Monday, February 22, 2010

Oh, yeah. I went there.

Insanity is a path all parents walk down from time to time.  We are led there by periods of totally irrational behavior in our children.  Kids do crazy things, and it makes parents crazy.  It's like reverse heredity, if you think about it.

You may be thinking that something happened in my house tonight to inspire this post, and you would be right.  I'm not going to get into the details, because that's not the funny part.  Lets' just say it involved an extraordinary volume of tears...a volume totally disproportionate to the act that inspired them. 

This particular tantrum yanked an age-old parental cliche out of me.  I tried to stop it, I didn't want to go there, but it just made sense to say it.  The perfect words to sum up what I was feeling, right there at the tip of my tongue.  Before I could stop myself I said, "Do you want me to give you something to cry about?"

I can say it worked, he didn't want anyting...wait, my wife just told me he's still upstairs crying.  I'll be right back.
Okay, I'm back.  Now before you call CPS, for the record, I did not give him anything to cry about.  Unless you count enforcing bedtime hours without the privilege of reading a book, something he was encouraged to do earlier in the evening.  Personally, I don't count that.  He argued that he's supposed to do it for school, which is true, and that his teacher will be mad at him, which is not.  It's Monday and he can make up for it any of the remaining days this week.  I'm not buying the tear-inducing necessity of "just one page."  I'm all for reading, but not as a reward for driving my wife and me crazy.

Eventually he stopped I didn't need to follow up with "this will hurt me more than it will you."    

Once, years ago, I caught myself using the threat of a spanking in a horrible juxtaposition that bewildered the tears right out of my son.  He was back-talking, and said no when I told him to do something he needed to do.  So naturally, I said, "Don't you say no to me.  Do you want a spanking?"

So what option did I leave him as a response?  Yes?  Maybe?  It stunned us both into silence.

Now that's it for tonight.  No more blogging.  Put the laptop down.  Do it now.  Because I said so.


Weronika Janczuk said...

Ah, the wonders of parenthood . . .

I think it's fair for you, absolutely, to have done what you did. However much I will want my kids to read, they will not get to do so after bedtime.

Thanks for sharing, Rick! Hope you have the best of weeks. :-)

Rick Daley said...

Thanks Weronika. They say you have to choose your battles. Tonight we made a choice.

Bedtime is an important rule. It impacts the attitude of the children the next day, and getting them quietly into bed affects the attitudes of the parents for the rest of the evening!

Laurel said...

Hell, yeah!

Bedtime is not just healthy for kids, it's healthy for marriages. Once you start to fudge the lines, it's a free for all that takes weeks to correct.

Reading is fundamental and all, but sleep is physiologically required. And if the people at school are already convinced you are mistaken in your belief that you should not drug your children with class two narcotics to keep them focused, sleep deprivation will not help your cause.

Oh, and BTW. I've covered myself in the shame of "Because I said so" more than once. After the heat of the moment has passed, I explain to him that the appropriate response to a directive is: "Yes, ma'am." After compliance with said directive, you can ask me why and we can discuss it. At that point, if I conclude I did not have a very good reason, I might change my mind. If you fight with me, though, the answer remains a resounding scary Mama voice "NO."

Iapetus999 said...

I always like to pose this riddle.

Yes means no and no means yes. Do you want me to spank you?

No? Well no means yes so here we go.
Oh, you mean yes? Well here we go. What? Yes means no? But no means yes, so here we go.

Rick Daley said...

Laurel- As different as we are, we have a lot in common.

Andrew- That's one hell of a mind bender, I like it. Here's one I go through with the kids, when I give them a tickle torture:

Child: Stop!

Me: Stop what?

Child: Tickling me!

Me: Tickle you?

Child: Yes!

Me: Okay!

Then I drop another tickle bomb, or launch another tickle-tazer, and it starts all over again.

Kristi said...

My son has to read each night as well for Kindergarten. I've also sent him to bed without it when he's been a nutball which has helped him 'rethink' his behavior the next night. I also use a reward system where he gets extra books if he's super fast about getting pj's on, teeth brushed, etc. He and my 2-yo now think it's a game to see who can get ready for bed the fastest.

Also, I can't believe how many of my parents' sayings have flown out of my mouth. I said "Because I said so," at least three times in the past week. Help!

Sharon said...

Poor Rick! This is the beginning of many years of the 'I'm not going to do/say what MY parents did/said when I was being raised'...haha-you will in fact turn into your parents, and be thankful that they were so awesome, yet strict, yet repetitive of certain phrases, etc etc etc!!!
And- I do agree, Max needed to go to bed- I bet he reads early tonight!! :)

Susan Quinn said...

What? Because I say so! isn't proper parenting? Must go back and study some more ...


I left you an award today on my blog. Because you do, in fact, rock as a parent (and blogger).

Bane of Anubis said...

Do as I say, not as I do... one of my Dad's favorites when I was a bit older. The threat of his Navy paddle he kept beneath his bed kept me in line when I was younger.

Rick Daley said...

We've tried the get ready races. Works half of the time, like the who can stay quiet the longest game.

I know I say and do things my Dad said and did when I was growing up. We become our parents. It's unavoidable. (I think that's from THE BREAKFAST CLUB)

Sue- That is spot-on parenting. I refuse to argue with my kids, and use parental authority to silence dissent readily. But I am also a benevolent dictator. Most of the time.

Bane- If you play the cards right when they are younger, the mere threat of the spanking carries a lot of weight as they mature.

Donna Hole said...

Its amazing how easily those parental terms we swore we'd never use on our own kids just seem to roll right off the tongue in certain situations.

I guess there's a good reason they've been around forever.

My son also tries to use the "but I need to read for school" excuse when trying not to go to bed.

*shrugs* Must be a kid thing to only want to do what they should when we're dead set against it. Ironic, huh.

You're a good Daddy, Rick. I know that "not reading at bedtime" choice probably really did hurt you more than him.


Rich said...

You are a perfect child because your dad was perfect. How about that for a conundrum?

Rick Daley said...

Donna- just goes to re-enforce the first lines of the post. Our kids make us crazy.

Dad- that works for me. Finally give me a leg up on Ken. Or at least even footing.

Anonymous said...

Rich your oldest son was the perfect one. Remember??!!

Rich said...

Are you a Man or an-a-non-a-mouse!
It is they that think there was one perfect. None fit that description no matter how loose U define perfect.

Crimey said...

Remember you and your wife will look back on these days and laugh about them (or, um, cry) :)

Elaine 'still writing' Smith said...

My lowest point on the Parenting Richter Scale was faking a Reading Record entry when we could not fit the fifth reading session in. The shame has remained with me always.

Rick Daley said...

Elaine, if that's your lowest point, I envy your kids!

天台 said...