by MESHEL LAURIE
My son brought a rock home from our walk around the block the other day. It’s from a meticulously kept garden in the street behind ours. I always try to make sure the rocks end up back where their master intended them, but on this day, one rock was skillfully secreted in a pocket and made it all the way back around the block to our house.
It wasn’t until about 3 hours later actually, when the rock smuggler emerged from his afternoon nap clutching the rock that I realised what had happened.
Unfortunately my husband realised too.
It’s sixteen years next month since we met at a work-for-the-dole scheme in Melbourne. Good times. Since that magical day on the smoker’s landing of a Salvation Army facility, we have endured the usual ups and downs of coupledom. We’ve lived in countless dodgy flats, endured endless family visits and dragged ourselves through plenty of ill-conceived holidays. We pushed through the emotional minefield of infertility more or less together and ended up with IVF twins for our trouble. But that you see, is where our trouble begins.
Parenting with my husband has shown me a whole new side of his character, and frankly, I don’t like it!
I really thought we’d had pretty much every argument we were ever going to have by about 11 years in. Which is not to say we never argued. We did, but our arguments were always about the same things. He spends too much money on cigarettes and beer, I always bring every argument around to cigarettes and beer, blah, blah, blah. However, parenting together introduced a whole new world of issues and ideas about which to blue.
On the day of the rock, as it is now known in our home, as my son strolled out of his bedroom looking for his customary post-nap narna, he was leapt upon from a great height by his father. Dad seemed to believe it was a miracle that no one had been bludgeoned to death in that closed bedroom our boy shares with his sister during their 2 hour sleep. He grabbed the weapon from our sleepy little man, who immediately arched his back and screamed bloody-murder in a reflection of his father’s hysteria.
I stepped in and made it all about Dad’s fixation with power points which he insists are so dangerous they must all have enormous pieces of furniture in front of them, no matter how awkward it renders the room, even though all the points have those child safe plugs in them. Who could care less about his cigarette and beer absorption anymore? I find myself begging him to go out and waste money at the pub just so I don’t have to parent by committee for an afternoon, or is it parenting by competition? The message between the lines that day and many days like it being that I am irresponsible and put the kids in harm’s way.