Friday, September 25, 2015

Confessions of a Callous Father

And now, more evidence that I'm an insensitive, narcissistic, inconsiderate, Hun.

His mother would never be so cruel.
The blog earlier this week in which I detailed how my meager effort at self improvement was derailed by my mercurial, temperamental son, might just be the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back in favor of this argument.

You see, in an effort that happens about as frequently as the Winter Olympics, I tried to get in some exercise early in the morning before work and before my family woke up. The idea was to get up, get going and lay the groundwork for the day ahead.

This attempt was derailed when I arrived home after a run and my son, sans underwear but bearing plenty of furious anger was there to greet me. My plans for using this extra time went up in a blaze of tantrums and tears.

I chalked up the boy's behavior to simply acting out. He's three. His behavior isn't always going to be logical. Firmly in my mid-30s, I might be living proof that behavior in grown men is rarely logical.

Mrs. Blackwell told me — after I wrote the blog detailing my son's exploits — that when he arrived at school that day his teachers determined the boy was actually running a temperature.

Of course, her attention is about to be
a bit more divided. (She looks beautiful,
doesn't she?)
The boy had a fever, he felt terrible and there I was, of no help whatsoever. Unless of course you consider judging and making oneself the victim a "help."

The boy has strong verbal skills but, at this stage of life, it's not always about being able to articulate. I forget that fact — frequently.

Being able to communicate is not solely about having the words to convey what you need to say; it's also about having the experiences to draw from to help you know what you might be describing.

So, in this case, the boy felt terrible but, perhaps this is the first time he can remember having a fever. And the symptoms of a fever aren't exactly easy to describe for the sufferer. There's warmth of course.

But, there's also the general sense of discomfort, a queasy stomach, fatigue and, quite likely, a headache. So, if you're the boy and this is the first time to your memory that you're encountering this phenomena, what do you say?

"Pain,"?

"Discomfort,"?

"Dad, you idiot, feel my head; something isn't right,"?

Or perhaps you just do what he did, which is say "Hello," to your dad and then ask him to leave you the hell alone while you weather the storm.

It's not the boy's fault that his father is a solipsistic, mental dwarf.

Instead of investigating the source of the boy's anger and his crying, I got impatient and chalked it up to the easiest conclusion — he's three and he's acting out.

I believe this is what parents call a "teaching moment" and, true to form, it's me who's being taught.

Seriously. It's been 22 years since they made the playoffs.
Fantasia can wait. 
And, now that I've learned my lesson, the spoils go to my son who, because his father operates off guilt like dry tinder feeds a fire, is getting extra special treatment since my callous neglect scarred him for life.

"Oh, you want chocolate milk for breakfast? Well, sure, that makes perfect sense."

"You want to watch Fantasia? OK. The Blue Jays first march toward the post season in 22 years can wait, I suppose."

"You want to go to the park at the top of the steep hill, instead of the one right next to the house? Well, of course! Anything for my perfect little guy."

Yep, that's my big takeaway from this ordeal. Do everything your child asks you to do and they'll end up perfectly well-adjusted.

Or at least they'll be the kind of kid who doesn't wait for a fever before throwing a tantrum.

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