This boy is kind. But being kind doesn’t disguise the fact that he has no knowledge of boundaries. He knocks at all hours of the day. If the back door is on the latch, he’ll come in uninvited and sit on Maya’s bed to await her return until I show him the door. He once tried to force his way in her room to wake her up and play.
We don’t treat people like we treat oranges because people are not things. No one can treat you like an orange. No one can take your juice aka… your power.
And if predatory behaviour is as ubiquitous among men as it appears and as I have experienced it to be, statistically it is likely that my son will violate someone, at some point, in his lifetime. That could be anything from ignorant boundary violation to, god forbid, rape.
Consent is not true consent where there is a power imbalance. You cannot make a free and retractable agreement about something, if that agreement is made in fear of losing your access to income, and resources–financial, emotional or otherwise.
It wasn’t your parents’ fault. It was your parents’ responsibility. That’s because the words fault and responsibility mean opposite things. So what’s the difference?
But six does not look as A.A. Milne described it in my childhood. Truth to be told, I now realise that it never looked like that, I only wish it did. Six is brutal and I’m feeling its brutality again through my children. It is not reasonable or rational. It is brutal.
I believe that consistent and repeatable actions during childhood, no matter how small, will build up mental models that we continue to follow as adults. The flaps of butterfly wings do indeed sometimes cause hurricanes. Calling out and correcting unhealthy parenting techniques in myself and others, even I seem pedantic in doing so, means that we can stop hurricanes before they start. Giving children agency and responsibility too early before they are ready to assume them, will result in a catastrophe. Too late, and we risk disempowering them.
The gift of being able to feel your emotions is therefore the gift of survival. Emotions are signals from our bodies which help us devise strategies which we believe will help us survive. But in order to survive–and thrive–we need to be able to feel all of them. That’s what they are there for.
I stayed up all night looking after her and at 6am Freddie awoke wanting to play. Morten and I were exhausted. But when I looked at them still I felt, it was all worth it. And smelling of sick, I still burned for them.
Polyamory also allowed me to spread emotional risk. Long time practitioners of polyamory would be appalled by this–they call it the ‘training wheels’ mentality and it objectifies others. They’re right. It does. And I did.
I can’t make my child into an adult before she is ready to become one. You cannot give the third eye of adulthood to your child, they must develop it themselves. I cannot explain to her yet that perhaps the reason she withdraws is because she thinks it is the best way to get our attention. And even if I could it wouldn’t mean she could stop doing it.
At least I thought, I can as much work as possible in the time I have left to prepare myself mentally to lie, as I felt I would have to… for their entire lives.