or doing things that he’s been explicitly told not to do. Seems like he aged 10 years in just a few days. Last night I was told I was “mean” for telling him off. I’m exhausted. I keep telling myself, “This too shall pass.”

    Thank you for this post!

    Best,
    Sigrid

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Ouch…I have a long way to go for the teen years, and there are times I feel like giving up now!!! But I love the piece and the ‘magic’ you have woven into parenting – chuckling, because it’s almost true! Thanks for linking up with #itsok

    Liked by 1 person

  21. such a difficult age, I don’t miss it but know that I’ve got another round coming up. I found the hardest thing was that our expectations for each other just never seemed to line up. #blogginggoodtime

    Liked by 1 person

    • The poor so-and-sos are also being set up by some crazy notion of the perfection that everyone else is living on Snapchat. But they are smart enough to learn what really matters … eventually! Thanks Jeremy

      Like

  22. And there I was thinking this parenting thing might get easier! As for teenager logic. this soulds like a wonderful explanation. The dreadful this is, as a teen I was just the same, thinking clothes magically appeared, food magically cooked, water bottles magically filled. If it makes you feel any better, I use similar lines. If the youngest won’t eat her food I generally point out the kids in Yemen haven’t eaten in weeks and she should be grateful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yemen, eh? No water nottle filling issues there, right enough! Hehe, I know we were all the same as teens, John …I just like a good moan now and again. The really gas thing is we know those lines don’t work, just as my old dad’s lines were sneered at at … by me!

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  23. Karen Dennis

    Reading this brightened an otherwise dreary morning #thatfridaylinky@_karendennis

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Ha! very well put as always Enda. My eldest is not quite 8 and already trying on her tween-strops from time to time! Thanks for linking up with #itsok xx

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I only have a tween at the moment but I recognise your description of handling an “explosive devise” very well! #blogcrush

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  26. I only have a tween and it’s already as you describe “ike handling an “explosive devise”. I can’t say I’m looking forward to moving from tween to teen!

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  27. Hi Josie …yeah, one false move and they go off!!! Hehe

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  28. Ha! That’s so funny. I definitely think there’s a hidden magician in every household. Underpaid, under appreciated and quite forgotten. Until the hidden magic of ironed clothes, meals and general ferrying about slips up… and then yes… everyone remembers and can’t understand why these things are not appearing out of thin air. A brilliant read. Thanks for joining us for the #dreamteam 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Nowhere near the teenage years yet but I could do with a magic fairy to help with the replenishing of underwear etc. Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging

    Liked by 1 person

  30. I’m so worried about he boys being teens… Ben already selectively ignores us much to our frustration! Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Get your own back by selectively ignoring his requests for treats or wharever! Or selectively ignoring certain outbursts or responses can be good for parental sanity also!! Hehe. Thanks, Lianne

      Liked by 1 person

  31. Thanks for linking to #Thatfridaylinky hope to see you next week

    Liked by 1 person

  32. A tween and soon to be teenager – it sounds all too familiar. Although they do their set out chores; if we want to get their attention we need to repeat ourselves 4 times. On the other hand if they want our attention and we don’t give it immediately then we are the worst. Their rooms are tidy but their cupboards are a mess. After talking to them about it more than once, my voice gets a bit stern. But it seems it just falls on deaf ears. The one is cheeky and the other one is an emotional wreck and gets teary eyed quickly.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Daydreamer mum

    back from #blogcrush still loving this masterpiece!!

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Pingback: BlogCrush Week 103 - 1st Feb 2019 — Lucy At Home

  35. As a non-parent I am going to go celebrate having a dog because I think I would have died while trying to parent a teenager! #BlogCrush

    Liked by 1 person

  36. I’m scared of the teenage years! I don’t know if I am cool enough to handle two adolescent boys. I already feel exhausted with a 3 y/o and a 1 y/o… but it’s really more of physical and mental stress. I don’t know if I can handle teenage boys and their attitudes. So help me, Jesus.

    Fantastic post as always!

    #BlogCrush

    Like

  37. my youngest is 20 this year, but i remember the sparks flying well and have been reminded of how hard parenting is with my almost 30 year son and his wife visiting us for a week #blogcrush

    Liked by 1 person

  38. This really answered my drawback, thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  39. This made me laugh! So so true! My son is nearly 13 and I feel like we are in another phase with him entirely! My Mum says its payback. LOL #blogcrush

    Liked by 1 person

  40. It is about the same as they get into their 20’s. My son is still waiting for the glass fairy to move his glass from the sink to the dishwasher. #BlogCrush

    Liked by 1 person

  41. brazenmummywrites

    Argh, teenagers. I think I still am one at heart, so not looking forward to the clash of the titans when our little “bundle of joy” grows up to be one. Cheers for the Sunday laughs. #BlogCrush

    Liked by 1 person

  42. I am right there with you. We something similar going on this morning all because I could hear her shouting down to make her some breakfast as the washing machine was on and I was (accidentally on purpose) standing next to it drinking my coffee. #blogcrush

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Lucy At Home

    Oh gosh, I really don’t feel equipped for what is to come! When My brother was in his teens and I was in my mid twenties, he lived with me for a year, and I became his stand-in parent. Let’s just say it was a tough 12 months for both of us…! #blogcrush

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll bet it was … but hopefully you can both see the positives now. You are still talking, aren’t you … hehe

      Like

  44. I’m not looking forward to this stage at all…four year old strops are bad enough! #blogcrush

    Liked by 1 person

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