I lost at parenting today
As a parent, today is just one of those days you fear you’ve scarred your child forever. Today I lost. I lost because I felt like I lost control.
I reacted to his temper tantrum in a way I told myself I never would. Although talking a 4 year old to a peaceful resolution can fail more time than it works, it generally works a whole lot better than losing your shit in an out-temper match with a toddler.
Kids know what buttons to push, but I forget he's only doing it to see what I’m going to do. I’m constantly being tested and outwitted by a four year old because that’s what 4 year olds are designed to do. Test you. Experiment. Test the world. It’s in their nature.
I’m supposed to know better. I’ve got 30 years on the kid - but he’s catching up quickly. Too quickly.
I know I’m being harder on myself than he ever has been on me. He loves me and he tells me at least 3 times a day. He wouldn’t even go to bed without giving me his customary 30 hugs.
Whatever I did wrong today is in the books. Count this one as a failure. I’ll gladly where the title. My consistent commitment is simply that I’ll do better tomorrow. And the day after that. And the day after that. We’re all learning.
My son comes back home after the holidays
We recently had a three day break from toddler needs in our house while my in-laws enjoyed time with their grandson. Man, we needed it. Recently, the our lovely offspring has been testing the boundaries of the tone in his voice and the words he chooses to say. The teachers haven't been too fond of it. Neither have we.
As soon as his uncle brought him back to Austin, I was so excited to see him. The feeling was mutual as he shrieked as soon as he jumped out of the too tall SUV, yelling "Daddy!"
As soon as walked in the house, he gives me my second big hug and informs me he needs to use the bathroom. When he returns, he looks me square in the eyes and says, "Daddy, look. I washed my hands. Do you want to check? My hands are still wet. I'm not lying to you." The topic of lying is a hot topic in my house at the moment, and he was eager to share with me that although he's been gone for a few days, he hasn't forgotten what he's supposed to do or the lesson's he's learned.
I'm proud of him. I tell him so. He smiles and walks off to dry his hands.
By that very evening he's crying at the top of his lungs because he wanted to see if I would follow up with my threat to shut his bedroom door if he continued to make excess noise to grab attention at bed time. He has two night lights in his room, but just likes the door slightly ajar rather than completely closed off from the world. I can understand that. I don't make idle threats in my house. He's has to learn that when mommy or daddy says something, we're going to follow through.
Sometimes those lessons come at the cost of silence or peace in the house, but so be it.
Sensing my frustration and curtailing her own, my wife went to have a conversation about consequences with our little guy. He calmed down and told mommy he loved her.
As he wailed, that familiar feel of failing was coming over me. I'm simply grateful to have backup because so many others don't.
And I'm grateful I'll get another shot to try again tomorrow.