Sunday, July 28, 2013

I'm Turning Into My Dad: Volume #1,000,000

I've spoken here at length about how I'm turning into my dad. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I keep accidentally saying more things that sound exactly like him and it still surprises me.

My son currently has a thing with water: he won’t drink it, but he loves to pour it on the floor. I always say things like, “Drink your water. You don’t want to get dehydrated and get sick,” which is a fantastic waste of breath because everyone knows you can’t reason with a two-year-old. Then he gets a look in his eye that we have learned to recognize as the “I’m-going-to-pour-this-water-straight-onto-the-floor-the-instant-you-look-away” look.

So of course I say something stupid like, “Don’t pour your water on the floor,” and of course he does it two seconds later and I put him in timeout. We do this several times a day. “Don't pour water,” pour water, timeout, repeat. It’s like a time warp nightmare where every day is the same and I have to repeat it until I change my ways or whatever. As a side note: People say Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. However, I find that this also describes much of what I do as a parent day-to-day. Does that mean parenting is, by nature, insane? And if you want to be a parent, you are insane? I digress.

One day in particular began like any other: I told him not to pour his water out. He looked right at me and then poured out every loathsome drop on the kitchen floor. Before I could stop it, I heard myself yelling, “What did I just say? What did I JUST SAY?” Classic dad.

What I’ve realized over time is this: The kid obviously heard me. I know because: A. He’s had all his checkups and his hearing is fine, and B. He was looking me right in the face as he did it. It’s not a matter of him hearing me. It’s a matter of him not giving a crap. Asking him if he heard me is about as pointless as trying to extinguish the sun with, well, a cup of water.

He then proceeded to immediately slip in the giant puddle he had made, fall face first onto the floor. Then he had the nerve - the audacity - to lie there in the puddle of his own making and cry and look at me as if this whole thing was my fault.

I wanted to say, “This wouldn’t have happened if you had just listened to me and drank the stupid water like I told you!”

But what would be the point?