Strife

I think the reason why there’s no crying in baseball is because it all went to Disney World. Oh, the wailing, the pleading, the demanding, the gnashing of teeth! The kids probably cried a couple of times, too.

We’ve done plenty of car trips — the Wife’s grandmother lives in Indiana and we’ve done the drive both as a two-day trip and in one, big, all-day extravaganza of sitting — but getting to and from Florida was rough. I don’t know whether it’s because having a newborn means extra stops to nurse, or because the girls are close enough to touch each other, or if they were just feeling their age, or what. RU in particular had her normal bright, eager-to-please demeanor secretly replaced by Folger’s Assholes. Though it may have just seemed that way because MeToo could only directly pester her, not us. We managed not to kill any of them. Had we placed bets on that, I would’ve lost money.

For the last third or so of the drive back, RU was frequently a single action or comment away from being spanked, and had been so warned. That’s a big deal in our household, because our policy is that we don’t spank. Not that it hasn’t happened at all, or won’t ever happen again, but I can count the number of times RU has been spanked on one hand.

I’m not going to say that spanking never, ever has a place in a parent’s arsenal, but I do believe (and the Wife can probably produce documented evidence) that there are better, more effective methods of discipline. I absolutely believe it shouldn’t be done out of anger. Of course, when you’re angry, it’s harder to be patient, harder to think rationally.

I’ll freely admit that trying to discipline my children properly is possibly the most difficult part of parenting for me. I’m an easy-going person who tends to prefer the path of least resistance. I might threaten my kid with pulling the car over, or not letting her go sleep over at grandma’s, or taking her out of the restaurant and sitting in the car with her so everyone else can eat in peace… but I don’t really want to have to do any of those things. They probably inconvenience me more than her. But you can’t lay down a consequence and not follow through with it.

On the other hand, there are times when it’s best to relent and take a step back. You have to remember that she’s only 3 years old; she’s likely only acting up because she’s bored or tired or hungry or feeling ignored. It might be more productive to get everyone out of their bad mood.

Man, being a parent is hard. 

And full of hypocrisy!

One of the reasons I don’t spank my children is that the thing that would make me jump to that the quickest is when they hurt each other on purpose, but telling RU that in this family we are kind to one another while I’m swatting her backside sends a real mixed message.

But I still raise my voice when I tell her to be quiet.

It really pushes my buttons when she ignores when her mother or I tell her to do something or stop something, but I am constantly telling her, “hang on just a minute” when she wants my attention.

Luckily, she isn’t fully downloaded yet so she cannot yet recite these crimes back to me.  Hopefully, by the time she is that aware we will have moved from these types of socially unacceptable behaviors onto more mundane things like eye-rolling and elbows on the table.  I guess I’ll know if the kindness thing worked if at 16 she isn’t pulverizing her siblings.

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