My bathroom routine usually includes a moody, over tired 9-year old, a climbing toddler, and confused Big V, wondering why the kids are in there in the first place. This morning was no different:
Dotter is sitting on the toilet, yelling at Cletus, who is climbing over her to get to the counter where he's busy squeezing toothpaste out of the tube and smearing it across the sink, while I'm attempting to push him out with my elbow and jab a somewhat ripped contact into my left eyeball. Big V is standing behind me. I'm not entirely sure why, but I'm hedging bets he just felt lonely waiting outside our super tiny bathroom.
Dotter, can you please go get dressed?
"I know, Mom! That's what I was going to do! Why do you always treat me like a slave?!"
Off she stomps. (I just love these pre-teen hormonal mood swings.)
V, can you please go change Cletus's diaper? He reeks.
"I was just going to do that."
Sure you were.... Big V grabbed Cletus, who of course starts screaming.
I sighed. I just love my mornings. Not.
Ten seconds later Big V is back in the bathroom and grabbing the toothpaste.
Why do you need the toothpaste?
"He wants it."
Who wants it?
He told you this?
"Well, he's crying and wants to play with it."
He's a baby. Babies don't get to play with toothpaste.
"So, how do I get him to stop crying?" And he's staring at me like I'm the idiot.
We've got a serious issue in our house and it's called Daddy is a Pushover. (Either that or Daddy is Incredibly Lazy and Doesn't Want to Deal with the Drama, which I'm thinking is a tad bit more accurate.)
Big V still gives Cletus a bottle of milk when he goes to bed. The kid will be two next month. When I put Cletus to bed (with nothing) he manages to fall asleep in the same amount of time as with the bottle.
Big V lets Cletus play with his phone because "Cletus likes how it makes sounds." Never mind the extra charges Cletus has managed to incur while pushing buttons of said phone. Cletus also knows that my phone is not a play thing, and if it is found out and about, he will bring it straight to me while saying no, no, no!
Big V lets Cletus climb out of the grocery cart and take off running through the aisles, chasing after him to replace items he has ripped off the shelves. I have a strict no getting out no matter what rule that is getting harder and harder for Cletus to adhere to since he knows there is fun on the ground.
It is not fun taking Cletus out in public, especially if Big V is with, because Cletus will scream and Daddy gives in. Quickly. It turns into a game of Scream and Chase.
I know that Big V's number one goal in life is to be a good dad. A dad who is there for his children. A dad who is involved and around and an active part of their lives. He wants what all of us want with our children: a good relationship. He wants his children to be able to come to him for advice, to respect his opinions and to value him as a father. And I find that very sexy.
But I've been at a loss as to how to show Big V that giving in doesn't guarantee respect. In fact, it usually produces the opposite.
V has explained to me that he hates - absolutely hates - to see Cletus cry and get upset. (And you'd be able to see pretty plainly on Big V's face that it just about kills him.)
I usually step in to be the Bad Guy because, well, because I've been the disciplinarian with my two older girls so it's natural. Plus, I don't like to see Big V upset and uncomfortable in that role. In a way, I guess I'm giving him an easy out. Here,honey. I see you're upset about this - let me take care of it. The kids can get mad at me.
But then I think why do I have to be the bad guy all the time? And I worry that we won't be seen as on the same page when it comes to rules and expected behavior. How do I encourage Big V to welcome his role as a guide and teacher? To want basic expectations to be met so that everyone will be happier.
I believe children thrive under structure and boundaries. Big V feels if he imposes too much structure and boundaries he can not be the Dad he wants so very badly to be. And telling your toddler no, you cannot play with the toothpaste is a battle not worth choosing. Big V says he will pick the Big Battles to fight. I'm afraid the Big Battles will be FREAKING GINORMOUS if we have a kid that has never had to follow a rule ever.
It's like having the dog all over again. Except I won't be able to bring Cletus to the pound if he starts eating my drywall.
|I said no chewing on the furniture!|