Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Here it Goes Again

Blah... I hate it when Jon leaves. It's just a little pre-deployment workup and he's only gone for a couple weeks, but when I drop him off again and watch him say goodbye to our son, who holds his hands up in his car seat and says, "Up!", it just train wrecks my composure. It doesn't help that all the way back in the car, Nate incessantly asks for his Daddy. Knife twist.

So I had corn dogs for lunch and a guilt-induced salad for dinner. With banana pudding. Because, you know, I had a salad. So it's okay.

All those, "He's gone, he's gone and he's never coming back" feelings resurface. Depression rings my doorbell and asks to come inside. He wants banana pudding, too. He likes helping me eat dessert. We're kind of buddies that way. Except he never gets fat. So we can't be friends. I consider letting him in, but make him wait at the door. I share banana pudding with him anyway before I tell him to go away. He's ugly and stupid and I'm not being friends with him this time. Besides, I ate all the pudding.

I hate deployments. I hate the need for composure that goes hand in hand with the need to not stuff my feelings, because then I'll explode. Because I will. It's not pretty. It's uglier than depression-induced banana pudding binges. Well... almost. But I never balance at a happy medium between the two. I either break down and pout or I straighten my back and go on with life in a "Screw you, Navy! You don't ruin MY life" kind of emotionless coma. It's all a bit ridiculous. It leaves me exhausted and I crawl onto the couch at night and, entirely humbled by my inability to act like what I think grown-ups are supposed to act like, I ask God, again, to show me, again, how the Gospel is still saving me. From my self pity, from my fear and from my childish heart. And then there is peace.

Peace and also cocoa puffs, because I finished the banana pudding.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Buckwheat and Haystack

When Nate was little, Jon called him Buckwheat, which I think is adorable. When he got older and more... active... we started calling him other things. Like "The Terrorist". Anyway. Henry's nickname is Haystack, because he looks like one and he's lazy and I always thought that "Buckwheat and Haystack" would be a great name and idea for a children's book. This is an example of the sort of material we have accrued for one such book.

This happened this very afternoon. Buckwheat decided after a round of "chase the dog with the clatter toy" that he wanted to hug him. Haystack didn't put up with it for long, but the joy in Buckwheat's grin as he hugged the dog was enough to start this conversation after Haystack ran away.

"Henry, why don't you just let him hug you? He loves you. You should be nice to him."
*Buckwheat chucks a full water bottle at Haystack*
The dog looks at me with those eyebrows of his... See? My point exactly. No hugging... ever!

Minutes later, Haystack, in desperation, grabs his de-stuffed toy and brings it to Buckwheat, which he does when he wants to play tug of war, one of two approved activities for said child, according to the dog (the first being cracker sharing). Buckwheat wants to play dodge ball instead and heaves one at Haystack, successfully slamming it into his poor doggie butt. Eyebrows aim themselves at me and I give up.

Sometimes Haystack looks at me and his eyebrows talk. They usually say, "Nobody fed me today... or... ever... can I have your food?" But on occasions like this, they say, "Remember a couple years ago when I was the only child and life was quiet and simple? Yeah. That was nice... jerks."

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Self Sufficient

It isn't exactly easy to figure out discipline. I want a happy, well-behaved child and, to this end, I have disciplined with different techniques. I have tried things. Things that don't work. I have tried things that kind of work. The thing that works very best is nap time. When my son is asleep, he never disobeys me.

Spanking is not very popular nowadays and I'm not here to defend it as an institution. If you can get your kid to listen by being very stern and looking deeply into his eyes while repeating commands, then great. When I do that, my kid laughs at me. Intensity does not equal intimidation with toddlers. If your child understands the concept of 'time out' and will sit in a chair and feel admonished, great. Mine has no problem staying in a chair. In fact, wouldn't it be so fun to stand on the chair? And lean waaaay off the back and grin at Mom? And hang upsidedown from it? Yes. If those things work for you, fabulous. Kudos. Congratulations. Maybe one day, I can have a child like yours and judge people like me who spank their kids. We'll talk then.

In the meantime, if spanking is the only thing that persuades my child not to run into the street, then I will spank. It's better than running interference with a car.

The point is this: My son has found a way out of every other form of discipline I've attempted and he just found a way out of the last one. He self-spanks now.

We were having a coming-to-Jesus moment over whether or not Nate should be allowed to pull books off the shelf and chuck them onto the floor. I was on the, "Stop doing that" side and Nate was on the, "Make me, Woman!" side. He wasn't obeying, so after a couple commands, I said, "If you touch it again, I will come over there and spank you." Naturally he touched it again, but before I could fulfill my threat, he turned to me and spanked himself.

I paused. Perhaps it was a coincidence. Nope. When he touched the book again and I smacked his little butt, he repeated the action with wide eyes and eyebrows raised. His little hand spanked his fat thigh.

Now what? I don't have to spank him anymore, I guess. I suppose it'll go like this:

"Nate don't do that"
Nate does it
"Nathan Scott, spank yourself."
He does
"Now don't you feel bad that you disobeyed?"

Self-spanking is the new thing. Easiest discipline I've ever administered. Now I totally judge people who put their kids in time out. Losers.