Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Cautionary tales about congratulating yourself too much as a parent

Last week, I pick Ryan up from school and, as we enter the house, he goes straight to the bathroom. Then I hear "mommy, I'm wearing two pairs of underwear".

I think to myself "huh?", walk into the bathroom and sure enough, he's wearing two pairs of underwear. The conversation then proceeds something like this:

Me: Ryan, why are you wearing two pairs of underwear?
Ryan: I don't know.
Me: Did you realize at school you were wearing two pairs?
Ryan: No
Me: How did you not realize when you went to the toilet at school?!
Ryan: I didn't use the bathroom today.

Which brings me to another concern altogether. James drops him off at 7:30AM. He comes home about 5PM. So the child went over 9 hours without using the bathroom?! Suddenly him wearing two pairs of underwear is the most normal part of his day.


When I discipline the kids I always say "It doesn't mean I don't love you" as part of my lecture.

Last night Hannah bit Ryan (I know, I know) so, I smacked her hand.
Ryan then gave her a hug and said "It doesn't mean I love you, Hannah".

Of course I can't help but laugh loudly and Ryan says "What? That's what you always say mommy".
Almost kid, almost.


As mentioned before, Ryan is a good kid. He's sweet, he's polite and nearly always respectful.
I've always smugly thought to myself "Well of course! James and I are great parents!".

Then Hannah came along.

As I drove to work today, her screams still ringing in my ears, I realize something crucial...
Hannah has the exact same parents as Ryan and damn if that kid isn't going to drive me to nightly drinking.

Maybe kids are hard wired at birth and parenting isn't as huge of an impact as we'd like to think. Perhaps it's a good 60% but, the other 40%, I'm coming to believe, is a birth personality.

The neighbors are probably still in shock from her morning tantrum.


Even Ryan has the capability of shocking us.

Saturday morning he's sitting at the breakfast table on that blasted iPad playing a Star Wars game. He gets frustrated with the game and begins to cry those frustrated tears parents know well.

I take the iPad away and say it's time for a break. If the game makes you that upset, you need a break.

He then begins to have a tantrum the likes I have never seen from him. James tells him to go to his room, he can come back when he's calmed down.

Ryan screamed NOOOOOO over and over again so loudly even Hannah stopped dead in her tracks. He balled up his little six year old fists and tensed his tiny body up; veins were even popping out. I won't lie, I was stunned.

He stomped upstairs screaming & wailing and James and I just looked at each other, our eyes the size of dinner plates no doubt, and said "Well, that's uuuhhhh... new".

Later, I walked upstairs and he said "I'm so sorry, mommy".

It was easy to forgive because it was so out of character.
But, I did tell him he was grounded from the iPad.

And, not because I don't love him.

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