Are you a member of the Insane Hall of Fame yet? If you are a parent, chances are you already are. Writer Caroline offers some insight into her induction.
Kids make us crazy
Being crazy for most of us is fun, for a while anyway. For some of us it’s not enough. We crave to reach the higher plane of insanity. The fastest way to get there that I know of is by becoming a parent, with the enticement of being an outstanding member of the Insane Hall of Fame.
Before children, in our own “Haze Craze,” we listened to parents talk about the “Treacherous Teen Years.” They talked about the challenges they are going through, and we’d listen, we’d sympathize, we’d offer the advice that only non-parents can give. Then we’d go home and relate to our partner of how these parents exaggerate things.
“It can’t be all that bad,” we’d say to our partner. Nine months later, we are all too close to finding out. Now we have entered the world of the insane, and joined thousands of parents in their struggles with children. As babies grow, so does our level of insanity. Gone are the Readers Digests and Mystery novels from the bathroom. In go the parenting magazines (that we vowed we would never buy), and diapers, that will at one time hold their own mystery, but aren’t so novel.
The insanity begins
We start talking to ourselves. We’ll go to an appointment an hour early to revel in the sound of adult conversations and read any magazine that does not have a child theme in the title. Imagination and survival techniques take on a twist, sometimes closely intertwined with each other. Now when I am at work, and have loaded up my schoolbus with 48 teenagers, I no longer read them the riot act. Now I just merrily say, “I have a Barney tape here and know how to use it if you guys horse around!” while secretly hoping to have the opportunity to inflict torture by playing it.
As the first born gets older and starts getting into Fred Penner, you realize that soon you will look foolish carrying around that Barney tape, so to keep up appearances, along comes child number two, and for the fun of it, a year later, number three. Insanity is in full swing now. Now, your oldest child has turned three, and having skipped the terrible twos is making up for it now with arguing about everything. You figure that you are really clever, and start rehearsing the arguments before they happen. Of course, the only place you can have privacy to do this is in the car on the way to work. So off you go, pleased with yourself for coming up with this brilliant idea, while 200 other commuters are looking at you talking to yourself.
“Who cares!” you say out loud. “I am going to win this argument if it kills me!” as long as the child doesn’t change what you think he will say. Once your youngest turns three, you have realized the futility in taking part of these arguments because there is no way you can win, so you give up arguing with them. However, you keep rehearsing in the car on the way to work, partly out of habit, but also because it is the only time you can win anything anymore. It is one of the few victories you can have, and no one is going to take it away from you.
An official member
Once reaching this stage, you have officially become a member of the “Insane Hall of Fame.” You walk up to the door, and decide to take a peek inside. As you enter the foyer, a kind grandparent with a welcome smile greets you at the door. Years of “been there, done that” is written all over their face. You slowly walk in, and see separate rooms for each age group. You not only see pictures of your parents on the wall, but of you and your friends there as well. Unexplainable pride fills you as your mind fills with memories.
Fear and panic try to take over as you venture into rooms of future years. You go back to the rooms you are oddly comfortable in, the place where you belong. It fits. It’s who you are. Everything you’ve come to value and love is in these rooms. You realize this is exactly where you want to be in life, and pride fills your heart, along with all the heartache too. You are home.
Back outside, people ask you about your children. When you tell them, they give you the “Hazy Crazy” look you once had and exclaim, “Are you INSANE?!” After finding yourself inside, you can now proudly say “You bet. I am a proud member of the Insane Hall of Fame. You should join sometime. It’s a riot!”