Living in Alton for these past few months hasn't been easy. I hate it when I am asked "how do you like living in Alton?" I don't know how to answer that question. I don't hate it here but I don't love it either. If I had the chance I would move tommorrow, almost anywhere. I don't know if Alton will ever be my home! But regardless of how I feel we are here. Kory's job is here and so we will stay here. And every day I wake up I get to choose whether it's going to be a good day or a bad day living here. For the most part we have good days and I'm O.K here living this life that I am so not use to.
One of the "things" that bug me the most and that I have the hardest time with has to do with what I consider a lack of parental control/guidance whatever you want to call it. It seems like every couple of weeks something comes up that just shocks me. The people who live here do not know who or what CPS (child protective services)is! It is not uncommon to hear that children under the age of 9 have been left at home for hours while there parents are shopping in St. George which of itself is a 4 hour commute. It is not uncommon for a mom to run an errand around town having left there sleeping toddler at home by themselves. When the weather permits kids are driving quads around town with no adult, children are riding their horses around town by themselves.
Kids are playing at the park hours after dark with no parental supervision. Kory tells me this is small town life. He's right, it is small town life. He and many many others consider these kind of things the "benefits" of living in such a small community.
There are many people in our community who think that I am an overprotective mother. To a point they are right. However every couple of weeks we seem to have an incident that just floors me. The biggest that comes to mind happened this past January. Every year in January the Heaton Family (immediate and extended) gets together to slaughter, and cut up several heads of beef (18-20). The family then splits the beef between all the families. We have participated many years in doing this and then reap the benefits of having a freezer full of good meat. This past january some of the kids, aged 2-11, boys and girls went up on a near by hill and started there own fire. Some of the kids would then run down to the shop where ALL the adults were and grab handfuls of raw meat to take back to their fire and cook it. Kory was at work and I was at the kids school with my own kids when all this started. When our family later that afternoon got to the shop to "help" my kids of course ran off to find there cousins. After some time I noticed the smoke billowing up into the sky. I grabbed Kory and pointed it out to him. He and I were about ready to take off up to this said hill to investigate when one of the other adults over heard us and stopped us. The adults present knew what was going on and didn't seem to have a problem with it. Kory even stated that the kids had picked a bad spot to host their fire with all the dead weeds and trees around not to mention all the flammable garbage around. Kory asked who had started the fire and was told that the 11 year old had. Kory asked if any of the adults had gone up to make sure the fire was in a safe area, of course no one had. He asked if there was at least a buckett of water up there or something that the kids could use if it got out of hand. It wasn't a suprise to hear that there was no water near the fire.
What suprised me the most was the lack of concern from all the adults present. The mentallity was "kids will be kids". Being the overprotective parent that I am I of course made my kids stay close to the shop for the rest of day. They all knew they were not allowed any where near that fire. That night on the way home Kory talked and talked and talked to the kids about how wrong it had been for that fire to be started in the first place. How lucky everyone was that no one had been hurt. How that fire could have easily gotten out of hand and started a much bigger fire and done some damage to someone elses property. We don't play with fire! After all this talk my kids then tell us that while they were up there one of the kids had put his coat on the ground to close to the fire. Sparks and ash from the fire landed of his coat and actually started it on fire. The 11 year old up there jumped on his coat to put it out. That's great the 11 year old was able to put the unexpected fire out but seriously???
I try very hard to dress my kids nicely. We don't have a lot of money and I shop a year ahead so that dressing our children isn't as expensive as it could be. A few weeks ago Hunter's jeans (that he's had for over a year now) started getting holes in the knees. I was able to fix some of them but others were just to big! After a short time it seemed that this kid only had 1-2 pairs of jeans without holes. Being I don't allow my kids to wear holey jeans to school I felt like I was constantly washing his pants. Our local school doesn't seem to mind the holey pants but our school in AZ and even the school in Hurricane the kids went to last year states in the handbook no holes as part of there dress code. So the no holey pants to school isn't just a me thing. After weeks of searching I found JC Penny having a great sale and was able to buy him 5 new pairs of jeans for about $7 a piece. Hunter was so excited to have more than just 2 pairs of jeans to wear. It seems like all my kids are becoming extra hard on there clothes while living here. They just get more dirty and it's hard to get it all out of their clothes. Their clothes just aren't staying as nice as they have in the past.
I got a little upset with Hunter when he came home 2 weeks ago with a rip in the knee of one of his new pairs of pants. He went out with cousins after school and was climbing through fences when he got snagged on barb wire. It ripped from seam to seam. It was a clean enough cut that I was able to sew it up and you can hardly notice but he doesn't like wearing them anymore. This pair of pants is the last to be worn all week. He doesn't like the feel of the seem on his knee. To him they are ruined. This past weekend he once again was out with cousins and just came home completely muddy from head to toe. They were all on bikes and found a few mud holes to drive through. His new $80 boots that we gave him for christmas was just caked with the mud. I reminded him how much we had spent on his new boots. Kory even got after him to take better care of his new clothes and boots. His boots were so expensive he needs to make them last cause he's not getting a new pair any time soon. Kory suggested that when he gets home from school he change his pants into an older pair that I have patched up even though he doesn't like them. He also suggested to him to wear his old tennis shoes if he wants to play hard outside and get dirty just to keep his new boots new.
I guess today was the straw that broke the camels back. It's going to sound so silly but it's had me in tears for over an hour now. Hunter was once again out playing with cousins in one of the cousins barn. They all got into a can of paint. He came home with white flicks on his hand that caught my attention first. When asked what it was he told me about the paint war they had . On further inspection his shirt had white flicks of paint all over the back of it. One of his new pairs of pants he was wearing also has paint flicks all over them. As if this weren't enough his new boots are covered in paint too. I was fit to tied. I feel like I held my anger in check. I pointed out all the paint covering his body head to toe. I pointed out his new boots that he likes to wear to church on sunday's. I reminded him that his dad told him he could wear these boots to church as long as they stayed nice. He took off upstairs to change his clothes, like thats going to do anything! After several minutes he came back downstairs and was on his way outside again to go play. I noticed he still had his paint covered boots on. I told him that maybe he should try to scrub the paint off. When he turned around his face and eyes were all red. He said he couldn't get the paint off that he had tried to scrub it off already. He then left the house in tears. I was still so mad that I just let him go and of course burst into tears myself. I'm glad he was in tears. He must be feeling horrible knowing he's ruined another pair of pants and now his boots too. I'm so mad! What makes me even more mad if it were possible is knowing that the parents of the other kids involved DON'T CARE!!! Their kids go to school with holes in there shirts and pants. Their clothes always look stained. They don't have "nice" clothes to wear. I'm told that kids are kids. All kids are rough on there clothes. Kids aren't expected to wear nice things. Really?? Since when??? I've been trying to think up of a consequence for Hunter for playing in the paint this afternoon. I mean come on! Since when did playing in paint become an after school activity? He know better! The more and more I think about it though I don't know if I need to say or do anything more. I think the ruined boots is going to be enough for this little guy!
Earlier this week there was an incident on the bus where Hunter and another cousin was being blamed for something. Hunter was at scouts at the time I recieved that lovely phone call so I asked Madelyn about it. She told me her version of what had happened and said Hunter wasn't involved. Madelyn then had a friend come over a little while later. I asked for her version of what had happened on the bus. It was basicly the same as Madelyn's. When Hunter got home after scouts I asked him what had happened and was again told the same story. To me it sounds like Hunter was sitting next to his cousin who was causing all the problems and he got blamed too. Madelyn asked me if I was going to punish Hunter. I told her no being that I had been told the same story by three different kids all at different times. I believe all three of them. Madelyn then asked what would happen to the cousin who had caused the problems. I replied that I didn't know since I wasn't his mom. She then tells me that nothing will probably happen becuase they never get in trouble. They can do whatever they want and mom and dad don't care. She's even seen them do something they were told not to and not get into trouble for doing it anyways. Like I said, I really, really, really, struggle with the lack of parental control around here. And then to know that it's not just me seeing it but that my 7 year old can see it too!
Can I just ban this kid from playing with his cousins? Why he has to follow in what ever everyone else is doing is beyond me.