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in the doghouse

in the doghouse (Photo credit: jamie h)

The old man spent Father’s Day weekend in the doghouse.

I’m not quite sure what our therapist is going to think of his latest parenting exploits, to be honest.

I can already hear her asking Kurt and me ‘and how did that make you feel?’

My reaction to Friday night is a feeling of being ‘betrayed’. Somehow the old man always finds a way to cast me as the bad cop parent in our relationship with our son.

I’m sure he had the best bonding intentions, but as usual he went around them completely the wrong way.

On Friday night Kurt was biting at the bit to do something/anything exciting and unfortunately the old man was out. I get a bit anxious when the old man isn’t around and Kurt starts to climb the walls, hyper, looking for trouble – not because he ever does anything particularly effective to discipline him, but just because he’s there as an invisible support, rather like Xanax.

At 8pm, the old man called to say that he would be later than planned.

I began digging my own grave.

Kurt was pacing the house by this time, like a caged animal – it might have been the Coca Cola or the bag of lollies he bought with his school lunch money. Sixteen is a difficult time for teenage boys, but particularly for those with ADHD. They’re not yet old enough to go out and drink and social anxiety can render them awkward around girls, but the heightened testosterone levels fuel them into a state of expectation at the weekend and they want to experiment and behave like an adult.

Mix the unpredictability of Kurt and his dopamine-starved brain and the new-wave parenting approach of the old man, and you come out with a recipe for disaster.

My bribe of the latest Ironman movie and his favourite takeout, which I had hoped might sate Kurt’s appetite for destruction, didn’t work for long. He then hung around NC and I as we shared a glass of wine and moaned about men and periods – at which point he left. By 11pm we were all playing a fun game of cat and mouse, as Kurt persisted in disappearing down to the corner shop under the pretext of buying soft drinks (which I now know is teenage code for ‘having a fag’).

By 11.30pm he began sniffing at NC’s door promising to be a ‘normal’ brother if only she would give him the last vestiges of a bottle of Vodka left over from her recent birthday. I had two choices. I could either lose my shit completely or metamorphose into an ostrich and find the nearest sandpit to bury my head in as far as parental responsibility was concerned and pray my son would follow my lead and go to bed after me.

So I lost my shit. It doesn’t happen as often these days, (apart from during homework obviously – here), but when I blow, it’s not attractive.

It was Friday night, my ally was out, and I had been forced into a corner and morphed into the Bad Cop again. I sent the boy to bed using every threat imaginable. How on earth I planned to have any life over the weekend when I had removed his Xbox, Ipad, phone and had grounded him, I’m not sure, but it sure sounded scary when squealed in the tone of a Banshee.

But luckily for Kurt, Good Cop then sauntered into the house, obvious of the war preceding his entry, and undid all my parenting.

Just like that.

The old man simply forgot our therapist’s advice, to connect, to communicate, to find out what abject misery had occurred while he was out – to fucking SUPPORT me. So he and Kurt decided to have this mega bonding session instead of what Kurt was supposed to be doing, which was thinking about his errant behavior in his bedroom.

Out came the chocolate I had been saving for a dinner party, the biscuits and the ice cream and on went the music at full volume – it was fucking PARTY TIME and suddenly rules were only for losers.

What I can confirm from the very loud conversation that my boys had together (that reached my bedroom at the front of the house, from the courtyard), is that men never grow up. The humour of a forty-seven year old is not very different to that of a sixteen-year old male.

Like we didn’t know that already.

Here’s what they talked about:

  • Me. And my apparent need to nag. Apparently it’s something women have to do (!). I watched them nod knowledgeably together in agreement and acceptance, like they suddenly understood womankind.
  • Girls. A lot. This then escalated to Kurt phoning the girl he likes at school and leaving an ‘I love you’ message that he was mortified about the next morning. Some things never change.
  • Penises and penis size, and when boys discuss penises this can escalate to them handling themselves a lot defensively, which is what they did at 1am when I came down to bawl them out for the noise they were making.
  • Music – this replaces sport in our house and this interest of theirs escalated to them bringing out any musical instrument they could find in the house, as well as improvising their own out of drumsticks and my new outdoor table. Kurt even allowed the old man to play Mull Of Kintyre several times, which is ‘acceptance’ in my book.
  • Wind. This escalated to the sort of competition Kurt used to have with his primary school mates when he was about six.

The old man has obviously been in the doghouse ever since and I would be contemplating throwing away the key, if it weren’t for the anticipation of sweet revenge – I can already see the look of disgust on the therapist’s face when I snitch on him.

Sometimes you get fed up of being bad cop ALL the time.