The decision to get rid of a child is a personal one and you should talk to your partner about what is best for your family. For us, after much discussion, it was clear that the right choice was to get rid of our child.
We had a son in August of 2013. Like most new parents, we were excited. It was a new adventure, one that was sure to be full of ups and downs. When our baby arrived, he looked like most new babies: like a saggy, sunken, squashed old man. And a genius, of course. He came into the world quietly, scoring poorly on the APGAR tests because he simply refused to cry. He stared with wide eyed wonder at the buzzing delivery room, refusing to give any medical professional the satisfaction of a peep. Like Jesus hanging from the crucifix, he stared forward, forgiving, but knowing. He would not cry out. He would endure the shame of public nudity, shocking temperatures, and unfathomable cruelty silently. The battle would not be lost without his consent.
We should have known then that he was willful. We should have guessed that his silent entree to existence was a marker, not of his serenity, but his commitment to doing whatever it took to be contrarian. “You want for me to scream?” he said. “Beg. Beg and might consider it. Tomorrow.”
As the months wore on and he grew from a tiny babe into a sparkly eyed infant and then into a toddling smidge of wonder, his small personality began to emerge. Laughter, joy, and small acts of premeditative evil were his hallmarks. Eventually we began to tire of his pint-sized bullshit, but we pushed through. We continued parenting because we believed it was what was right. It was what society expected. You don’t just give up. You can’t throw in the towel.
We talked with friends and loved ones. We agreed that he was slightly too old to be a candidate for adoption and the risk that he would run off from the fire station before they found him was too great. Sometimes our decision would be delayed. It would seem that he had turned a corner and we would allow ourselves to believe, once again, that we could be parents. That we could have this life that society wanted from us.
But we were wrong. We were naive. In the end we could keep up the charade no longer. So we got rid of our child. We wanted to help others in our position by sharing our experience. We hope that by seeing that others are struggling you will be helped. We’ve documented for you what led us to making the right decision for our family. We hope it helps.
Fuck You and the Shit Stain You Rode in on.
The poop is unfathomable. The poop is so present, so pervasive, that you find yourself becoming desensitized. Poop on your clothes? Meh. Poop smear on your wall? It happens. Accidentally left a poop diaper in the diaper bag for an indeterminate period of time? Bummer. But okay. And then they start eating real food. And what was once just alien enough to be fascinating instead of full on horrifying becomes human. It becomes Poop.
And then they’ll shit in the tub. If you’re lucky they have some sort of bath game that has a net, or– though not ideal– some sort of scooping cups. If you’re not lucky, you’ll spend ten minutes fishing turds out of the tub with a water logged paper towel before you regain your sensibilities and scurry off the find your kitchen gloves. And you won’t even throw them out afterwards.
Poop seeps. It creeps onto organic cotton pajamas with tiny bears on them and ruins any chance those $45 pajamas have of seeing a second life with a friend of cousin. Poop hangs out on the crib sheet and no matter how much you wash it, Poop stains.
We lived like that. We communed with Poop until one day we realized we were slaves to fecal matter. He shit, we wiped. And the cycle repeated as we became less human and his Poop fiercer and less forgiving. And then we said, “STOP! We are humans with college degrees and HORN RIMMED GLASSES FOR GOD SAKE!” And we knew. Goodbye, child; Goodbye, Poop.
“Mine” is Not a Complete Sentence. It’s a Lie.
One day his tiny voice rose above the nonsense babble. “Mine!” it said. And we laughed and repeated the word over and over, encouraging him. “Mine!” we’d say and then laugh. “Mine!” We were fools.
Not everything is his. Truthfully, nothing is his. Not his room or his bed, his clothes, or his shoes. Not even that godforsaken piece of shit-smelling filth he passed off as a lovey was really his. We built this empire. This kingdom was built with our sweat and our tears and watching a two-foot-tall life terrorist run around like Christopher Columbus yelling “mine!” at every chair, book, and picture was not only inaccurate it was offensive. Not so much as one summer job or after school grocery gig of his went into the creation of this home.
And then it became about the food. God forbid the parents, the masters, be allowed to eat their pork tenderloins and nice cheese in peace. “MINE!” we would hear bellowing from the high chair, a nice bowl of pasta and sauce hitting the ground. “MINE!” he would squeal until someone parted from their moist pig meat. And then he would giggle. He would actually giggle. Because to him, this torture, this inhumane pageantry was funny. And then I found myself standing at the Whole Foods, picking out a piece of organic, wild caught, Coho Salmon and it occurred to me. “This is MINE, dammit! And I do not have to share it with you!” I felt liberated. I felt free. I knew that I was being treated unfairly and there was something I could do about it.
Hey, Halfpint, Where’d’ya Park Your Stool?
Children are short; and while we as parents try to help them adapt to the world, can we really be expected to wash, brush, rinse, reach, and put away every single thing in their lives until they are able to see over counters or to the top of the laundry machine? It’s barbaric.
In the beginning it was sweet. A soft, pudgy baby perched in a laundry basket was Instagram gold. But the reality of expecting me to wash all those tiny shirts? Seriously? And the stain removal is a full time job. There’s no end to the amount of crap that ends up on the front of those Boden shirts when the wearer has the dexterity of a moose. And we were expected to reduce ourselves to the level of laundry mistress in order to make sure they are cleaned and returned to the drawer, where they will most certainly be tossed out carelessly? No. No, I say! We have choices!
I Am Not Moved By Your Crying. But You Will Be.
Tears flowed like angry rain at any sign of even the slightest (fake) injustice. Just before our decision to get rid of him, our son had a full-on tantrum in the middle of a Toys-r-Us express at the mall because I would not allow him to take every.single.ball out of the ball bin and throw it down the aisle. To my credit, or rather, in my defense, I allowed it to happen three times before I realized what a schmuck I was. I actually thought I was picking out the wrong one and he what he really wanted was a very specific one. Rookie move. He wanted all the balls. All 8792 of them. And he wanted to throw them down the aisle of the store. And if I was going to try to stop him, I would live to be sorry.
He wailed and wailed and wailed. He did that slow, rocking, penguin/toddler walk where the arms don’t moved and the mouth is the size of a petri dish, the face flushed crimson. Photographed in black and white, it would have been captioned, “Young boy hears of his heroic father’s untimely death in a suicide mission to save a 342 Jewish children in WW2.” Photographed with the Nashville filter, it reads, “Entitled Barnacle Screams Over Loss of Balls.”
It wasn’t just the balls, though, or that specific tantrum. It was the inanity of trying to reason with the unreasonable. Did I mention my college education? How could I be expected to endure such ridiculousness? I couldn’t.
You Lack Respect; We Lack You
Sane adults can only be expected to chase after an oily-fingered toddler headed toward a designer couch so many times before they have to make a choice. An Eames lounger can only endure so many close calls with a Sharpie before someone needs to prioritize.
As we conferenced in the living room, my husband in the Eames, myself stretched out on the Muskoka blue couch, the newest furniture arrival perched in our periphery. It would never make it. Between the razor sharp fingernails and the crayons, the mini muffins and the tiny 990s, our furniture wouldn’t live to see our 40s. What were we thinking bringing a child into this home? The upholstery preferences alone should have been enough to convince us that we were being stupid. But then we realized we’d put our furniture at risk and there was no choice left to make. The child would have to go.
College is a Mirage
The college education was really what pushed us over the edge. We don’t even know this kid and we were expected to squirrel away thousands of dollars a year to send him to a four-year, young adult, education and promiscuous sex camp? All my shoes and dinners and fancy cars are being taken away so that you can have a “bright future?” What kind of bullshit is this?
So far I knew he could wield a Crayola and draw semi-recognizable circles. What about that was supposed to warrant a $1000/month college education nut? I was insane. It shouldn’t. The idea that we should invest in the future of something we love is not only wrong, it’s irresponsible. It defies human nature. Enough with the selflessness and bed time reading and learning the alphabet. We wanted our lives and our finances back and when we really sat down and looked at it, we knew that there was only one way to get those back. We had to get rid of the kid.
We called around for someone who would take him. Grandparents were out, they’d already done that song and dance once. Friends and other relatives suggested some good orphanages in Upstate New York where they’d heard the foster care system wasn’t so rough for blue-eyed white kids. We had a few responses to a Craigslist ad we posted, but no one that was very serious. We did manage to pawn off an old A/C unit on one of them, though. So it wasn’t a complete waste.
We finally decided to drop him off at the fire station. We’d originally been nervous that he would not stay put until they found it, but we solved that by putting him IN the actual fire truck. They’re sure to have found him there.
And now we finally have our lives back. We’re thinking of turning his room into an exercise space. It’s going to be awesome.