Being Dad

Being a father is fraught with danger…

Have You Met Madam Guillotine? February 4, 2013

Here’s a problem if I ever saw one.

I came home the other day, only to discover poor Missy just recovering from an extended bout of crying. So naturally, I was interested in the circumstances of this trying event.

Was Missy in trouble for not eating lunch? Did she stub her toe? Was there a monster under her bed?  No. My wife took me aside. In a quiet calm voice, she explained there had been an accident.

An accident?!

Had Missy swallowed drain cleaner? Did she fall and bash her head? What? What was this accident??

A dismemberment, that’s what.

Missy has a baby. Well, not a real baby, which would be weird…right? She has a toy baby that can come with her into the bath. This ‘baby’ comes complete with a vagina. Actually it’s more like a hole, simply drilled in where the ladies bits are supposed to be. I suppose an anatomically accurate doll for a 3-year-old would definitely be weird. But the hole means baby can pee and drain at the same time.

The problem is the hole isn’t large enough to easily drain the water out. Maybe, if the baby had an anatomically correct….  Nope, still weird.  We did discover, however, the water does drain much better if bath baby is upside down and water can escape through the gap where the head is attached to the body.

This particular day, my wife had tried to speed up the draining process so Missy could get ‘baby’ ready for bed. Being a thinker, she thought she could expedite the process a little: “Just need to ease this joint open a little…”

Next thing you know, my wife is in the glaring spotlight – head in one hand, body in the other. Cute little water baby had been beheaded.

It’s hard to come back from that.

In a way, it was just as well my wife was the Executioner as I am not so sure I would have, or could have, handled the situation without doing permanent physical damage to baby and permanent psychological damage to Missy. Thankfully my wife is the brains of our operation, and baby’s head was reattached in a gentle, timely fashion, without any need for a hammer and plyers.

But despite a quick, no-fuss reattachment, poor Missy had still seen her baby’s head torn off. That’s certainly cause for tears.

 

Emotional Rollercoaster May 29, 2012

Filed under: Dad Blog,Parenting — Tim @ 10:48 am
Tags: , , ,

Children throw everything into their emotions.

When Missy is angry, her entire being is angry.  There is no reason, nor adequate explanation, as to why she can’t play with the carving knife. It’s unfair, and it will not be put aside without a fight.

But then there’s the flip side. One minute screaming and inconsolable at not having access to a blade that could reasonably take off a limb, the next minute, Missy will be a giggling bundle of joy, wearing the colander as a hat and her entire being now happy.

Missy, like most children, doesn’t hold grudges, and that’s just as well, as I have a nasty habit of (unintentionally) causing bumps and scrapes to my daughter. But no matter how unpleasant the cut, lump or bruise, Missy always forgives me. Soon enough I am back in the good books, and she is merrily trying to put her toys into my belly button.

As a new parent, it took me a while to work out that Missy could suddenly change emotions. Bed time crying would have my wife or I sitting on the floor next to her cot holding her hand, thinking this would go on all night, but at some indeterminate moment, all would go quiet and she would drift into sleepy happiness.

I am especially fascinated by tantrums. At first, I would get all worked up that my daughter was being unreasonable and not thinking clearly. You just can’t eat paint, and no amount of thrashing around on the floor would make me let her. Why couldn’t she understand? So onto the floor she goes, wailing about at the injustice of it. As time moved on, I got more comfortable with things like that (tantrums, not eating paint). I also use to worry about what people would think if we were out and she started to cry, and so obsessively carried around a pacifier.

Now when the tantrum starts I clear an area, making sure any flailing will not result in the loss of an eye or appendage, and calmly watch. Come to think of it, I could sell tickets to this show; she puts on quite a performance. It’s the same for crying. All babies cry, and I’m not a bad parent for letting my daughter cry in public because I won’t let her walk on the road.  Crying because I jammed her finger in a draw is unsatisfactory parenting…but let’s just pretend that never happened. Anyway, it’s usually all over in a few minutes.

I like the fact that her emotions are raw and untarnished by convention. Imagine going to work and telling your boss exactly what you thought of him or her, then half hour later, heading out for a latte together like old friends. With Missy, I know exactly how she feels because she lets me know.

The problem is, convincing her not to tell mum that I let her play with the cheese grater. Best I go and get the colander on.

 

 
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