Monday, February 22, 2021

Practice Parenting on the Oldest Child

I posted the next three paragraphs on Facebook the other day. I have had a few nights since to think of more dumb things I have done to that poor innocent child. 

Button, button, who's got the button

Why is it that when you are desperately trying to go to sleep, your brain remembers all the stupid things you have said and done. Of course, like Charlie Brown, in my case it takes more than one night.

When Bronwyn was a toddler, we were visiting her Grandma L and she found a small button. Her mother said "Don't put that in your mouth". I said so her mother wouldn't hear, "No, stick it up your nose".

Apparently small children have no sense of sarcasm. The upside was I learned in ER how to immobilize a child sitting on your lap.


Bronwyn loved the Jolly Jumper we had firmly anchored in the ceiling. She had a three foot circle of pounded barf in the shag rug. One day she stood on a needle and it broke in her foot. We hauled her the 100 km from Cumberland House to the doctor in Nipawin. We should have gone to the vet. He gave her 10 mg Valium instead of 5 mg (child dose) to put her out while he removed the broken needle.

The doctor warned us to be careful when she was waking up as she would react to sounds in strange ways. So I quietly went Aroo, arroo in her ear. Sure enough when she woke up she howled like a dog for several minutes. Cool. Her mother who didn't know of my experiment said she must have heard the dogs howling. I agreed, sure that must be it.

Another time, on that same road to Nipawin from Cumberland House, to entertain her, I "stole her nose" and then "put it back". Then I threw her "nose" out the window. Not smart. I had to stop the car, turn around and go back and get it before she would stop crying. Her mother was not impressed.

December 31, 1979, Kindersley this time. She was 3 and a half. Put her to bed late, wished her Happy New Year, kissed her goodnight and said, "This is the last kiss you get from me this year". Ooooh, yeah. You can imagine. That took a while to work down to a dull sniffle. Her mother was even less pleased.

But in spite of my best parenting efforts she turned out marvelously well. And by the time the fourth one comes along you realize if you just leave them along and feed them once in a while they turn out well anyhow.

15 comments:

  1. Glad you didn't scar her for life, LOL!

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    1. Debra, her mother gets credit for recuing her and the others from my parenting style.

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  2. Is parenting something that anyone, anywhere ever perfects? I am childless but doubt it. I still remember things which were said to me as a child (and your style and that of my father had quite a bit in common).

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    1. The only perfect parents are old maid school teachers. Kids don't come with instructions. You just wing it all the way. Draw on experience as you go and the experience of others. Lot of things I'd do different if I had it to do over but then the mistakes would be different too.

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  3. Men are prone to some kinds of mistakes that women are not, thankfully, yet women cannot provide all of the good that children get from a loving man. Obviously, it is with you as it is with me in that the older I get, the more past stupidities bother me in idle hours--like when I'm lying in bed. I haven't had children, so I avoided many mistakes that way, but I was a teacher (of kids from eight to ten) for four years. Those kids are now in their upper fifties, yet I am still haunted by the stupid things I said and did. Then there were the various risky things I did in my life, the kinds of things that men do because they are more afraid of NOT doing them and feeling like a coward than of doing them and, perhaps, ending up dead. And so forth.

    I enjoyed this post so much that I seriously doubt whether I've ever enjoyed any post (by anyone) more. While you were raising Bronwyn, you too were growing and changing, and it is obviously the fact that you grew so much that makes these memories bother you now. Yet... a child who cries upon hearing that she's had her last kiss of the year is clearly a child who knows she is loved and takes delight and finds safety in that love. I suspect that what you gave was exactly what Bronwyn needed, not in every detail certainly, but in the overarching tone. I envy her for having had a father like you.

    Don't take this comparison too far, but upon reading this, I thought of the old Johnny Cash song, "A Boy Named Sue," in that perhaps Bronwyn is tougher because of you, and since your sense of humor would have continued when she was beyond her early literalism, maybe she even learned to appreciate laughter more because of you.

    Will you share this post with her?

    ...One more thing. I appreciate your comment to my last post. The man who objected to the post was either the first or second person I met online after starting my blog in 2008. I considered him my friend and found him consistently kindly and reasonable for all the years I knew him, that is until Trump came along, after which he became increasingly rigid, angry and hateful. Trump and Fox News have served to harden and alienate people--on both sides--against one another, but I hope I have not descended so completely into the darkness as have many. Again, thank you.

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    1. I've envied others their fathers but no one ever envied me as a father before. Don't worry the really stupid things I've done will never get posted on this blog.
      The four kids are doing awesome well. Quite smart and with my very dark twisted sense of humour by and large. The oldest bills herself as the queen of sarcasm and the youngest as the empress of the universe of sarcasm. They love to pick on their dad and I love to feed them straight lines to do so.
      Many friendships and worse yet families have been split but Trumpism in Canada as well as USA. I do not know where it will end.

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    2. Snowbrush, my daughter said I may have had fun at her expense but she has more than made up for it making fun of me ever since.

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  4. That's a great short story Al. I think you should submit it to a parenting magazine.

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    1. Great idea but do they still exist? Aren't they all replaced by mommy blogs?

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  5. If those were your worst mistakes with your kids, they're lucky indeed. It seems to me that having children is a perfect way to guarantee that you'll never sleep soundly again. Whether it's crying babies or vomiting school-kids or teenagers staying out too late or adult kids going through the usual life-crap; a parent always has something to worry about. Hooray for you and your wife - shepherding kids into caring adulthood is the best achievement in the world!

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    1. Diane, they were not in the least the worst mistakes I made, just the funnier ones. You are right, parenting is no easy task. No kid ever came with instructions. Parents just blunder onwards and hope for the best. I'm pretty pleased with how ours turned out. Each a Social Justice Warrior in their own way. And amusing themselves at the expense of their father.

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  6. I made quite a few mistakes raising my two boys, can't be helped, everyone makes mistakes, but they both seem to have turned out ok. They're not axe murderers or politicians yet so I must have been doing something right.

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  7. I am still making mistakes into raising a 2nd Generation of Kiddos. The G-Kid Force I've Raised just want me to live long enough for the Youngest to be grown... I'm trying desperately to do that during a deadly Pandemic. Her older Brother, whose Grown now and lives in another State, calls every week to make sure I'm still Alive... it would be comical if he weren't dead Serious about it.

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    1. You are a brave and dedicated woman, Dawn. You will see her raised, I have no doubt.
      When I moved to Ukraine 14 years ago, my kids were on their own already and glad to have me out of their hair. I check in with them on WhatsApp at least once a day so they don't forget me. And they check in with me

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