Being a Parent is SCARY

When you teach your son, you teach your son’s son.~The Talmud
Yeah, easier said than done. I have told Tater one hundred thousand times not to go in the street. When we go out to get the mail, I hold him at the mailbox so he doesn’t have to step into the street. I am terrified of him going into the street. Yesterday evening, Tater followed me out while I went out to put trash in the trashcan that hubby had already set out at the curb for trash pickup the next day. Hubby was mowing the lawn, and Tater stopped on the driveway to watch him (he is afraid of the lawnmower, but likes to watch…well, he’s afraid of all loud sounds in general). I lifted the lid on the trashcan, threw the trash in, and as I closed it hubby yells “Tater get out of the street!”. I turned to look, Tater was running into the street and a car (far off, but still, it scared the hell out of me) is coming towards us.
Within one second, all of these thoughts ran through my head at the same time: ohmygodwhatifthecarhitshim, Icannot livewithouthim, iamgoingtospankhisbutt, ilovehimsomuch, iwanttothrowup,gagegettinghitbythedieseltruckinstephenking’spetcemetary,
neverhearinghimlaughagain, whyisheinthestreetheknowsbetter, grabhimnow.
Of course, all was okay and the car was nowhere near close to us. Tater got a big swat on the butt from hubby. He was crying because we were both yelling at him to get out of the street and it scared him. When we tried to explain why he can’t go in the street he just kept crying. What do you say to a two year old to make him understand that he could BE KILLED if he runs in the street?! He can never understand the feeling of sheer terror that overcame both mommy and daddy and we can’t explain it to him. I’m sure in the situation, the advice from “them” (the professionals that tell us how to teach our children) would be to remain calm and explain to the child that his behavior is unacceptable, but how do you remain calm when you are afraid your child is going to be hit by a car?
I think all parents know exactly the feeling that is impossible to describe; the feeling of terrible, dread that you feel when you think something bad is or has happened to your child. It is the worst feeling I have ever felt. I had never, ever felt that feeling before I was a parent. I feel small bits of it occassionally when I see him fall or get hurt. The only other time besides yesterday that I have been overcome by that feeling was in June of last year. Our family went out to dinner to celebrate my brother moving back from Hawaii after working there for a year. It was beautiful outside, so we chose to sit on the patio. I was 6 months pregnant with the twins. We were all having a good time, talking and catching up. The kids were running around playing. My dad had to use the bathroom, and Tater decided to follow him though none of us (including me dad) noticed. I turned around, and Tater was gone. Nobody knew where he was. Hubby was running through the restaurant with my brother-in-law looking for him. My sisters and mom were gathering up the other kids. I ran out into the almost completely empty parking lot. Mind you, I’m pregnant with twins and on bedrest, and I am literally running. I will never forget the feeling and what went through my head when I stood in the middle of the parking lot: “this is how it happens”. I thought he was gone, that he had been kidnapped. And the feeling of dread that came over me almost knocked me off my feet. Seconds later, my brother S came running out telling me that they had him. Turns out when my dad opened the door to the bathroom, Tater said “Pops” and that’s when my dad realized he had followed him in. I have never been so relieved in my life! I’ve also never hugged Tater so hard before!

So the question remains: how do you teach such a young child not to run off without telling you, not to go in the street, not to talk to strangers, and all the other things not to do?! I know these are conversations you should have proactively before they happen. But when they happen, how do you remain calm?
I say it again, parenting is SCARY!
And so it goes…


  1. I think of that scene in Pet Semetary ALL THE TIME.

    Only now that I'm a parent I wonder "would it be worth having my son chew through my neck if it meant I could see him again? Even as a zombie?"