Monday, August 12, 2013

Hi, my name is IC, and I throw tantrums

Libby Anne is working through a critique of the Pearl's "To Train Up a Child".  She's off to an excellent start with her second installment, where she writes the following words:

Being a parent involves a lot of inconvenience. You have to be willing to have your reading interrupted and your coffee spilled. If you treat your children right and set good patterns—things like communication, listening, cooperation, and constructive compromise—your life with your children will be a bit harried at times, but it will also be rich and fruitful and not out of control. 

This point was a big deal to me, a father of six rambunctious coffee spillers.   I throw a lot of tantrums.

If you have been following this blog for the past month, you may be aware that we recently got a dog.  I hate dogs.  I hate all pets.  I hate fish, gerbils, snakes, alligators, unicorns, and ant farms.  Any pet that gets in the way of my clean house and immaculate children ticks me off, disgusts me, and makes me want to ship myself off to the Humane Society to compensate.

Nonetheless, we got a dog.  And she is perfect.  She's a pit bull/fox terrier/black lab mix, gentle as a flea, and is very responsive to verbal training.  She never does something naughty more than a few times before she learns to do that which is required of her.  I'm falling in love with a pet for the first time in my life. This is a new feeling for me.

And then there's Analisse.  She's our three year old.  Every step forward that Luna (the dog) takes, Analisse, aka "The Freak" takes one backwards.  She is fascinated with Luna's water bowl.  She fills it to the brim, allows it to overflow, pours it all over the floor, dumps the dog food into it and then sits there, watching it expand (that's actually REALLY COOL to watch, so I don't blame her!), fills the bowl with tennis balls, and on and on.  More than once, I have walked into the office with socks on and stepped in a puddle of water.

I hate wet socks.

If you were a fly on the wall, this is what you would hear:

"RENAYA!  LAURA!  FREDERIC!  EVERYONE!!!!!  What in the h*ll is wrong with you kids!?  Aren't you watching your sister!!  Hey Freak!!!  How many times have I told you NOT TO TOUCH THE DOGS WATER BOWL!!!!!!!  Kids!  Clean this sh*t up!  Get towels,!  Just get it done now!!!!"

Yeah.  So, is it true that I expect all the kids to monitor Analisse in everything that she does?  Do I expect Analisse to dump her innate fascination with all things water bowl?  After all, this is new to her and she's a wonderful little kid, experiencing new things in life.  Is it right for me to get mad at the kids and make them run around, frantically trying to make me happy?

The answer to all the questions above is pretty obvious.  I'm not being fair to my children and I know it.  The dog even knows it, as she cowers in her kennel until I am done waving my arms and jumping up and down. For all she knows, it's her fault.

Anyway....that's why that quote hit home for me.  Much to improve.  Many steps to take forward.  I cannot afford, at this point in my parenting career, to be complacent in my attitude and parenting, nor can I afford to take any steps backwards.

This ends today.

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