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.