Monday, June 23, 2008

Parenting alone together.

Friday night we drove up North to visit my parents. T-Dad and I both left work about a half hour early, he picked up the kiddos from Daycare and I hurried home to get packing. We managed to eat a quick dinner of leftover grilled hot dogs and watermelon and were on the road by 6:30pm. Not bad. It was a (4 hr) good drive, the kids were well behaved, watched movies, played with toys etc. Then Saturday was filled with a trip to the Stride Rite store (Bug-size 12 and Mealyworm- size 9) and playing with GramH and PapaB. In the evening I surprised T-Dad with a secret Date Night. My folks babysat and we were on our own from 5pm - ? . It was great to have some couple time. We had dinner at Chili's, including an appetizer. I had gotten us tickets to see the Phantom Regiment's Show of Shows. It was my first time attending a Drum Corp International competition and it was awesome. T-Dad was totally impressed with my surprise. So the rest of the evening and then Sunday morning flew by and it was time to drive home...this is where the "What not to do as a Parent" lesson starts.
It was after lunch. I was tired. The kids were tired. T-Dad was driving. I gave the kids their respective "lovies" for nap time. We sang some favorite bedtime songs, we talked about the fun we'll have when we get home after our rest time. And I lay back and close my eyes. Not surprising, our good sleeper and 2 yr old, Mealyworm, actually falls asleep right on cue. But the Bug has different ideas. So eventually I turn on the DVD player and he watches Toy Story 2 while I continue to try to grab some desperately needed Zzzzzzzs. Then the T-Dad decides we should stop and get some gas. Great. Mealyworm wakes up and the Bug gets "rejuvenated". Let the chaos begin. Mealyworm is cranky because she only got about 45 min of sleep time compared to her usual 3 hours. Bug is jacked up on adreneline because he is actually exhausted but won't sleep, so he gets into his "17 yr old w/ an attitude problem" persona. Much crying, fighting over toys, yelling, whining, etc. ensues. And Bug has figured out my #1 pet peeve at the moment...he starts kicking my seat. His fancy dancy Britax car seat/ barchalounger is right behind mine...and he can put both feet flat on the back of the passenger seat and push...hard. or kick and watch the person's head bob...or kick repeatedly and watch mommy become irate. Good times. We pulled off the highway at one point and Bug got a swat on the behind,which had no effect. So I buckled him back into his lazy-boy car seat and threw his beloved spiderman action figure into the long grass prairie on the side of the road. (I know, really bad parenting move on my part.) Because of course the kicking of my seat and more screaming and crying continued. So I started the toy ultimatum..."every time you kick my seat I'm going to throw one of your toys away." So I go through the car toy box and eventually pull out all of Bug's toys....I find like 6 matchbox cars, 5 happy meal toys, a plastic helicopter, plastic binoculars, a beanie bear, etc. And an hour down the road with my seat being kicked the whole time...we stop at a rest stop and I throw them all into the trash (I really wanted to donate them, rather than trash them, but I thought I was making an important point at the time. Again, I know really bad parenting on my part.) HA! More kicking and screaming...blah, blah, blah. But the fresh air at the rest stop must have cleared my senses enough to help me snap out of my "Mommie Dearest" mind set. So back on the road, promises of an evening trip to the park and the playing of a Wiggles movie eventually settled the car down and we made it home. But through it all, you know what really ticked me off most...T-Dad. Where was he? Why didn't he "fix the situation"? Obviously, I was tired and not making great parenting choices. Why didn't he step in and solve the situation? In hindsight, I figured out what would have been better...move Bug's car seat to the far back seat in the mini-van. So he couldn't kick my seat anymore. Or recline my seat so that its an inch from his legs and I sit in the far back. Anything to essentially make the irritating behavior ineffective and then he would have stopped. But I was so wrapped up in the irritation to see these easy solutions...T-Dad could have. Why do I feel like I make all the parenting choices (whether they are good or bad) and he's just along for the ride? Aaargh.

8 comments:

Quigs78 said...

I have to say - I know you're probably still reeling from all of the drama, so I'm really sorry - but picturing you completely pissed and whipping Spidey into the field made me laugh. :)

But amen to the husband gripes. What annoys me the most is when I discipline (i.e. yell) at Bubba and the husband steps in to comfort the boy! Hel-lo! We're in the middle of something here. If you're not here to help ME, then go away!

Sigh. Dads are just built differently, I think.

Lavender Lemonade said...

I actually laughed at myself as I got back into the car. But quickly put my "mom is mad" face back on. I mean WTF, I was just trying to make the little twerp stop kicking my seat! I totally felt like I was 8 yrs old and some little kindergartener was kicking my seat on the school bus...except as an adult/parent, I could respond in whatever way I wanted...totally different than that poor little 8 yr old kid on the bus.

Looseyfur said...

Oh Lemonade, if you only knew how many times I made a decision and then ended up calling MacTroll that night telling him what a terrible job I had done.

I've had a slew of challenges lately. And on Saturday, when X-man wouldn't go to bed and I was shouting and manhandling the squirrelly tiger back into bed a million times... he came in and said, "I'll sit with him."

And good god, he did. Instead of falling asleep though, I sat in bed wondering why he had more patience than I did. How his back could take lying on the mat on the floor... and what was wrong with me.

Turns out, like T-Dad, he's not the one usually at the front lines. And for some reason upsetting mama means less because she's always redirecting, saying no, taking things away, issuing time outs.

I wonder if all couples, regardless of gender have this... where one person is primary and the other secondary...

lisa said...

I admit - I laughed at the image of you throwing Spidey into the field too. But was also a bit impressed that you actually went through with it. So many parents make endless empty threats. Kudos for actually following through.

Lavender Lemonade said...

Yeah, Looseyfur, I wonder too if this is just the law of nature, one person is lead and the other is backup. When you've been wrestling a wiggly tiger into a toddler bed umpteen thousand times is definately time to call for backup. Way to go, MacTroll. :)

Lavender Lemonade said...

Poor spidey lost in the weeds on Route 39.

Mommy Schiff said...

Well glad you hear you and T-dad got some alone time! It sounds like a good time.

Sorry to hear about the episode on the way home. I feel so immature with my kids sometimes too. They can bring me down to their level so easily and once I'm in funk sometimes it's really hard to dig myself out.

Looseyfur said...

You did an awesome job at Za's tonight! I just got your voice message (cellphone was in the back of the car in the stroller!). I'm so sorry I'm the worst cellphone user ever.