Adventures in parenting

Puzzle-pieceWe’ve all seen the warnings: Do Not Leave Child Unattended.  Under most circumstances these are words that should be heeded with the utmost care, e.g. in a pool, in the bathtub, with power tools, putting hand in tiger cage, etc.  However, nothing is ever said, really, about while you’re at home doing innocuous chores and your child seems to be playing on their own.  Because, honestly, how much trouble could a two-year old get into?  Seriously?!  Those words should probably precede the original warning.

In all fairness, my child didn’t hurt herself, or anyone else (human or feline) in the house, during this evening’s events.  And, truth be known, she probably thought she was helping.  And but also, it was my own damn fault.  You see…earlier today, my wife and my child both lay down to take a nap, which in hindsight was probably a good idea.  Unfortunately, I chose those moments to go for a run (which I desperately needed) and to mow the front lawn (which IT desperately needed).  So, this evening as my wife was sorting clothes for an impending yard sale, I sat down in a chair and relaxed while IvyCat played quietly less than 10 feet away.  There was the usual babbling and discussing of various topical news events betwixt the three of us.  Phones rang, plastic dishes were clattered, the evening was progressing swimmingly.

After a brief time, I decided to check on IvyCat who had long since ousted me from her play area, most likely because…well, who knows why 2-year-olds decide anything.  In her desire, I assume, to be as helpful as possible, she had cleaned up all her puzzles by emptying every single piece, of every single puzzle into a small square tote.  We’re talking a good 20 puzzles here and every piece was now in a small pile.  Naturally, she did not really want to assist in putting things back together, so my wife and I spent the better part of 10 minutes putting various animals and train parts and Cookie Monster pieces back together again.  Fortunately, we’ve seen these puzzles a thousand times, so it was fairly quick work.

Something that’s not so quick work, though, and weighs much more heavily on my mind is twofold.  Part A is the insufferableness of whining which has grown to a fever pitch and the inability to share with others.  Part B is my apoplectic reaction to Part A.  As I’ve mentioned before I have a temper which rears its 3 ugly heads at the most inopportune moments, usually as an irrational reaction to the smallest of events.  For example, earlier today, at a party, IvyCat decided that the toys she was playing with (which she did not own) were not to be shared and her whining reached that nuclear meltdown stage that is immediately apparent to parents.  As this was about the 4th time in the last 20 minutes that this had happened, I hiss/growled “IVY” as only a parent can do.  Instantly, I felt my face grow cold as the blood drained from it realizing that my rage had gotten the best of me.  I also felt (supposedly) the eyes of my wife, other parents, even other guests, which only served to humble me even more as I knelt down to attempt my best Ward Cleaver before my daughter went off the rails.

I’ll admit I don’t know how to control either Part A or Part B.  They happen and I deal with them the best way I know how.  I realize, in hindsight, that in addition to needing that earlier nap I didn’t take, it has been a long weekend.  But, I worry that this is rationalizing something that shouldn’t be rationalized.  I also realize that the event, as I’ve described it, may not have been as bad as it was in my own head, but does that make it okay?  I don’t believe it does.

I’m probably beating myself up and maybe I should just close this laptop and call it a weekend, getting the much needed rest before the week starts.  I’d be grateful for comments, good or bad, constructive or humiliating.

See you in the funny papers!

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