Thursday, December 22, 2011

Why am I doing this ...?

A few years ago, when I had only one son, I briefly wrote a parenting column that some people liked. Of course, no one liked it more than me. That's not ego talking, that's just how I felt about it. I loved being a dad, and I loved laughing at the comedy as a 2-year-old controlled my life.

Well, now I've got three of those creatures controlling my house, and the comedy - and agony - are magnified. I want to write again. I've got the time. And I've got plenty of material. Thus is born, 'Dad Times Three.'

I was inspired to do this after taking my youngest son, 2 1/2-year-old Colin, to a weekly playground session yesterday. It was my first time taking him; normally my wife brings him.

After dropping him off to play with the other kids, the parents gather in a separate room for a group session on parenting. By "parents," I mean moms ... 14 moms, and me. I stayed mostly quiet and let the facilitator and the moms talk - including a few jabs at husbands and dads, which I chose not to respond to - but I left the session mentally exhausted. Why? Because parenting is a freakin' crazy job!!!

We spent more than an hour discussing the sensory trigger points, both positive and negative, for adults and children. Do they suck on the buttons of their shirt? Do they pick their noses? Do they struggle to sit still? Do they fidget with their hair? Do they like to put cold things on their face? Do they run and bang into walls ... and on and on and on. The lesson is to recognize your child's sensory triggers, be responsive to them and help navigate them.

I thought, 'Are you kidding me?' I don't have time to recognize their triggers; I'm too busy yelling at them to stop doing all those damn, annoying things ... Which is right about the time I realized (for the 10,000th time) how difficult this job is. Because you can never stop it. To do it well, you have to do it all the time. Every day. Every minute they're awake. And a few extra minutes when they're asleep.

It's exhausting. It's humbling. And I hope to get better at it. Times three.

In every post, I will welcome comments, feedback, jeers or advice. Feel free to mock me. Feel free to tell your own stories. Talk to you soon.



  1. I wondered if you felt like a secondary parent at the playgorund with the dad jabs. I hate dad jabs, because men often, or in many cases, are not considered primary parents even when they are, and can be cometimes penalized for


  2. Thanks, Vicky, but I can handle a few jabs. I've been known to dish them out, so it's only fair.

  3. Yes, your good at jabs, and pointed ones. :)

    But remember, our average person who doesn't regularly deal in an arena of conflict and therefore be jab savvy, might be inclined to take offense if it were implied he was a secondary parent based solely on his gender.

    As a jab savvy woman (they roll off like a Brazilian sweat) I still hate those same age old remarks and I admit freely that it pains me that stereotype still *does hold a dogmatic unrelenting grip on our perception of our talents and skills, not as *parents, but as Moms and Dads, specifically.

    I hear mom specific jabs all the time...:)

    Example 1:..A female parent who may firmly voice a concern is labeled as a hyper vigilant whiner.

    A man who may whine while he expresses those same views and emotions, may be interpreted as a hero. He is the voice of reason.

    Example 2: Dad is at the bus stop 4 days in a row. Mom is there on Day 5 and hears a 4 day litany of Jr. being bullied on the bus.

    It works against us as parents both ways.

    Here is the hypocritical statement.

    "You need a man in the house."

    I agree, I am running out of Duct Tape