I have five children. You would think this would make me an expert on parenting. I am not. Most of the time I feel pretty clueless. Oh, it may look somewhat under control from the outside, I mean, at least it doesn’t look completely out of control. At least I hope it doesn’t look like a circus. It sure does feel like a circus. Sometimes it feels like a Chinese circus. You know, the kind with the spinning plates. However, most of the time it feels more like the kind of circus with clowns. Lots and lots of manic clowns. Apparently there is a band named Insane Clown Posse. I’m pretty sure the members of this group came up with the name after watching my family together in public.
Part of what makes it so insane, is that each of my children are so incredibly different. This means that parenting them is not just like herding cats, but like herding a tiger, a bear, a buffalo, an octopus and about 3,000 fleas. Different personalities means different ways of dealing with stress. This is where the cursing comes in.
Firstborn handles stress pretty well. After all he is a first born child. When Firstborn gets upset there is no cursing. There is some deep breathing and some handling of the situation logically. If he’s dealing with a sibling and he’s really frustrated, there may be some wrestling. There is no cursing with the firstborn.
Second Son is a little more verbal. When Second Son is stressed, he will tattle, he will yell, he will make sure that everyone in a ten mile radius knows exactly who he is upset with and exactly what this person did to deserve the wrath of Second Son. There is no cursing, though. Second Son is above cursing.
Spitting Image handles anger in much the way I do. Hence the name “Spitting Image”. Spitting Image is a crier. Being an angry crier is difficult. Mostly because people think you are sad and start acting all sympathetic. Spitting Image does not want sympathy. This does not, however, lead her to curse.
Huggy is a little more physical. In every aspect of her personality. Especially when she is stressed. As a baby, Huggy would bite. Hard. As she got a little older, we convinced her that biting is wrong. Now she is more of a door slammer and stomp around the house-er. Huggy would never ever curse.
That leaves Baby Snarky. Now is the part where you are shocked. “I knew it!” you say. “I read your blog on Swearing and there is no way that stuff doesn’t wear off on your kids! He is only six years old!” Let me put your mind at ease. Baby Snarky doesn’t swear. Much. Baby Snarky actually uses the other kind of cursing. The kind where you wish horrible things on people.
This is kind of funny because Baby Snarky is six. It’s hilarious because Baby Snarky is creative.
Today Baby Snarky got a little ticked at Firstborn. Firstborn probably didn’t give Baby Snarky exactly what he wanted. This is a problem. Baby Snarky is the baby of the family and, as we all know, the baby of the family always gets what they want. Apparently Firstborn didn’t get the memo. So I hear Baby Snarky sputtering. Here comes the curse. Finally, I hear it. Baby Snarky explodes with “I hope Firstborn doesn’t get into MIT! I hope Firstborn has to go to college in Iceland!”
So no, I’m not the world’s best parent. However, my clown posse could be a little more insane. I think we’re doing okay.