Archive for May, 2013

CAMHS anyone? Or, the reality of parenthood

May 24, 2013

I’ve been slightly preoccupied of late with a son who appears to be going through a rather traumatic growth spurt. At least I hope that’s what it is. It’s not the type of childhood growth spurt which affects the arms and legs and causes growing pains at night. This seems to be a brain growth spurt, and it is causing him to behave in outrageously unacceptable and totally – for him – uncharacteristic ways. Swearing like a Tourette’s sufferer and threatening us with knives. That sort of thing.

Ever talked down a knife wielding six year old threatening to kill you? Neither had I. Needless to say, his impulse control has been malfunctioning and it is a very challenging thing to live with, let alone parent.

Some things have taken me by surprise as I have raised three boys into childhood, and along the way I have questioned and doubted my decisions and actions many times. But none of the scenarios I have faced have proven as challenging as this. Two months ago I had a quiet, sensitive, affectionate and obedient son whom I could rely on to be on my side when the chips were down. This week I have an anxious, belligerent, angry, hate filled, foul-mouthed and disconnected child who seems lost in the mire of an out of control mental state.

What to do?

Do I discipline the offensive and aggressive behaviour, or do I hold him in his rage and reassure him that it will be alright? I have tried both with equally negative outcomes. I have dusted off my many “How To” guides to raising sons, but none of them cover what to do when your six year old threatens to kill you. I am piloting a plane with no instructions. I am winging it, desperately hoping that we can ride out this phase and re-emerge on the other side better, nicer, and stronger. It’s a scary portent of a possible adolescence.

It is incredibly hard to feel confident and calm when your beautiful boy is swearing at you, all arms and legs flailing, and seems so filled with anger and frustration and fear you want to shout and cry at the same time. How do you deal with this as a parent? As a mother? As a human being? 

Clearly he needs my help. I think I need help to give him that help.

This is not something they teach in antenatal classes.


Disturbing Trends

May 3, 2013

I was watching something on iView the other night and something I saw made me feel somewhat… perturbed. 

It was grown men with no pubes.

I asked Señor Sneeze about it and he confirmed that yes, lots of chaps at his cricket club seemed to indulge in the act of fuzz removal, making me suspect that there is a silent, sinister movement afoot which I feel compelled to revolt against for the sake of my sons and any future partners they might have.

I am not a fan of the pube-remove. On women or men. I tried it once many hirsute years ago and was left with a red, raw, stinging monstrosity which would have frightened a baboon. I felt horrible doing it, and when the redness finally subsided the vulnerable, childlike exposure of my nethers just looked… wrong. Thinking about it further, and reading articles on the origins and motivations for the trend, I felt convinced that its provenance lay in the porn industry and a tacky and purely economical requirement for “clean camera shots” or some such. Henceforth I became dogged in my refusal to go bare.

But I know lots of women who are committed removalists, and will quote anything from cleanliness to eroticism as their motivations, neither of which I buy, frankly. Cleanliness? What’s wrong with a shower once in a while, and, ok, perhaps the odd careful trim? As for eroticism, this is perhaps the more problematic of drivers. Are women removing their hair for themselves, or their partners? Do our partners really find the appearance of a shiny pre-pubescent skin patch more erotic than a womanly, luscious forest? If so, why? Could it be because media imagery of naked women, unless you are watching a French film, rarely shows a full curly crop? What does the media have against feminine hirsuteness?

Which brings me to my latest discovery – the male nether-crop. This has probably been around for decades, but having been out of the game for about that long, it has hitherto escaped my notice. Now I am wondering, who told blokes that women like the look of their exposed tackle? When I first met Señor Sneeze at the tender age of 19 – he being 28 and so almost a fully grown male – I rejoiced at the discovery that he had chest hair. I had never had a boyfriend with chest hair before. It made him seem so… manly. That to me was erotic. If I had moved further down to discover a shiny bare patch with a large pseudo-limb flopping underneath I think I would have run screaming. Let’s face it, penises are ludicrous to look at at the best of times. Why remove their useful shelter and expose their preposterous dangle? Keep ’em hid, I say. We are grown-ups, after all, and thus should have hairy bits here and there. Fair enough if you want to trim – nothing wrong with keeping it tidy. After all, nobody likes split ends. And I’m not suggesting we de-evolve completely to our hairy primate origins. But going bare down there? I just don’t get it.