Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Monday, 23 April 2012

Parenting... not for the feint hearted!

After yoga last Thursday night I had about 8 missed calls from home and several SMS alerts from ADT. Zen-state immediately erased! Just like that! OMG WTF was going on!?

I phoned immediately to get Quinn sounding very shaken AND stirred. I thought maybe there'd been a break-in or something. I asked what was wrong and he said softly, ' There's been an accident in the garage...' and started crying. My mind went off imagining the worst scenarios  - as one does. I asked if he was ok and he said yes. I got him to stop and calm down. He confirmed that everyone was alive and well, and safe and that the house was still standing. Right, so not THAT bad. Whew. I decided anything else could and would be dealt with. I told him to calm down and wait for me and I got home as fast as I could (passing an horrific accident en route), while being careful myself!

I think it was good that I had been at yoga and had been in the zen-state... because it allowed me to stay calm and actively decide to deal with whatever had happened without freaking out and over-reacting emotionally.

When I got home I was firm, but kind and concerned, and got Quinn in front of me, and told him to tell me, 100% honestly WHAT HAD HAPPENED!? I explained that I could only deal with it and try to fix it if I knew what had happened. No bullshit. He didn't even try to make up a  story...

Let's just say there was a situation at my house involving 3 tweeny boys, lighters, petrol, wind, too much imagination, adventure-lust and bad judgement. And not enough common-sense or fore-thought! You know where this is going right!??

The result was an out-of-control petrol fire in my garage further fuelled by an exploding lighter - because a regular petrol fire is not exciting enough right, so throwing a lighter into it would be MUCH more fun right!?? This of course splattered burning lighter fluid all over the place, which caused the fire to spread up the wall. They realised things might be getting out of control, so they decided to douse it with a bucket of water. Instead of putting the fire out though, this just spread it further, with burning petrol now floating off all over the garage and up the wall, towards the electrical socket. They got a huge fright so grabbed the hose and hosed it off. This of course implicated the electrical outlet and garage door motor too and caused sparks to fly. The entire house's power went down and seemed the garage door motor circuit had blown. OI VEY!

Thankfully, they did manage to get the fire out. No no one was injured and my house survived, but the boys fully expected to be murdered and were terrified. They had cleaned everything up by the time I got home. Afterwards we found a packed bag and sleeping bag by the front door. Quinn was so scared he was considering running away! Poor kid. He said he was going to go stay in the park.

Turns out they were minding their own business at home when the neighbour's son T came over with the petrol and the bright idea to play with it. My 2 should know better!!! Hopefully now they really do!? I told Quinn that while I wanted to be angry with T, I am not, I am angry with him. HE should have said no! This is a big learning experience and hopefully something that has taught him a lot.

I took Quinn over to go talk to T and his parents as soon as I'd debriefed Quinn. I was a bit worried about how it could turn out. But it was handled very well by all. Everyone was civil and cooperative. Despite me marching into their house and saying to T, 'What the hell were you thinking..?!'.

I must say I was actually was pretty proud of them, and me, in how it was handled. I stayed calm. The kids were 100% honest and disclosed EXACTLY what had happened. The adults chatted calmly and non-threateningly without diminishing the seriousness of the situation, or just how badly wrong things might have gone.

The neighbours conveniently had an electrical engineer friend there as it happened so he came right over and checked everything and got it all working safely again, and there was actually no damage at all.

Quinn apologised profusely and we had a long chat afterwards about how he was lucky it did not go a LOT worse and hopeful he learnt something from that. Seems he has. He also understood that I had to go over to T's house and get his parents involved too, so was not upset about that. I really think he got a HUGE fright which shook him badly and showed him that he could get out of his depth if he is not careful. I had a long talk with him about him having to make judgement calls and being able to SAY NO, when an idea seems stupid! And how some things are acceptable risk and other really are not, and how to tell the difference.

Griffin also ponied up and came to me and said if Quinn or T were getting punished he should be included because he was there too. I asked Quinn if Griffin WAS involved and he said no. Griffin insisted that because he stood by and watch, and didn't say no (more so thought it was cool at the time) so he was involved by implication. I was impressed with this attitude too.

So the end result was everything was handled calmly and cooperatively, everyone has learnt lessons and is happy nothing went badly wrong. Amnesty was granted for upfront full disclosure, honestly, taking responsibility and stepping up to accept consequences. All in all a good outcome I think.

This parenting thing is not easy!!! But at least we are all stil alive and we have a home. For now!!! :)

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  1. Good heavens!!! I would have lost it - more from fright I suppose!

    Well done :)

    What you said about being mad with Quinn was what I was blogging about in todays post - our kids do silly things but it is up to us to reinforce they are silly/unacceptable and make sure they dont do it again!

  2. Yeah, I know for me this was a PRIME PARENTING opportunity. I could either spazz out and go mental and lose my cool (and make it about me and how much stress they are giving me, KWIM??), or really take what could (very easily) have been a disastrous situation and use it to teach some valuable and hopefully long-lasting lessons, and ones which they NEED to learn!! We had a big talk abut how not being able to make a judgement call could/would result in taking drugs, drinking, car accidents and and and. They need to be able to stand their ground despite it being unpopular at times. THIS is my job as a parent!