Parenting children on May Day
BELGİN AKALTAN - firstname.lastname@example.org
DAILY NEWS photo / Emrah GÜRELImagine you have 10 children (in accordance with the wishes of you know who). Most of them are under control; you can manipulate and guide them. They are lovely children and they behave as darlings, and actually spoil you as parents because of the abundance of so much good behavior, obedience and flattery.
From time to time, you, of course, hear a few weak opposing voices from the “highly advanced democratic” household you have, but there is one child, a 10-year-old, who is different. I’m not sure whether that baby was switched with that of another family at the hospital – but when you have 10 children, you have the luxury to be rough to some of them… If you have only one or two, then you cherish them. Really, if you have 10 children, how can you be fair and equal to all of them, have enough time for them, have enough financial and emotional resources for them all? It is impossible, unless you live in a village or if you are someone illiterate who does not know any better. Or a person living in medieval times. Or you are an illiterate villager with a medieval mentality somehow involved in politics in Turkey these days…
Well this 10-year-old, who cannot be called the most loved kid of the family, insists on a peculiar act every year. This boy, every year, on those days leading to May 1, creates tension. He makes some preparations and always wants to celebrate a special day – he claims it is special for him and his friends – in one particular bathroom of the large apartment we live in.
As parents, we totally oppose that; actually we hate it. This boy, who is little and naughty, likes making a scene. He marches to the bathroom, chants a few slogans, seems to have fun in there for some time, then sings a song and comes back. He also carries posters. Now, tell me, how can we tolerate this as parents?
Especially the bigger brothers and sisters of our 10-child family, the majority, hate this show. There is an inexplicable loathing for this activity. Actually, we know of horrible stories that happened in that bathroom before we moved in.
As parents, this year we came up with a great solution. We started a major renovation in that bathroom. We took out the tiles, the tub – actually there is no bathroom left there now that functions as a bathroom. And again, this year, this child, who is 11 now, insisted that he would stage the same celebration, that he would march there with friends, bring their colorful toys and posters, chant a few slogans and sing in a language actually foreign to us because we do not understand what they are saying.
Marching, chanting slogans, singing and speaking in that renovated bathroom? Are you against parenthood? Are you and your friends militants? Are you members of illegal organizations?
How can that be? I mean, imagine, you have so many children, and only one of them, an 11-year old, rebels against you…
Broken glass for kids
Well, the major renovation in the bathroom did not deter the kids. So I closed and locked all the doors leading to that bathroom. We have other bathrooms in the flat; I told them they could use them. But no. They are against me.
I also hid all their shoes and slippers, I put broken glass all over the corridors, and I also had fart gas ready at hand in case these kids went too far.
We have a wise American neighbor, who is sort of in charge of the whole building. He gives valuable advice to our family most of the time. That wise neighbor was silent this time. We have other wise people in the building but they are no good at such times.
A wise but poor relative told us that freedom and dialogue was the key to solving issues, but what does he know? He drinks rakı with water. He said we could talk to the child and his friends, allow them to demonstrate and that nothing would happen. It would be less time- and energy-consuming and cheaper; he told us to allow a demonstration rather than block one. Is he crazy?
Well, we had to experience some ugly incidents which resulted in a kid being slightly injured by broken glass, and our own child has not spoken to us since then. The wounded child’s parents are suing us.
I hear that some people have called us paranoid but you know what, I am so happy with how the events turned out. It suits me. I have shown that child what parenting is. As a matter of fact, we are left with a bitter taste in our mouths and also we can see how unhappy our 11-year old is.
But, seeing the happiness of the majority, we will surely forget this day soon. The renovation of the bathroom will be finished – they even criticize its style – but what do they know?
I’m not sure what we will do next year. We will decide depending on the conditions of that time. I have not decided if I should keep the broken glass and unused fart bombs or buy new ones for next year.
See you then…