I began to suspect as much the other week during an episode of Law and Order, where a father was on trial for kidnapping his kids with intent to terrorise them. The terrorising part was where he’d forced them (through strictness to the point of witholding love, not physical abuse) to live their lives exactly the way he wanted, down to the friends they had, the clothes they wore, the study they did, the lies they told to defend him on the witness stand. The thing was, the girls loved their dad and were heartbroken when they were returned to the custody of their mother. Yes, they had no personalities of their own and the notion of doing something that wouldn’t make Daddy happy was unimaginable to them, but they didn’t feel terrorized. They obviously had a big adjustment ahead of them.
Anyway, I watched this and realised that I want kids so I can make ‘em do things the right way. Their father might be a lost cause when it comes to remembering to wipe off countertops (say), but they’ll be malleable little things I can train up right from the start. Is this not perfectly reasonable? Oh my God, I’m going to be a terrible parent. I don’t want them to have no personality. Just so long as it’s a personality I approve of. And preferably pick out for them.
(What I think will really happen, and will be my salvation from 15-20 or pleading out for ten, is that my children will wear me down to the point where my controlling nature is stomped all over and I’ll end up jaded but really truly laid back. I’m sure that trying to maintain control-freak status and have kids at the same time would be far too much like hard work.)
Anyway, the other night my suspicions were confirmed. Himself is in the final throes of thesis writing, and has reverted to his natural timetable of working late and sleeping in. Which, I protested, was fine with me. If that’s when you work best, if your brain starts buzzing after 10pm, then you should make the most of it; go with your circadian rhythms or whatever they are. I can make dinners that improve with reheating. My mistake was doing very little on Sunday, so instead of sleeping the sleep of the righteous log that night, I was tossing and turning a bit. And with every toss I wondered why he wasn’t in bed yet, how he could possibly still be up, what the hell he was going back downstairs again for, why the feck he wasn’t more normal. And by normal, I mean “like me”, because my brain switches off at night and I have never worked later than about 11pm in my life. I finally came to the conclusion, around 5am, that I was unhappy because (apart from the fact that I should have been asleep and wasn’t) he was different and I didn’t like it because I Couldn’t Control It.
Why yes, I am a control freak. Just as well he’s almost completely perfect. We’ll have Perfect Children and it’ll all work out wonderfully.