There are times, as a MOM, when my head threatens to explode. I imagine great forces of steam and flames, emanating from my ears, will burn away all that remains of the aftermath.
It may not be pretty but at least it's efficient.
Now my experience may differ, but DADS, I've noticed, don't seem to have the same theatrical prowess. They are missing that certain je ne sais quoi ...
Case in point: As I'm trying to find my keys, recall the 15 things I will be forgetting (two of which I will return for; the remainder to haunt me all day) and pack up the car without neglecting to secure Ittybit into the carseat, all I want to do is give her the bag of M & Ms she’s been howling for these past 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, he tells her he's taking her to the car, and all crying and shenanigans stop. She wraps her arms around his neck and all is well with the world again.
Given all this suffering, all this juggling and tri-part negotiations, I'm at a loss. With hardly a word, my husband — THE DAD — has been getting the lion’s share of our little moppet’s attentions lately.
It used to be that if he could keep her from hanging from my left leg as I dragged my now numb, useless appendage from room to room, I was happy. I didn't care if he was teaching her to play with matches so long as I could fold clothes and get a shower.
But it turns out his trick is much more conservative.
HE JUST SAYS NO.
I swear it's as if I'm living in a reproduction of the Regan Whitehouse.
When she tells him she doesn't want to take a bath, he tells her it’s not an option.
When she tells him she doesn't want to go to bed, he tells her she can go to bed with or without reading four books.
I must admit, he gets results. While he's guiding her through the process of put her own shoes on, I'm tripping over the dogs and chasing her around the house trying to wrestle her to the ground and keep her feet still long enough to wiggle them into boots with silly faces staring back at me.
"But oh how smoothly things run when you are away," I think to myself, willing there to be a mute button for the morning mayhem; willing Kraft dinner to be placed on the government's list of best foods for a well-rounded nutrition; and dreaming that one day the surgeon general will come out and say kids who are bribed with candy are six times more likely to win the Nobel Prize in mathematics.
I mean, how do you think I get her into the car most mornings? The intrinsic happiness that comes from knowing her mother is pleased with her behavior? The realization that SHE is the child and I am the adult, and what the adult says goes?
Oh ye, silly believer of fairy tale endings.
I get her into the car with chocolate. Copious amounts of chocolate.
Oh sure we may get the same results, he and I. We both wind up with a clean child, who's well rested and strapped into the car ready to begin her day. But it's the attitude I dislike.
I hate the smugness: So what if HE can manage to get her hair washed and combed and into her pajamas before the Late, Late, Late Show ever starts? So what if he MAKES her put her shoes and socks on by herself on the mornings HE dresses her? At least when I help her dress her shoes are ON the correct feet, I grumble to myself.
Seriously, how many kids go to their college lecture halls wearing their pajamas inside out or slippers on the wrong feet because they didn't learn to dress themselves when they were tots?
Never mind, don't answer that.
Oh ... the hypocrisy.