March 27, 2013

and the best parenting award goes to… nobody

I hate it when I snap at my husband for talking to our son as if he has no idea what we’re saying, and that he’s not a dog that only pays attention to cadence and pitch. He’s old enough that he probably does know exactly what we’re saying and will someday regurgitate choice words for us in all their glory.

I kind of hate it when it seems like I’m more effective at calming our son down. Or getting him to eat. Or whatever. Because it’s just not true. I could be smug at such moments, but I’m not because I hate the idea that somehow my husband might be internalizing some of these moments and assuming his heyday of fathering will come when our son is of a more interacting, active age (you know, walking and talking and itching to build model airplanes).

At every turn, I am reminded just by looking at him that our son needs both of his parents, and different isn’t necessarily wrong when it comes to parenting styles. I see it when he lifts the boy in the air and makes him giggle wildly, or gently tosses him around the bed as if they’re wrestling, or shows the boy his latest art project, or they watch The Simpsons together (the boy’s favorite show, part of his severely limited TV exposure), or even when he convinces him to try eating something that had never occurred to me to feed him.

Who knows, but those moments when I'm cuddling and petting our son  I could be setting my own stage for smothering or over-protecting him as he gets older. I can see that happening since I hear so much about abused children and victims of all kinds of evil. Some days I'm terrified that I'll lose him to some disaster, but I try not to think that way.

There are days when it dawns on me that I might be subconsciously competing for some kind of Best Parenting award. And that’s when I get hen-peckish and I hate it. Lord, help me to see the stick in my eye.