When the thought of having kids starts becoming more than just ‘Oh, someday…’ talk in your life, you immediately start to more carefully scrutinize your partner for traits that are conducive to raising those kids—it’s instinct, and it’s not inherent only to women.
But you never really know how that person (let alone yourself) will actually act once that little bundle pops his head out into the big, bright world, do you?
Now that my wife and I have a bona fide year’s worth of parental experience under our belts, I’d like to take a few minutes to reflect not on knowledge gained (minimal) or lessons learned (not applicable), but on some given scenarios that reflect our individual approaches to the thrill ride that is parenthood:
1. In your face:
When my wife picks Bub up, he admires her beauty, caresses her lips with his hands, and playfully tries to remove her glasses. When I pick him up, he slaps me in the face. Repeatedly. This is apparently “funny” in his world, so I let him have at it for a while, until he landed a stiff one right on my eyeball. When he realized I was in complete agony, he started picking my nose. Perhaps the timing was a coincidence. Perhaps I should start wearing glasses.
2. Shenanigan quotient:
Most of Bub’s tomfoolery these days takes place in the friendly confines of his high chair. At least it’s contained. We’ve pretty much put an end to the flip-my-plate-over-to-demonstrate-by-brawn routine. But he’s moved on to bigger and better mischief, like emphatically death-gripping his food, subsequently tossing remnants on the floor. Or just spitting it in our faces (or close to them, anyway). Mommy has taken a hard line with this—he gets a warning, if he does it again, meal time is finished. I, on the other hand, don’t seem to mind being gently rained upon by sweet potatoes, lightly drizzled with oatmeal. Fact: It’s hard to enforce with any conviction when you can’t stop giggling. Especially with sweet potato on your collar.
3. Sleep training:
My wife and I are both incredibly stubborn. We occasionally have Stubborn-Offs on slow weeknights, which are like staring contests, only less physical. I usually win, but only because she goes to bed early (forfeit). So I thought I could hang. But every time Bub has gotten flustered at night, started crying, I have been the one to go addle him with bleary comfort, while my wife held steadfastly to her “Let him cry it out” mantra. She was right of course; if anything, I only delayed his progress. Well played, Mommy. Bub, you owe me app. 27.5 hours of sleep.
My wife and I both like using the discovery method with Bub and let him experiment to his liking, within reason. We just have different approaches. She likes to do “educational” things with Bub. She reads him lots of books, sings songs to him and teaches him sign language and counting and the alphabet. Me, on the other hand, I like to try and help him find new combinations to take the title of ‘Loudest Noise Possible By Banging Repeatedly Together.’ The current holder is Mr. Wood Block paired with Aluminum Lid. It’s much preferred to Mr. Tiny Bubfist and Daddy’s Orbital Bone.
Ah, the yin and the yang. Pluses and minuses, weaknesses and strengths. Somehow it all balances out into a healthy, happy one year-old, so no one’s complaining, except maybe Bub. But we can’t understand him anyway, so we’ll just say we’re one small, happy family.