Wednesday, February 06, 2008

One Down, Thirty-Nine To Go

With all the hullabaloo yesterday about Super Tuesday, I forgot that it was also Mardi Gras, which means today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. I'm going to try again this year to give up yelling at small children, so it's a good thing that I had a nice little yelling fit with S-Boogie yesterday when I found her in the middle of a pile of styrofoam pieces just minutes after I'd told her NOT to pick apart the styrofoam container. It must have been my subconscious mind telling me to spend Mardi Gras reveling in sin before entering a forty-day fast.

Today, I'm happy to say, went well. It's easy to keep my cool when the kids are in a good mood, and they were in a good mood today. My challenge will be not screaming back when they are screaming at me.

It's funny because I think most people who know me would say I'm a fairly even-tempered and easy-going guy. I'm not usually one to get angry and throw tantrums. Something about the irrationality of children, though, messes with my rational mind. The aspects of my personality that my children bring out in me are not pretty: my obsessive need for order, for control, for reason. When I don't have these things I become the type of parent that kids grow up to write bitter memoirs about. I don't want my kids living in fear that at any moment, if they don't do everything exactly right, their smiling, cheerful dad will snap and call down the wrath of God on them.

On the other hand, on days like today when I manage to behave how I insist my children behave--treating others with respect and finding appropriate ways to express our feelings--I like myself a lot more and I like them a lot more. And everyone goes to bed feeling happy. And hopefully S-Boogie and Little Dude will grow up thinking of home as a safe place, not as the source of their PTSD to be worked through in years of expensive therapy sessions.

9 comments:

Weed said...

When I don't have these things I become the type of parent that kids grow up to write bitter memoirs about.

That's a classic line. I'm gonna have to use it someday.

PS--I've always been impressed by what I've seen of your parenting.

Mr. Fob said...

I save my yelling for when there are no adult witnesses.

FoxyJ said...

Dang--I thought I was the only one who yelled at the kids :)

Mr. Fob said...

Take comfort in knowing you will be for the next thirty-nine days.

Abelard Enigma said...

For Lent, I'm going to give up eating liver. Actually, instead of 40 days, I'm going to go for 40 years.

Ya know, it's good to yell once in a while, it keeps your lungs cleared out - or maybe that was cars and carburetor's ...

Chris said...

A friend of mine who was raised Catholic was asked by a co-worker yesterday what she was giving up for Lent. Her reply: "Catholicism."

Gallegos Family said...

What a wild connection! How on earth did she find me? Both of your blogs are very clever. I am also glad to hear that I am not the only one to lose it with the kids. Somedays I think I will go crazy!
Great to hear from you and read about your family! Next time we are in Seattle...our families should get together.
Camille

Mr. Fob said...

Abe: I'll join you forty years from now for a liver feast.

Chris: I hear that's a hard vice to give up.

Camille: Yeah, it's good to there are a lot of us who aren't the model parents we'd like to be, isn't it? I think Jessie was reading some Mormon group blog and linked from a commenter's blog and then from there hopped from blog to blog until she came across yours. She says she couldn't retrace her steps now if she tried. Yeah, we should definitely get together next time you're in town. I'd love to meet your husband and kids--I think our daughter is about the same age as your son.

Mr. Fob said...

Good to know, that is.