Monthly Archives: January 2013

My Kids Dont Want to Stay with Me

I came home from work one night and sat down to dinner with the family.  Usual chaos, flying food, giggles, and squeals.

My wife promptly informed me that she would like to run to the store and do some shopping before the stores close.  I have no problem with this, I have the troops on a regimented bedtime routine and should be able to clean the monsters up and march them straight to bed with maybe a little prebedtime rasslin match.  No problem.

So she stands, rapidly grabs her purse and bolts for the door.  At which point my 7yr old proclaims, “your leaving us with HIM??!! Really?!”

I wasn’t sure how to take this.

The more I thought about it, the more it was clear.  It is a typical good cop, bad cop scenario in our house.  Most nights, I start calling for them to get ready for bed and they typically scurry in the general direction of mom.  I say general, because kids have no concept of straight lines unless cookies are involved.  Mom, of course cuddles and coos with them, the kids stall, I push further to start getting ready for bed and they scatter again.  However, I tend to find them again  back at mom.  Mom, of course tells them to get ready for bed, but somehow lacks the real “umph” of commitment and she cant resist the many child stall tactics of, “im thirsty”, “read us another story”, “can we cuddle”, and “I gotta cocka!”

I on the other hand tend to be the enforcer, ultimately I drag them to bed against repeated objections giving them the, “life’s not fair” speech.

It was clear, without momma around the kids would have much fewer viable stall tactics.

Maybe, I’m a little to harsh.  So I decided to use this opportunity to “soften” my image.

I gave into several of their stall tactics and even spent extra time doing one of their favorite nighttime activities, rasslin.  I sang them a song and then put them to bed.  It was a good night and we were all feeling close and loving.

As I turned out the light, the same 7yr old who had exclaimed worry about being left with me, quietly asked, “daddy, when is mommy coming home?  I want to cuddle.”

“Son, I can cuddle with you.”

“But Daddy your hard and spiky.”  He then laughed and said he was kidding…. but deep down, I don’t think he was.

No matter how “soft” i ever try to be.  I will never be mommy.

Thank goodness I don’t have to be.

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Mommy, You Said That Five “Soons” Ago! How Many More “Soons?”

My 4yr olds response when Mommy answered his “When are we leaving” question for the tenth time.

Now, he just cuts straight to the chase and asks, “How many Soons until we leave?”

The anticipations and sense of time of a child is an amazing thing.  My dad once taught me that children were the best negotiators.  They have what it takes.  Will and TIME.  These fluttering minds bouncing from thought to thought and subject to subject often seem chaotic and with no attention span, but don’t be fooled.  Once locked in, the child’s mind has deadly laser focus and devastating power of deployment.  Once they set their mind to the negotiation, they have nothing but time on their side and constant will.  You can say “no” ten thousand times yet a child only sees an opportunity to restate or re-purpose their request once again.

Here is where parent’s steely resolve is tested.  Remember, if you say no 10,000 times and cave to the child’s request on the 10,001st time.  You have only taught them that they have to ask 10,001 times, and that certainly is no problem for them.

Ultimately we parents will lose to these negotiation masters, but hopefully will hold fast when it comes to the critical battles that teach our children character and truth about our world.  Allowing them enough success for good self esteem without allowing them to run a foul without any sense of boundary or rule.

I personally want my children to push boundaries and bend the rules, but they have to firmly know the boundaries and rules as well as the consequences before this can be successfully done.

Now… I have to stop this post.  The 7yr old has asked to use the computer 20 times since I started typing and I cant hold out any further.