Friday, December 14, 2007

The Sins of This Father

After that last post I kind of worry I talked myself up too much as a parent :-). I think I’ll take a bit of Mr. Fob’s example and give a couple parental confessions a shot.

1. More than once but not more than five times I’ve answered “Because I told you to.” In response to “Why?” I promised myself I’d never use such a non-answer with our boys, and it used to grate on me when I heard other parents use it… but, beyond the tenth level of why’s after I ask them to do something, promises to self get broken. It will never happen again, I promise.

2. Twice I’ve brushed one of my son’s teeth with the other’s toothbrush. Yes, my heart sunk too when I realized it. Of course, I’ve no good defense for this one. There are simply those occasional nights when bed time can be what one might imagine it’d be like to go into the jungle, chase down and restrain a wild chimp, cajole it into Sponge Bob pajamas, and hope for it to calm down while you read it a story. Add to that the dim light of bedtime and I hope, boys, if you’re reading this in horror as an adult, you’ll give a modicum of forgiveness to your pop.

3. I ate some, only some of their candy after they went to bed last Halloween, and never got caught.

4. I taught them what the speed limit is and how to read the digital speedometer on our car. This may not sound bad; I know I didn’t anticipate any problems. Now, though, every time I go even a mile per hour over what’s posted, I make them think their father is turning to a life of crime. How to explain “But everybody does it, everybody goes about 5 over!” to your kids? You think about the teen years and you don’t. That’s how. Now I’m stuck by fear of guilt at exactly the speed limit, as I probably should be; parents be warned.

5. There have been times I’ve hurt my children by assuming they understood something on my level when I should have known they only heard it on their level. For example, our boys did pre-school three days a week, half-day. Kindergarten, though, is all day, and that’s how I phrased it, “all day.” First day of kindergarten, I found Brian crying, and he wouldn’t tell me why. After some talking he let out that he was sad because, in his mind, he’d not be home until bed time. When he understood that “all day” just meant he’d be at school for lunch and two more hours, he was fine, but my heart broke to think he imagined that’s what we wanted or were asking.

6. In one of our home videos I reversed the frames so that it looks like they’re sliding up a slide. When last at that same playground, Brian was trying to remember how he did that, slide up a slide. I thought it was so cute that I didn’t relieve him of his confusion. My excuse was that I want him to figure such out for himself, but to see him experiment at the bottom of that slide… well, I admit I was more motivated by the cuteness than imparting any lesson about magic or physics, contrary to my parenting policy on such. .

7. I have accused one son for something the other did. Okay, yes, sometime’s I’m not a great detective when I find a crime scene in the home, and face two suspects refusing to fess up. I have been fooled by circumstantial evidence. I feel horrible to have put one kid in the position of defending himself from false accusations, not to mention letting the other feel they can get off scot-free that way. Once, they even got heat for a mess I made; I did, though, confess. I’m grateful they seem to have begun to take responsibility more readily, but I am very sorry for those couple instances.

I’m sure there are others ways in which I’ve fallen short. I hate to think on some of the more serious of those above (though, sure, I don’t have much penitence for, say, eating their candy). Every parent is probably bothered that they’re not the perfect parent. Nevertheless, no one is, and I’d hate to have a parent who thought they were.

Simply, in defending my family’s right to be and have equal treatment, I hope to never give the impression that I think we do everything right as parents. Like most any parents, we may do an overall good job for our children, but we fail at times too, and still have much to learn with each new phase of their lives. I wish we could do so without the added scrutiny, without feeling like we have to be twice as good as average to be considered equal, but it is what it is.


Mr. Fob said...

I just want you to know that I have never done #4, so I am a better parent than you.

Paul said...

I've always highly respected your family values and parenting. That's one of the things that brought me to Cog in the first place.

For me, I have a tendency to call my twin daughters by the wrong names. While they're easy to tell apart, my brain often just doesn't seem to tell the mouth the right thing to say. It drives them up the wall. They'll just stand there and look at me like I'm clueless.

That's a lot worse than confusing toothbrushes.

playasinmar said...

Cross-pollinated toothbrushes? Ewww

Edgy said...

I, for one, have never understood the issue with sharing toothbrushes. Well, unless, of course, we're talking about sharing it with toilet bowl cleaning.

I also see nothing wrong with punishing one child for the crimes of the other if nobody is willing to fess up. Of course, the kids have a tendency to get a bit upset with me because I believe in group punishment. (One child leaves a candy wrapper someplace other than the garbage can and no children get candy.) The children thought they had found a loophole around said punishment by resorting to tattling, but that has been treated with the Tattlers Get Punished for Tattling bit as well.

Scot said...

Mr. Fob wrote, and rudely “I just want you to know that I have never done #4, so I am a better parent than you.

Well, curse you Mr. Fob, and your skilled parenting too! May your children eventually realize the truth about the speed limit.

Paul; thank you for the kind words. I’ve often wondered how you found this blog (after I realized your no MoHo :-)). I'm glad you did and glad for your input.

For me, I have a tendency to call my twin daughters by the wrong names.

Drats, there’s another one for me then. Our kid’s names (in the real world) begin with the same letter, and I know I’ve called them by their brother’s name before.

Aside, I am surprised there’s any disagreement on how horrible it is to use another’s toothbrush. It’s the number one way by which cooties are contracted, just above the stray hair in your dinner. I’d rather be mistakenly called by even my sister’s name than use a sibling’s toothbrush :-).

Edgy, you run a tight ship… I should maybe confess to being too permissive at times as well :-).

Anonymous said...

i don't know the mechanics--how i did it--it just seems that my kids have all my bad traits and none of my good ones. to which they reply, gee, thanks dad for thinking so highly of us.

Scot said...

Lol. How bad can your bad traits be though, santorio? Seems you’ve done pretty well for yourself.

Paul said...

How did I find you?

The best I can trace it: Blame it on Chris. Or rather, thanks to Chris. His previous blog, Hurricane, was linked to Sh-out, who was linked to Flip and Troll, who -- along with Nate and Frank -- were linked to Perfekt Dad (who's not longer around), who was linked to Chris (at Coming Out at 48), who was linked to Guy Dads. I think I found Guy Dads through Google.

Other than Sh-out, these men are all fathers (Sh-out is a mother married to gay father). So there is a theme here.

Not one of being gay necessarily, but one of fathers that care a lot about their families, and have a very strong loyalty to their kids.

I've often wondered how you've nurtured most of your audience, because you're not a MoHo either, nor are you wrestling with SSA.

You're living life.

Scot said...

Thanks be to Chris then. I’m honored to be considered in that group.

I've often wondered how you've nurtured most of your audience, because you're not a MoHo either, nor are you wrestling with SSA.

Hey, why I’m here with MoHos is probably something I could write enough about to make it into a post. Give me a week or two :-).