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Standards

So far, in a little over two years, I have not demonstrated that I am much in the way of good parenting.

I let her eat whatever she wants, I let her watch TV and play video games for far more time then she should, I don’t care about bedtime, or sugar, or white bread with butter on it.

When she doesn’t like something and throws a fit I just sit there staring at her until it is over, if it ever ends. I used to think this was a good parenting technique, teaching them to obey and blah blah blah, but I realize now that she isn’t learning anything by these interactions, and it is just stressing everyone out. But I’ll be damned if I have to go cook a pot of noodles when there is perfectly good dinner in front of her. Dinner she has liked in the past.

I am quick to suggest a timeout, not because I am losing my cool generally but because I have no other ideas how to make the tantrum end.

Most nights driving her home she wants me to sing to her and I do. But it is very common for me to pretend I cannot hear her and I keep listening to whatever I was before.

I never get up with her for her still nightly awakenings. Although I have to throw a lot of shade on her for this one. Whenever I do get up, she screams her head off until her mom comes in.

I never clean up puke, I often refuse diapers, I have only bathed her once because Sam was covered in puke as well. I barely even dress her let alone do something that is sustaining her life.

I try to get on the ground and play her games but most nights I simply cannot handle it. Since she has shown an ability to be taught something by me, probably around 4 months old, I have been buying her educational games and toys and trying to read to her and go over numbers and alphabet and shapes and colors. If I was raising her on my own she would have absolutely zero fun, save for the hours a day she could watch TV or movies.

The big thing is that I don’t feel comfortable with her. The rare occasions that I take her to the store with just me, or I stay home from work to be with her are filled with worry. If she stays low-key, everything is cool, but if she flips out, I have no recourse but to hand her off to someone else.

I hope I never forget the very first day I stayed home with her, she was maybe 3 months old, and all I did all day was feed her, change her diaper, and sit with her in a rocking chair reading and singing and mostly sleeping. She took two naps that day, each approached two hours and I was so relieved.

I stress out constantly about her education. I am in constant fear of day 1 of kindergarten. I have goals for her to reach by then, reading, writing, count to 20 and write the numbers, draw a pretty decent full color rendering of a Georgian mansion and have a minor contributing hand in a Noble Prize.

When she turned 1 I was pushing her into 18 month educational toys, and just a few months later I was buying only things for 2 year olds. Now that she is 2 I am trying to convince my wife to get her started on activity books for 3 year olds, you know, mazes, shape tracing, coloring, numbers, letters. I bought her a puzzle for Christmas this year that was designed for 5 year olds and she can pretty much put it together already, with some slight encouragement from Dad.

And despite all of that, I don’t think she has learned a damn thing from me. And, worse yet, basically all of the values she is learning, being polite, sharing, bedtime rituals, etc, she is picking straight out of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.

I guess letting her watch hours of TV a day is the only thing I’m doing that is working.