Hell hath no fury like the morning after spring break
My life is sometimes a fairy-tale. Unfortunately, that fairy-tale is entitled, “Baldylocks and the Three Boors” … Once upon a time, there was a kindly old soul named Baldylocks and he had three boors. Every morning, Baldylocks woke up to make breakfast for the three boors. The first boor complained, “My oatmeal is TOO HOT !!!” The second boor whined, “My oatmeal doesn’t have enough MILK !!!” The third boor sat quietly, because in his oatmeal just happened to be perfect on this day, so why bother saying anything if you don’t have something to complain about.
My daughter, at age seven, is already learning how to game the system. For Lent this year, she is giving up “screaming at my mommy.” Such a carefully crafted sacrifice, while doing nothing to guide her towards civility, leaves me to bear, in full force, the vitriol of her displeasure. This is akin to me giving up “Tanqueray martinis with a twist of lemon” after stocking the house with Bombay Saphire and blue cheese stuffed olives.
“Before and After What?” you might ask. Let’s just say I was taking a photo of my three beautiful children playing in a park in Hawaii while on vacation. That’s the “before” photo.
I look at the photo on the camera screen and I notice that the lens was fogged up from being in the backpack with some cold water I had packed for them. I asked them to (oh horror of horrors!) go back to stand for another photo after I clean the lens. That second picture, my friends, is the “after”.
…so my wife and I had a weekend jaunt to Las Vegas – our first weekend away from the kids in almost seven years (since our oldest was born). While there, we went out for long walks, checking out shows, restaurants, etc. At one point, we had a discussion about whether or not to hit a cocktail lounge or to just walk, talk, and explore. We chose the latter, as it was so refreshing to just be together and joke around as we used to.
Then we came home. The first night back, our kids were out of control – sleep-deprived and irritated that we tore them away from the treats, movies, late nights they enjoyed playing with Grandma, Auntie, and their cousins. As the tantrums continued during the dinner-making process, I open a bottle of wine and my wife asks me to make her a Manhattan. I had to chuckle thinking that for use, the one thing that happened in Vegas and stayed in Vegas was “temperance.”
As readers may already know, I’m a big Star Wars fan and now my kids are too, even though they aren’t old enough to have ever watched it. With my t-shirts and other paraphernalia, they kids know all the characters and ask questions to learn all the stuff they’ve never actually seen in the movies. Whenever practical, I try to infuse our Star Wars discussions with some life lesson or other parenting moment.
Daughter: Why does Darth Vader wear that black suit?
Dad: Because his entire body was badly burned and chopped up.
Daughter: How did that happen?
Dad: He lost control and threw a horrible temper tantrum in a dangerous place
Daughter (pensive): oh.
(silence for a brief moment)
Daughter: What about the cape?
Dad: Well, that’s just for style ‘cos it matches the suit; someday Mommy will teach you how to accessorize.
We’re currently filming a new movie called, “Napless in North Portland.” It’s a horror flick.
My three year old just couldn’t quite figure out what he wanted this evening. I asked if he wanted ketchup or mustard on his hot dog and he said “Mustard.” When I brought him his hot dog he got mad and said he wanted ketchup, not mustard. After a quick rebuttal, I realized that it was futile so I ate the hot dog with mustard and got him another with ketchup. At this point, he decided he wanted the black bean burger his cousin was eating (she’s in town visiting). I promptly ate the hot dog with ketchup and prepared a black bean burger, giving him a quarter of it so that he doesn’t mangle the rest into something inedible (I, of course, quickly ate the remaining three quarters). Then he argues that he doesn’t like hamburgers, he wants a hot dog…
I ask my niece to take the bigger kids to watch a movie on the computer while I take young Harry upstairs. He and I snuggle in front of a big box fan and he’s crying (and my stomach is gurgling). I feel bad for him – he just can’t figure out what he wants and he can’t find the words for it either. Normally I’d get frazzled in this situation and I’m surprised to have this moment of clarity and understanding instead of getting irritated.
Maybe it’s because it’s tough to be angry on a full stomach.
It was a sad day when I realized that “The Terrible Twos” don’t actually, as one might reasonably assume, end after the age of two.
Harry, apparently, must have watched the old Monty Python skit “I’d Like to Buy an Argument” …
Harry, lamenting some parenting decision: Daddy, it’s just not fair!!!
Daddy, trying to be understanding of the three year old perspective: No, I suppose it doesn’t seem very fair, does it?
Harry: Yes it is !!!!