27 July 2009

#18 -- Be a hypocrite

So, a while ago, I got married. As typically will happen in situations such as this, some kids eventually came along and chaos ensued. Happily, kids start out as babies. Babies are nice. They’re fun and they’re cute, but they’re also frequently messy and require loads of attention. At some point in the growth process, these things start to change. They become difficult, unruly, and at times downright obstinate, but you still can’t help but love em to death. There does, however, come a place in time where most of us parents would rather just hand the reins over to someone else and step aside for a while. For some this stretch of time can shrink to days and in some cases even hours, but for the large majority of the population, I believe that the “endless days of potty-training” are a nemesis that we all wish could be avoided.

We’ve been through three of these times so far, my patient wife and I. Mostly she’s been through them, I’ll agree, but I certainly got my…well, I won’t say fair share, but certainly a bundle of it. The worst part is that every single one of the three experiences has been entirely different. Wouldn’t be “fun”, I guess, if all the kids acted exactly the same.

Our first seemed to do rather well during the transition time, with relatively few accidents (that I remember), and with the proud parents patting themselves on the back at a job well-done. Unfortunately, the fun had only begun, because for some reason our first decided to do a little reverting and slide back into unpottytrainedness. Not only that though. It’s even worse than that. In fact, I distinctly remember walking into the kids room one day to find our oldest without a stitch on, staring up at me and smiling as she let loose the floods onto the carpet.

Now, how exactly is one supposed to respond to such an insult? Do actions like that not just scream impertinence? Ha, ha! You thought you were done with me, but now that I’m peeing on the floor what are you going to do about it? I just don’t understand the drive for children to push boundaries, but they do it nonetheless. They find them, and then they push and they push and they push. The bad part is that if you don’t hold those boundaries firm, then eventually they’ll end up walking all over you and your supposed authority.

So, we introduce punishments.

These can vary across the board, from harsh to wimpy. Everyone has their own special way of doing this. The point is that in order to avoid incorrect behavior there needs to be a consequence when the “rules” are broken.

Such as, no peeing on the carpet. I mean, seriously.

The joys of our second hit that stage. He was a bit behind the curve. Boys usually are, I think you’ll find. They just take a bit longer to figure it out for some reason. This time around, he’d get dressed, go outside to play, and come in fifteen minutes later with wet shorts. Mom would change him, and he’d go back outside, and fifteen minutes later…repeated ad infinitum. Eventually he made it. All praise and hallelujah.

Our third, on the other hand would get dressed in the morning, go out to play with the kids, and just stay out there whether she was wet or not. This meant repeated checking and asking and…man, does this stuff ever end?

Now, all this progression doesn’t really mean that they’re “cured”. Oh no. There’s still copious holding, and grabbing, and crossing of legs, dancing and squatting and any number of whacked-out body positions that will hold things back. We still have the occasional child racing to the bathroom at speeds approaching the proverbial roadrunner. Still, by and large we are through the accident stage.

Why do they do this? Well, I very much remember wagging my backside as I sat on the classroom floor in first grade, needing to use the restroom, but not wanting to miss out on the very wonderful story that my teacher was reading to us. I waited and waited and waited, and finally Mrs. B noticed me and told me to go to the restroom, that she’d wait for me to get back, but not making it. In fact, I didn’t even make it out of the classroom. Good buddy of mine and I were at the nurse’s office shortly thereafter--me, for waiting too long, and him for laughing himself into release. It’s just so much fun to be a kid. Who’d want to spend the time on something as boring as hitting the facilities when you could be out playing with friends, or listening to stories, or a myriad of other grand activities that fill our days.

No one, that’s who. Instead, they’d rather wait until the last minute, dancing and jigging the whole way until they just can’t take it anymore.


A few months ago I was perusing the advertisements for ShopKo and found that once more they had their el cheapo bookshelves on sale. What luck! I thought, for I had recently come upon a barrier in my spatial capacity for shelving books. (I believe that I’ve mentioned before that I’m an addict…) Through some means (I’m actually still not sure which) I talked my lovely wife into letting buy one of these bookshelves.

We all took off for the store, bought the thing, brought it home, assembled it, and then came the fun. I pulled nearly all my books off the shelves, installed the new shelf (right next to my side of the bed, unfortunately. One of the down sides of having a small bedroom, I guess), and set to organizing and categorizing my books.

Removing price tags, fixing torn dust jackets, grouping by author and series, checking that all titles were on my list of books (so I don’t buy multiple copies of the same book). I lost myself in the work. At various points in the process my kids would come in and help out, or mess things up, or try to talk to a very preoccupied me. The time flew by. I couldn’t have told you how long it had been, and to tell the truth I didn’t really care.

Then, as I was nearing completion, I noticed something about myself. I was dancing. No, there was no music playing on the stereo, in my head, or otherwise. Still, I was shifting and turning and sitting in ways that I hadn’t in a LONG time, and I suddenly made the realization that I had to use the restroom. So, what did I do? Continued organizing my books of course. What kind of question is that? It didn’t take very long though until I hit that critical point and had to bail. Afterward, I was able to return to my books and finish the fun.

So these days, I tend not to be too harsh on getting after my kids for dancing a little. Hey, what can I say? Yes, I might be a hypocrite, but I’d still like to think that this experience taught me something about being distracted to ignorance. Plus it gave me a chance to laugh at myself, which can never be a bad thing. Keeps me humble.

1 comment:

carrie said...

Ok, I know this post is from a while ago, but I just happened upon it. I laughd out loud! You are hilarious...and I miss you guys.

Hope everyone is doing well, and staying dry.