Where, for better or for worse, my kids mimic me
I can still remember the night. I was in bed, watching TV with the whole family, drinking a glass of wine. With the wine in my hand, I got up out of bed and one of the dogs decided that, just then, was the right time to hop off of the bed. To not step on him, I shuffled my feet, and in so doing, the wine went EVERYWHERE.
I let out a very loud “dammit.”
Leila looked up at me and shouted “dammit” with a giggle.
Most any parent knows that “getting a child to eat” can be a battle in itself . . . and, when I’m home alone, the “stop for dinner” doesn’t always happen. Because I’m
a shitty parent often preoccupied with a billion things. So, I’ll make the kids something simple and make myself something far more . . . John-friendly. The kids will eat quickly & go back to whatever they were doing while my food cooks . . . and then I sit down to enjoy it. Because I love food.
Anyway, CJ loves video games — so he’ll often wrap up eating whatever I made him and then head back to whatever game he might be playing. As much as he loves playing video games, though, he REALLY loves playing video games in a social context. So I’m used to hearing “Dad, will you play this game with me?”
My common refrain, at these moments, is “sure, once I’m done with dinner.”
CJ accepts this. But will then ask, every 30 seconds or so, if I’m done with my dinner. After a few of these, I’ll commonly respond with “does it look like I’m done eating?”
Well, now, CJ will respond with “does it look like I’m done?” when asked if he’s finished a meal. Or a snack. Or a drink. It drives me crazy – and I only have myself to blame.
Do you remember the movie The Truth About Cats & Dogs? I, honestly, don’t remember too much about it – but I do remember Uma Thurman’s character talking about ordering a bagel . . . she doesn’t eat the bagel, but she loves ordering it. I was thinking about this, the other day, when driving, with my kids, to visit family. See, I keep candy in my car, but I’m incredibly strict on my diet, myself, so I buy candy . . . and then never eat it. It’s for the kids. And to “buy” a quiet, drama-free road trip, I’ll fully admit
to being a shitty father to bribing my kids with said candy.
At the start of this road trip, I heard “daddy, can I have something to eat?” which is a common refrain at the start of any trip in which I’m driving. I mentioned the plethora of foodstuffs that I had, including candy and crackers and cookies . . . but The La asked for an apple. “Apples are healthy and I want to eat healthy.”
In the bathtub, there is a bar which can be used to help a grown-up person get out of the tub. On those days where
I drink myself into oblivion while playing with suds I throw myself in the tub after a marathon, I use this bar, to get out of the tub, myself.
Well, the other day, CJ put both of his hands above his head and then grabbed the bar. And then attempted to pull himself up.
I just looked at him quizzingly.
“I’m doing exercises like you, dad!”
See, early in the mornings, on the weekends, my “I’ll play video games with you” response isn’t “after I’m done eating” but “when I’m done with my exercises.” So he’ll eagerly watch me do my exercises: pull-ups, push-ups, lunges, kettlebell swings, and goblet squats, just waiting for me to blow up aliens with him.
Now, when he shows up in my basement, he’ll ask me to lift him to the pull-up bar. He can’t actually get himself to doing a pull-up (heck, it took me over 35 years to be able to manage to do a single one), but he’s trying. And he wants it — determination in a kid is a wonderful thing.
Later that same night, the La asks “Dad, can you show us your muscles?” so I turned about with a dual-bicep flex. “How do you get muscles?”
“Well, you need to exercise.”
“What kind of exercises?”
“Well, daddy does a lot of push-ups.”
“Can you show me?”
And we spent the next 20 minutes trying to get my kids to do push-ups with proper form.