Kid Loco Parentitis

A warning and a promise: As you will soon see, in constructing this post I have spent too much time obsessively mixing what are essentially pretty naff musical stylings, and as a result fallen into my default setting writing-wise, which is to channel the ho-ho-ho style that characterises most writing on fatherhood. I promise that next time I will spend more time thinking about things that might actually be worth saying. Now on with the show!

I am a wee bit obsessed with words and wordplay.

For example, I like to amuse myself with a game I call, ‘Try to create the longest chain of two-word terms you can, Rod’. In this game, I try to create the longest chain of two-word terms I can. Each link in the chain is a word that is the second word of one term and the first word of the next. A good example is the celebrity name chain, such as – Boy George Michael Jackson Brown (I’m showing my age here, I know). It’s a great one to play in the car with the kids (if they’ve run out of cryptic crosswords to do).

If you’re not convinced yet that I am a bit of a word nerd, check this out. After reading the whole of  Dave Eggers A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, the only thing I could remember was a passage where he lists some band names which have been created by linking two three-letter abbreviations. My favourite example was JFKFC.

The title of this post is a bastard child of this process. I was listening to a Kid Loco CD in the car on my way to a my friend’s place to help them move a couch and a cabinet, and it occurred to me that Kid Loco was a great way to describe the place that our children often drive us to. The notion of place led me to in loco parentis, and a pun was born.

Kid Loco Parentitis is a mental condition (obviously) in which parents are driven into a temporary (usually) psychotic state by the perversity of their children’s behaviour. There are four sub-categories (you can probably think of many more, but I only had a few minutes, and I was driving and listening to music at the time – so back off.)

Kid loco category one is that you know what your kid needs (sleep, food, ibuprofen), and are trying to give it to them, but, for whatever reason, they are fighting it. Category two is that the kid knows what they want (to pat the Pitbull), and you know what they want (to pat the Pitbull), but (for whatever reason) you won’t let them. Category three is that the kid knows what they need/want (straddle Teddy and set his controls for the heart of the sun), but is unable to communicate this to you and/or is deeply resentful of the fact that once again an inanimate object is refusing to do their bidding. Category four is that pain is causing your child to act like they want something, when in actual fact they just want the pain to go away (it’s hard to think of a comic way of framing this one).

When I got home, I started to look through the fragments of lyrical ideas that I’ve written down about the experience of parenting Tilly (in a document cleverly entitled ‘Tilly lyrics ideas’) and came across the lines that I have used in Kid Loco Parents, the song.

You will notice from the lyrics (if you can make them out at all) that the song really only touches on category one. This is because I was too busy experimenting with the digital delay and automatic filter functions to come up with any more lyrics than the ones I’d already written. You’ll also notice that the song features a range of silly sound effects that I recently discovered in the Pandora’s Box (and I mean that in the original sense of the term) that is Garage Band (ie the lame music recording and mixing software that comes as standard with any Apple computer). I promise you it won’t happen again.

Now you’ve probably only just started listening to the song, because I embedded it a bit too far into the post, so I should write something else for you to read while you’re listening. Some wise reflections on how to avoid Kid Loco Parentitis are probably in order. In the absence of any real ideas let’s turn to our old friend trite cliche.

Tip 1 – Think of it as an opportunity to let go of the illusion of control. I find it helps to use a mantra, such as ‘I haven’t the faintest idea what’s going on, but I’m loving not finding out!’

Tip 2 Count your blessings. Note: You’ll be amazed how blessed you feel if you write down the result as a binary number.

Tip 3 – When you are feeling really frustrated with your child, try putting yourself in their shoes for a minute. Or, if you find that doesn’t work, try putting your child in your shoes for an hour or two. Technically, it’s not abuse if you chuckle and say, ‘Isn’t this fun’, while you’re doing it.

And I’m spent….

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