Saturday, February 02, 2008

How have I NOT damaged my child in the past week?

(a) This morning, I took him out in the cold rain, forgetting to put on his rain boots. Naturally, the first thing he does is splash in a large puddle outside. Naturally, this is also the day that I don't have the car, having dutifully brought it in to be serviced. Naturally, we have also missed the bus. "My feet are wet," he says. Naturally, he is the only one who doesn't have rain boots when we get to school, so I have additionally committed a fashion faux pas.

(b) Last night, upon taking him to bed, I accidentally bump his head while getting his pajamas on. "You hurt my head!" he says. "Don't do that!" I ask for forgiveness. I get it only after many kisses and a few tickles for good measure.

(c) On Monday, I deny him the opportunity to see Barack Obama in person. In DC, I explain, disenfranchisement happens early and often.

(d) In the process of (c), I have to bring him in to school much earlier than we usually get there. As such, instead of being late for snack when everyone is already there, he is only the second person, and the other kid is significantly older than he is. After taking off his coat, he looks around, looks at me with wide eyes and, very seriously with an extremely cute voice, asks, "Dada, where are all my friends?" (Thankfully, the twins his age -- who also usually arrive very late, actually usually right before us -- come within a minute, since their mom also has an early meeting.

(e) Late last week, I go through the daily motions of getting him ready for school. Usually, this involves much bellyaching and a chorus of "I don't want to [x]" with [x] being either "have breakfast," "get dressed," "put shoes on," "go to school," "put coat on," or, you know, "breathe." This has occasionally devolved into mild tantrums -- and, lately, not so mild. On the day in question, I am running late (as usual) and trying to put clothes on, which leading to complaints and thrashing as described above. This, after I've given him a LOT of extra time to play and after he has agreed to get dressed without a fuss. "I DON'T WANT TO WEAR CLOTHES! NO! NO!!!"

At some point, I give up. I remember that apparently I had this problem as a kid and my mother made me go to school in my pajamas for a whole day. I decide that perhaps it's time to bring out the big guns. "Really?" I ask. "You don't want clothes? Fine." I pick up his clothes and shoes, put them in a bag, grab my coat and his lunchbox and drag him out the back door to the car.

He is wearing only a diaper and a pair of socks.

The temperature is about 16 degrees above absolute zero outside.

I then proceed to put the howling boy ("I DON'T WANT TO GO TO SCHOOOOL! I DON'T WANT TO WEAR CLOOOOTHES!") into the car, strap him into the car seat, start the car and drive off. To cover up the howling, I put Annie Lennox's "Coloured Bedspread" on the CD player at a relatively loud volume. I then pray to God that a cop doesn't drive by, since I'm not entirely sure that what I am doing is legal. Only when I get to the other side of town do I finally hear a small voice in the back seat say, "Dada, may I please have some clothes?" And after an apology and a huge hug, I put them on.

Wracked with guilt, I confess all this to his teacher at school. "You're better than I am," she laughs. "I probably wouldn't have even turned on the heat in the car." I look at her. "What makes you think I did?"

(f) I gave my son a fat lip.

Funny enough, he gave himself a fat lip at school. Later telling us that it involved "riding tricycles around and around and around and around and then CRASH," he actually manages this by simply running with a plastic toy in his hand and then falling on it, giving himself a nice bloody cut. By chance, Angela and I both arrive only minutes after this happens and are thus able to document the aftermath, snapping photographic evidence with the incriminating evil toy, still in his clutches.

"I'll show you, Evil Squiggly Plastic Blue Toy!"


kgf said...

the mark of a successful parent is to send your kid to his psychotherapist with different problems than your parents gave you. just ask my kids...

KC said...

There's no crime against tough love...

I still love that you did that.

Duh said...

I recognize that toy! That belongs to a set of brightly colored tubes that you can stack and send marbles careening around, right?

That was one of my favorites growing up. You should teach him about Rube Goldberg!