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Where a splash & a little bit of lip crack me up

by John on March 31st, 2015

I’ll admit to having a bit of the same identity crisis as my friend Cameron, where I don’t fully know what direction to take this little blog of mine and it’s three & three-quarter readers. I can write about diet & fitness & the like until…whenever. But, well, even I’d grow tired of reading it . . . and it’s my life. I can only imagine what it would be like for you readers (that said, there will be two race reports over the next two weeks — and, possibly, a detail of a workout plan between now & my next full marathon, if only to help me formalize what I want to do, myself — once it hits this blog, well, I’m much more likely to abide by the plan I set out). I enjoy sharing little tidbits about home life & my cute children . . . but, at the same time, I do think my kids deserve some level of privacy.

But then I think that my kids can’t even read yet, so it’s not like they’re going to REQUEST that I stop writing about them . . . because they have no idea I’m doing it.

And also? This blog is, kind-of, serving as a “memory book” for the kids . . . at some point, between this blog, Duffy‘s blog, Instagram, and Facebook, we’ll be able to recreate much of my kids’ lives, growing up. Heck, even now, Timehop reminds me of what the kids did, when . . . and this is a story that, well, just can’t easily be shared on any of the prior, so it seems like it screams for a blog post.

Yesterday was not a banner day for child behavior.

CJ had already lost the ability to play video games, play with his iPad, choose a TV show (basically, most everything in the parent arsenal of “I have shit to do, here, entertain yourself”) due to behavior infractions the prior weekend. He still had his toys & his Legos, so it’s not like he was being tortured with boredom, but he was…difficult.

Leila, however, henceforth to be known as The La, was actually pretty good the past weekend. So I was quite disappointed when I picked the kids up from my mother-in-law & heard tales of horrible child behavior. No iPad/no movie picking for her for the night.

Great, what am I supposed to do now, to entertain the kids? Actually spend time with them. Fuck that shit.

Dinner passes ok – the kids eat pasta, I have a truly obnoxious-sized roasted turkey leg (I “breaded” it with almond meal before roasting, and then put a Carolina-gold BBQ sauce on for the last 45 minutes of roasting . . . it was heavenly). Then we play, approximately, 9,381 games of Candyland.

Then the kids ask to play chess. I’ve tried to teach them chess — they, simply, are not ready. So I suggest checkers. But hearing that checkers isn’t a 3 person game leads to dual temper tantrums.

Well, temper tantrums mean no more games. So, running out of tools in my parenting arsenal and knowing the sun still hadn’t set, I declared it bath time. Fortunately, the kids were really, really into this idea. So yay!

I still bathe the kids together. And the beginning of the bath is all business. Start the water, wet the hair, wash the hair, wash the bodies . . . then daddy can play Trivia Crack on his phone the kids can play until there just isn’t any more hot water. Imagine my complete lack of surprise when I tidal wave of water hits me. Followed by another. And then another.

I expected to find CJ staging some epic battle between a Batman action figure and one of Batman’s foes. Or Luke Skywalker. Or a Littlest Petshop figurine. But, however, it was The La, pumping her arms and slamming a Princess Tiana figurine, repeatedly, into the bath water.

“Leila, please stop that” I said, calmly but firmly.

(she continued to do it)

“Leila!” I say, with a note of aggression in my voice.

“I’m not doing it, it’s the princess!” she responds, splashing again.

“Does Tiana need a timeout?”

Leila stops the splashing. I think she’s contemplating what answer will keep her from getting a timeout.

“Well dad, that’s up to you.”

A better parent would have taken their daughter from the tub and put her in timeout for the second time that evening1. Or explained that the toy wasn’t making any decision on her own, and that continued “acting for the toy” would result in punishment.

This parent?

He dropped to his knees, laughing.

Seriously, the kids stopped what they were doing and watched me. CJ asked if I was going to be alright.

“Yeah buddy, I’ll be fine.”

Splashing, for the remainder of the bath, at least, was curtailed.

Later in the evening, as we read bedtime books, Snickelfritz, who is old and grumpy and deaf and blind and has a gimpy leg so he will only ever go up or down stairs if he is sure what he wants is on the other end of the stairwell, started barking. The barking got increasingly distressed. So I went to check on him.

This past weekend, I started work on my vegetable garden . . . I haven’t planted anything yet, but I took out the plants from last year, tilled the soil, and put up a barrier to better keep grass from working its way into the vegetables. I still have a lot of work to do: put up a fence, put down a weed-protective lining, etc., but it felt good to be outside & doing something.

Anyway, when I removed all of the plants from last year, I took out the tomato cages and put them aside. Somehow, and I really don’t know how this could have happened, but dogs – especially grumpy old dogs, have ways of making the impossible possible. Anyway, Snick ended up trapped inside a tomato cage. He managed to get himself through the dog door, but couldn’t get up the stairs.

I managed to get the cage off of him, somehow, and the kids did, eventually fall asleep.

They’re perfectly well-behaved in their sleep.

1 Earlier in the evening, Leila decided she wanted pack of mandarin oranges . . . however, we don’t let the kids open the mandarin oranges because, well, the juice they’re in would go anywhere. CJ, in a very bossy way, reminded Leila of this fact, and to let me open the oranges, to which The La threw an absolute fit. So I sent her to her room. Where she cried and cried and cried. When I went to check on her to try to calm her down, she looked at me and stated “just leave me alone.”
  1. We’ve started giving Baguette time outs when she has epic tantrums, although I’m calling them “calm-down time.” It’s not that there’s anything different about them from a time out–I just want her to know what the goal is. Eventually she stops shrieking. What I want to know is this: How do they manage to be so infuriating and so heartbreaking with the same action?

    • I, honestly, don’t know how they do it — I just know it’s the secret to how we don’t eat them when they’re still young & tasty.

      These little buggers can frustrate you & make your heart burst in love at the same time, can’t they?

  2. How old are your kids? 5? 5 is great, but for my older girls, there still wasn’t a whole lot of comprehension. 7 is where it’s at. I feel like I can talk more on their level, whereas I struggled with that when they were younger. Or maybe I have the communications skills of a 7yo. My youngest is 5, but she’s an old soul, so she has the communication skills of a 7yo. Maybe even better than her sisters. :/

    Rachel used to throw the most insane tantrums, starting around 6.5. I think she suffers from a little anxiety, so the smallest thing would completely set her off. It took me a while to figure out how to calm her down. For a while there was a lot of just putting her in her room and removing anything she could throw.

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