Sunday, December 22, 2013

Eight Times In Less Than Thirty Minutes

To my son Tommy,

I just wanted to sleep in.  I don't know why I was so tired but I really could have used the extra snooze time.  You got out of your bed a little after seven.  We asked that you come lay in bed with us while we tried to grab some more dream time.  We put on the TV in our room and tried to get back to sleep.  Two minutes later you asked if you could go downstairs.  Really I don't mind if you were to go downstairs to play, but I know from experience that you won't rest until someone else comes down with you.  So the answers was no.  And no again three minutes later.  And no again four minutes later.  And again in another three minutes.  Things wouldn't change until the eighth time you asked (roughly 7:30) when you got a flurry of yes answers. 

"That is it! Fine! Go downstairs!" I yelled as I got up and threw off the covers and lost my cool.
"I can go downstairs?"  ....  "YES,"
"Are you going downstairs?" ... "YES."
"Are you going to make me breakfast?" ... "YES."
"Are you mad?"... "YES. GO!"

I was boiling.  You scuttled down the steps smartly staying out of reach of my wrath.  There were tears in your eyes but no sympathy in mine.  It wasn't till I slammed the silverware drawer and the door fell off the pressboard piece of crap that I realized my anger was out of control.  I was still mad but I needed to control my temper.  "Here is your cereal," I said with a hurumph. 

Yes I was being selfish, thinking I deserved a few minutes of uninterrupted sleep.  My selfish streak was showing itself through genetics in your own "everything is about me" attitude but you're four.  I don't know how to teach through example that from time to time you have to let other people be selfish by disregarding your own self interest.  To teach it by example, I would have to get up out of bed and bend to your own selfish desire and give you what you want.  However this only seems to enforce the "me" attitude.  If I stand my ground with my own selfish request and make you bend, I am enforcing the "me" attitude with the introduction that power and position allow you the ability to get what you want and trump other people.  Had Yossarian been a parent, I wonder how he would have reacted to that catch.

The reality of the lessons today were as follows.  You learned that being persistent and annoying gets you results of some kind even if it does illicit anger.  We both learned that the silverware drawer sucks and that daddy shouldn't slam things around just because he "lost" at the test of wills that you have somehow made more effective than Chinese water torture. I learned that there is an uncanny comparison to Joseph Heller literature about war and raising a four year old.  None of these lessons were intended or worthy.  Perhaps I need to be grounded from parenting for a bit, which of course means I am not crazy and have to keep parenting.  Either way, I need to find the wood glue and some clamps for when I can focus,

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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