January 18, 2013

My Daughter, The Future Serial Killer

Disclaimer: The following post is not meant to imply a judgement of people who spank their children

Sara and I do not spank our children.  I am opposed to spanking, not just on moral grounds, but because I have seen no evidence that it's effective.  I was never spanked as a child, but some might argue that that's part of my problem.  I know there are plenty of stories of people who got spanked and turned out just fine, but I mean something more than anecdotal.

If someone presented me with a scientific study that stated that spanking a child had behavioral and emotional benefits, I would accept that premise.  I still would not spank my kids, but I might let go of some of my bias about it.

We teach the girls that hitting is wrong.  You could have the following conversation with H:

"She hit me!"
"That wasn't very nice.  What do we do when people hit us?"
"We hug them!!"

We never hit the girls, either out of anger, frustration or discipline.

So it confuses me greatly that B is so violent.  Her response to everything is to smack it, regardless of whether she likes it or not.

Someone takes your toy?  HIT THEM!!
Someone offers you chips?  HIT THEM!!
Someone asks you what you want for dinner?  SMACK THE HECK OUT OF THEM!!!

Someone had a rough day beating up kids for their mashed peas money.

We put her in time-out and tell her not to hit several times each day.  Very little of her violence is malicious.  She usually commits these acts while smiling the sweetest smile, which means one of two things: Either she doesn't fully comprehend what she's doing and sees hitting as a way to interact with the world around her, or she's a psychopath and I should keep an eye out for her to twist the heads off of puppies.

I hope it's not the latter, but just in case, it's another reason that I'll use when asked why we can't have a dog.

That's why Dexter and Deb couldn't have one growing up.

"Hello, ASPCA? I'd like to adopt a dog!"

I'm not really concerned, just confused.  I don't know where she sees this behavior, other than maybe daycare.  The TV that they watch has nothing like this in it, aside from that one episode of Chloe's Closet where they became professional boxers, or the episode of Caillou where Caillou and Leo join the Bloods and get teardrop tattoos.

Other than spanking, I'm wondering what solutions parents have found to this.

Someone crossed my bridge without answering my riddle?  HIT THEM!!

January 13, 2013

My Daughters, Unoccupied

When I was playing the role of stay-at-home-dad during the summer, I had a semblance of a schedule.  It went as follows:

Feed the girls breakfast (quickly)
Get the girls dressed (quickly)
Throw them in the stroller (quickly)
Go for a walk through town
Get the girls a doughnut to share
Walk home
Watch Caillou (or something equally inane)
Play in the house
Play in the yard
Make dinner
Cry deeply about not getting to clean the house
Go the park

It was shocking to me how slowly the days go when you don't have a plan.  We certainly had days when we didn't go for walks or go to the park.  These were the days when the devil himself complained how hot it was.

They were also the days when it was raining, or looked like it might.

These days were not good.  I'm not really one for arts and crafts with small children.  I'm hoping that this coming summer, it will be different.  Perhaps by then, H won't feel like using sharpie to give herself eye shadow and B won't get such exquisite joy out of smashing pencils and markers point first into the table.

I hope by then that both girls will have forgotten the joyous taste of crayons.

H is already past this stage.  She has been doing very well with coloring and enjoys sitting at the table doing it.  For the most part, she only colors on paper and does so gently.

B finds greater pleasure is swiping her hand through a pile of crayons or markers or pencils and scattering them to the wind, creating chaos for the sake of chaos.  When people tell me that she's a gift from god, I know to which god they refer.

"Gaze upon this child and weep into the void!"
Over the holiday break, I once again took up the mantle of stay-at-home-dad.  I learned very quickly that the challenges of entertaining children during the winter vary greatly from, and in fact hardly resemble, the challenges of entertaining them during the summer.

I remember from my own childhood the hardships and annoyances of dressing in cold weather clothing.  Out of desperate fear of being icing over, we dress the children in a minimum of 14 layers, ensuring a maximum amount of sweat and a minimum amount of movement.  It takes 10 minutes to get them dressed and another 10 to get them undressed.  Total time spent outside before the calls of "I'm cold!"? 3 minutes.

I think my next goal in the house is to make a play room where there is nothing I care about.  A room where the girls can run rampant without my checking on them every three minutes, not out of concern for their safety, but out of concern for my material possessions.

This past week, in lieu of going outside, we had several discussions about what to do with monsters.  B also learned a new skill...

I suppose it's true that adversity fosters ingenuity

January 4, 2013

My Daughters, Preachers Of The Doctrine Of Half

The reason that scientists are able to determine the age of fossils is through the process of radiocarbon dating.  In this process, scientists estimate how much of the unstable isotope carbon 14 should be in a sample based on atmosphere and type of material and compare it with the amount that it actually contains.  Carbon 14 has a half life of approximately 5730 years, give or take 40.  This means that every 5730 years, half of the carbon 14 in a sample will have decayed away.

Parenting is a kind of half life.  Some of this is anticipated, such as the idea that once there are children in the house, the amount of sleep you are able to get decays to about half.  A previous solid 8 hours of sleep will decay to 4 in just the 9 short months between conception and birth.  I realize this is not the perfect analogy because in another 9 months, it will decay to 2 hours.  This is fairly accurate, but not exact.

Other half life aspects could be anticipated if one sat down to think about them.

At dinner, instead of finishing an entire warm meal, a parent will often only consume half of a warm meal, spending much of the time getting up to get napkins, find juice bottles, refill plate for children, return said children to the table, take crayons out of the hands of said children, getting tissues to wipe the noses of said children after said children have a particularly horrendous sneeze giving themselves a nose-based snotbeard that resembles something you would wear to a mucus-themed costume party if you were dressed as Jack Sparrow.
The beads at the bottom would be peas and corn.

By the time you return to the table to finish the second half of your meal, the warm butter has congealed and reminds you enough of your child's recent bout with facial "hair" that you decide not to eat it any more.

A parent is able to watch half of a television show.  What was the final clue that allowed Vince D'onofrio to catch the serial rapist and explain the plan in condescending, quiet disgust?  YOU'LL NEVER KNOW!  Your child needs help with putting diaper cream on her baby-doll.

A parent is able to make half of a recipe because half of the ingredients have gone bad sitting in a fake kitchen and half of the needed utensils are scattered throughout the house.  As much as I love a good scavenger hunt, I usually prefer the prize to be something better than a potato masher.

This meal was prepared entirely with a lighter and two forks!

A parent is able to complete half of the yard work before one of the tiny people in their charge decide they would like to play a game of "Will this fit in my mouth?" or "I can run faster than this car!"

What I never anticipated, what I never even considered, was that my half life would extend to the bathroom.

To clarify, I fully expected that there would be times when I would have to run out of the shower, shampoo still in my luxurious hair, water dripping down my chiseled abs, over my rock hard thighs to leave puddles on the floor as I chased a towel-thief naked through the house.  I haven't experienced those times yet, but I try to hit the gym regularly so that I might soon.

What I did not expect, however, was the feeling of being forced to stop mid-defecation because someone was either screaming in pain, or yelling that if I did not vacate the bathroom in the next 8 seconds, there was going to be a worse mess than I was prepared to clean.

Apparently, wanting to have a complete poop is too much to ask for.



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