We Need To Talk About Kevin just came out at the flicks. If you haven’t read the book, it’s essentially about a boy who, despite having a really decent set of well-meaning, hard-working parents, is inherently evil. After a lifelong chain of plain horrible behaviour, watched helplessly by his distraught mother, he eventually takes out a load of people at his high school with his crossbow. Hooray! When I read the book five years ago, I had no children and even then the very concept of giving birth to and raising such a nasty little fricker terrified me. Now that I do have kids, I can’t even think about Kevin without actually crapping myself. Watch the film? Not a chance? Even looking at this still from the movie has me then YouTubing ‘Disney On Ice’ just to try and counteract the feelings of sheer terror it evokes in me
I totally get that I’m a little (a LOT) neurotic but surely I’m not the only mother who worries that I’m bringing up another Kevin? It’s like I’m always looking for signs. He pulled the arm off his Action Man – will he one day kill me in his sleep? He coloured his sister’s entire neck in with felt tip the other day – is this a manifestation of a deep-seeded hate for her? He came running into the kitchen looking like this the other day:
I mean, Christ, everyone knows there’s nothing that screams ‘future mass murderer’ like a kid with a smudgy clown’s face. This is totally the picture they’d put on the news. The Daily Mail would go nuts for this photo
It’s not all about his actions though. What about what we’re doing too? Could we, as parents, be unconsciously pushing our firstborn closer to one day slaying his classmates? The fairy wings I let him wear; the This Is England-esque crew cut we accidentally gave him when we were trying to save hairdresser money and forgot to put the guard on the clippers; that time we put a Superman dvd on because we thought he’d like it and actually he cacked it because it was a properly scary bit and really, Superman is not aimed towards 3 year old boys who like Tinkerbell and colouring-in…are all these things creating a serial killer? Honestly, this is the stuff that keeps me awake at night. Like, when your kids are born and you’re walking around with a mixture of what-the-fuck?-panic and sheer exhaustion on your face, people try to reassure you that you’ll be just fine because ‘mother’s instinct’ will kick in and you’ll automatically know what to do. Bollocks! Yes, there are the obvious flashes of maternal intuition, you know, teach them to say please and thankyou, don’t give them Red Bull before bed, yada yada, but on a lot of points, who the fuck knows what’s going on? Even now, three years in to this parenting game and situations arrive where I find myself actively thinking ‘rrrrright. Ok. How the FREAK do I handle this one?’. Instinct shminstinct bitches. I take library books out. I Google ‘toddler discipline’ to death. I pretty much do a family fortunes style survey on every mum I meet – “what is the best way to bring up a child?” – naughty step? Attachment parenting? Throw them out into the wilderness and see if they can go at it Stig Of The Dump-style? I DON’T KNOW! A lot of the time I just do not know what to do or whether what I am doing is any good. I mean, there are indicators that I’m not terrible, namely that my kids are alive and they’ve grown beyond their birth weight. That has to be a plus? But then I think about a woman I once saw on Jeremy Kyle (it was during my maternity leave, don’t judge me!) who had been feeding her baby Heinz Cream of Tomato soup since she was 3 weeks old and that baby was also alive and gaining weight, so what kind of indicators are they anyway?
I’m screwed. Does anyone have Supernanny’s number?