Parenting by Barney Fife

At what point do you consider yourself a bad parent. Is it a host of actions that make you a bad parent or is it just one individual act that makes you a bad parent? Maybe it is just that you feel like a bad parent because you can't make your kid happy all the time or maybe it's being a bad parent when you give them what you want all the time.

Let's examine some prime examples of possible bad parenting from Hossdad and see where they rate and maybe we can get an answer to some of those questions upstairs.

Scenerio #1:

When my daughter was about 8 months old she was all over the place. She had learned how to crawl but forgot to take the classes that explained injury and fear. My daughter had no fear. None what so ever. If you put her up on the chair and she wanted down, she would just pitch herself forward and land like an arrow shot from a bow, which would mean with a massive thud and crying. If she could curse, I am sure it would be at me.

I was sitting at home with her afterwork. She was in rare form that day and completely decided that she should give me a heart attack. It was premediated, I tell you, she's an evil genius. Everything was going fine until I did the one thing that you hear every bad parent say: "I just looked away for a minute". And I did.

I was up and put something in the kitchen. Little Hoss was in the living room. I couldn't have taken more than two steps into the kitchen and looked away for a grand total of 4 seconds.

When I returned my gaze to her, I noticed that she was on the third stair leading up to the bedroom. She is a little Houdini, a magical being, a David Blane. I have no idea how she got around the baby barrier and massive toy box that blocks the stairs. I was shocked. Here is my kid, the one that I am in charge of since Hossmom is still at work, and she is trapsing up the stairs like it is her own personal work out video.

I flipped and called out "no". I'm not sure if this was the type of no that you hear your boss say when you ask for a raise or the type of no that is said in slow motion in the movies when the vial of humankind killing evil bacteria is about to hit the floor.

But it got her attention and she turned her head and at that precise moment, lost her balence and came tumbling down the stairs. I have never moved so fast in my life, I was Chester Cheato and she was my orange corn chip. And down the stairs she went, thud, thud, thud. Her fall was broken when she crashed into the toy chest but don't think the word "subdural hemotma" didn't come to my mind. She began screaming her head off and I scooped her up and starting checking over her like I was looking for a sharpnel wound.

She was ok, but am I more of a bad parent because I let her get up the stairs or because I scared her into falling? You make the call.

Scenerio #2:

Fast forward a couple of months and my daughter is moving right along with her development. Which means that we are full fledged into the temper tantrums. I have no idea where she gets this anger from, but to make myself feel better and be less culpable, let's say Hossmom.

She tends to throw these tantrums when she doesn't get her way, which is most of the time considering that she wants to climb stairs without Hossdad support. When she goes away to college, I'm going to kill myself because she wont' listen to me. My biggest fear is that she hooks up with a tatoo covered, college drop out, hippie, pot smoking punk and becomes pregnant after he convinces her that Hey man, don't conform to societies rules, be a communist. That's when I will die, right there. It will be in the year 2026.

She is gearing up for that fight by now practicing often on her tantrums. Look, I've read the books and I've talked to other parents. I know what I am supposed to do during a tantrum. It's either ignore it or a time out. A time out sounded harsh at first since she is only 15 months old but I have discovered that she very much knows what she is doing and in this case, likes to see how quickly I can stroke out.

This particular day she was having a good 20 minute tantrum. It was never ending. I was ignorning her like a good parent but she was hitting that special octive that only little girls can hit when they want to take a monster truck to that last working nerve. I couldn't even go into my happy place because it was besiged with a wail that would be good for any B horror movie being made.

She was getting right on it. Following me around and never, ever stopping screaming. I have no idea such a small thing can carry so much wind.

I was drinking a bottle of water and decided that I pretty much had enough of this. No, you can't climb the stairs until you are 18, are you happy. Nope, more yells.

So I looked down at her, very calmly as she lay on the floor kicking her legs and arms. And I thought to myself, "Self, we need to break t his screaming thing right now.". It was the old Barney Fife, KNIP IT IN THE BUD. At least, t hat was the thought anyway. And yes, I am concerned that I am taking my parenting advice from Don Knotts.

She had been screaming so long that I'm sure she had forgotten what she wanted in the first place since she has the attention span of mud at the current moment.

So I squirted her in the face with my bottle water. And not a little, but a pretty good shot.

She immediately stopped crying and looked at me. What did I say? I said what my father would have said to me: "Knock it off". And then I walked away. She got up and then went to play with a toy, the incident completely forgotten.

So does the fact that I squirted my daughter with a water bottle, much like I would the cat that scratches my favorite chair, make me a bad parent? It's funny, as soon as I begin to tell every parent I know this story, they all immediately jump to the end and then confide that they to, have done this.

Scenerio #3.
There are times when Hossdad just needs a break. It's not to often but for the love of god sometimes I just crave some peace and quite. That seems to be the number one wish of most fathers. What do we want more: a new set of golf clubs or one day of quiet? I would take the quiet everytime.

That's not to say that I don't love my family and enjoy being with them, I do. It's just sometimes it would be really nice to zone out for an hour without having to worry about who needs what. With a pregnant wife in month 5 and a 15 month old child, the demands on Hossdad are getting pretty high up there.

This past weekend I saw my opportunity and I took it. I'm not proud of this but it was so worth it. Hossmom was on the couch and Little Hoss was playing in the living room. I was cleaning the kitchen and doing laundry which never seems to ever get done. What saddens me is that I am the worst clothes putter away you have ever seen. I will take a clean load upstairs and put it in a basket only to forget about it later. This would not appear to be a big deal.

However, when I go upstairs hours later I forget that it is clean and then proceed to through my dirty laundry on top of it thinking I am being a great Dad because I am putting my undies in the basket thus saving me from any wrath. At the end of the week, I can't tell what's clean and what's dirty so I have to wash it all over again. This has happened several times.

So this weekend I vowed to not do this and put away all the laundry. But I used this to my advantage. I told my wife that I was going upstairs to put away clothes while she watched the kiddo. What did I really do? I disappeared for an hour.

I kinda put away the clothes, by which I mean I just stuffed them as quickly as I could in random drawers. Technically, this is putting them away just randomly and not folded. It took about 5 minutes. I actually worked up an sweat. I work out while I clean, I'm all about healthy living.

The remaining 55 minutes I played a video game under the guise of doing housework while my wife and daughter were downstairs. I heard at least 3 tantrums during this time period. I didn't lift a finger. I didn't get up. I didn't even call downstairs to see if there was anything that I could do. Instead, I fought off the evil hordes in my new Xbox game. And I loved every minute of it. The kiddo was going crazy. I know this because when she gets really mad she changes octives on her screams. I could hear my wife getting frustrated but I didn't move. It was glorious.

So does this make me a bad parent or are we going to vote more for a bad husband. I don't see how I come out smelling like roses on either one.

Do the whole of these actions make me a crap parent? I submit to you, no, they do not. They make me a normal parent which is a shot to the ego of Superdad. Every parent does these things on occasion, even if they won't fess up to them.

It's like that survey people talk about that says 80% of guys masterbate and 20% of guys lie about it. Absolutely.

I just realized that I compared parenthood to masterbation. I think that may make me a bad parent.

1 comment:

  1. When I had had IT with a temper tantrum throwing 14 month old (name withheld to prevent this story being held against by appropriate offspring) I got a cookie and ate it right in front the screaming child, salavating for its own cookie - it was 3 minutes of bliss, I was making the litter bugger as miserable as I had been made. When I was finished, checking to ensure I ate even the minutest crumb, I gave a cookie to the little one. Momentary silence prevaled; I was a peace with the world and the child. I had made it suffer. 30 years later I remember this as the most emotionally satisfying cookie I ever ate.