Up until I reproduced, I’d have described myself as fairly laid-back. Other people did too. Even on proper things like psychometric tests, and on inappropriate things like appraisals (apparently, it’s a weakness. Who knew?!).
But without any real forewarning (except from my mother, who doesn’t count, as she forewarns a lot of things that don’t happen: for example BSE becoming an epidemic and the missing of buses I have 99% of the time made in this version of the universe), with parenthood came THE FEARS. And they are everywhere, related to rational things that might affect my child’s safety, and related to truly irrational things, which I have to go for a little walk to stop myself gibbering about.
I thought a lot of these would get better, but at 3 years old, my son probably provides more things to freak me out than ever before.
I think every parent has a list of these, and I don’t think I’ll be alone on a lot of them. At least, I hope I won’t be. I figured if I shared them, some of you might make me feel better by agreeing…
1) Not giving my son enough love, and unwittingly turning him into a psychopath.
2) Giving him too much love, and unwittingly turning him into a psychopath.
3) Having a funny few years and wittingly turning him into a psychopath.
4) Not being able to think of a rhyme for “Henry” at the appropriate time.
5) Forgetting to pick him up from nursery.
6) Remembering to pick him up from nursery, but forgetting to wear a top.
7) Remembering to pick him up from nursery, and remembering my top, but realising that he is already in the car with me because it’s a Wednesday and having to fabricate some kind of excuse for being there that doesn’t make me sound like a terrible parent.
8) Waking up one morning and realising I’m a terrible parent.
9) Waking up one morning and finding stickers on EVERYTHING.
10) Giving him too many chocolates, and turning him diabetic.
11) Telling him he can’t have any chocolates, and then waking up to the site of an empty bed and a trail of mangled rolos.
12) 4:30am, viewed from the wrong end.
13) 4:30am, viewed from the right end with the addition of 2 bottles of white wine and 3 litres of WKD chasers, but with the sudden realisation I have NO CHILDCARE THE NEXT DAY.
14) Only giving him green pants to wear for three weeks because it’s easier to get “Henry coloured” ones on, and unwittingly turning him into some sort of green-spandex-wearing arch-villain.
15) Failing to turn him into some sort of green-spandex wearing arch-villain and regretting it for the rest of my life.
16) The words “I’m going to go in your bed,” at 5am.
17) High things.
18) Long things.
19) Wiggly things that I’ve been given with the claim that they were a stick.
22) Train tracks.
23) Model train-tracks which don’t have enough straight bits.
24) Any question that starts with the word “Why…?”
25) Not giving him enough attention, and turning him into someone who goes on the Jeremy Kyle show.
26) Giving him too much attention, and turning him into the kind of person who goes on Question Time.
27) Letting him believe that everyone will like him if he tries hard enough, and turning him into myself.
29) Sudden silences just after he’s left the room.
30) Crunching sounds in the vicinity of my laptop.
31) Coy little child-friendly euphemisms like “thingy.”
32) Turning into the sort of person who instinctively uses coy little child-friendly euphemisms like “thingy.”
33) Forgetting to use euphemisms and then getting a letter home from nursery asking me to go and see them. (This has basically already happened, and it still scares me that it might happen again).
34) The Thomas the Tank Engine Theme tune.
35) The wrong answer to the question “Shall we watch something different now and give Thomas and the other engines a rest?”
Gytha Lodge is an award-winning theatrical writer and director, as well as a single parent of one totally nuts three-year-old.
She has a hit online fantasy series for young adults (and grown-ups) on Wattpad, the first book of which is the Watty Award nominated The Fragile Tower.