Monday, August 28, 2006

The Bad Dad

I wasn’t the best dad this weekend.

There are days that just don’t click, but its amazing how 20 minutes of bad parenting weighs on you for days. We’ve all been there I know, but it still just grates on me because it’s not the dad I want to be.

We went up to the town center this Saturday. It was “movie in the park” night so we thought it would be a great night to be outdoors and run around. The movie wasn't a good fit, given that it was Harry Potter IV, but we thought we’d swing by Ben & Jerry’s and settle into a great evening of ice cream and fathers/son time.

Corey’s in a big stage of testing his independence. We all support this, but it certainly does come with some drawbacks.

We got in line for the ice cream and when asked his choice he said “cacapoopoo.” “We don’t use those words,” I said. “The man wants know what kind of ice cream you want.”

“Coconuts,” he responded. (That’s a word he uses to mean silly or crazy.) “We don’t have coconut,” the poor server replied, not realizing the kid wasn’t being serious.

“We’ll just take chocolate.”

“I want a kiddie cone,” Corey asked. I immediately looked down at his clothes and brand new shoes. “Really? Are you going to make a mess?” (Let me just translate that into parenting speak…brown ice cream, 90 degree day and clean clothes…duh, of course dad.)

I gave in.

First, the kiddie cone has two scoops. Are you guys high? The kid is totally going to knock the top scoop off with his tongue, spiraling into a complete scream fest once it hits the pavement. I volunteered to hold the cone as we navigated the steps. The cone tipped precariously and I corrected him several times until I finally grabbed it and walked outside. We sat on the curb to eat our desserts.

One minute later, he was screeching because the ice cream was dripping on his hands. (Not sure where all this OCD stuff comes from.) He’s licking from the top, nearly pushing the top scoop over. I’m licking from the bottom trying to save my hand from absorbing anymore chocolate.

“Try to lick from bottom,” I asked. With that he stood up, directly into the cone and nailed his shirt and shorts perfectly. The new shoes caught the remainder.

I gave up and lost it. I ordered Larry into the store to get a cup for the remainder and more napkins. I ordered the kid to sit still until we could clean him up and rectify the situation.

The cup and napkins arrived. We cleaned up and got the ice cream organized. As you can imagine, no one was in the mood to eat. The partner was mad, the kid was pouting and I had won at the expense of all. With that a little girl emerged from the ice cream store, covered in chocolate, with her parents just smiling.

My chocolate covered son disciplined at the thought of clean clothes. Not exactly the image that I expected to portray four years ago when I held a two week old.

Sometimes it’s the smaller things that teach you the biggest lessons. I promise, little man, I’ll do better next time.



Anonymous Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

We all have bad moments.

7:42 PM  
Anonymous ShotgunDaddy said...

Been there. In fact, today was not one of my better parenting days. It can be frustrating how the smallest things can seem so important when you're stuck in the moment. The good news, though, is that tomorrow's another day, and there's always more ice cream.

3:15 AM  
Blogger The Brian said...

Oh yeah, I've been there too. The irrationality of children is difficult for little adult mind to completely comprehend.

7:44 AM  
Anonymous David said...

It's a milestone in a child's development when they master the technique of licking fast enough while turning the cone so it doesn't all melt on the other side to the one they're working on. And why can't they just go for vanilla? It would be easier all round.

11:52 AM  
Blogger MotherReader said...

It's okay. Some days things just don't work out. And the kids don't remember them. Please don't beat yourself up about it.

Plus, you learn the little tricks of kids along the way. Single scoop on a cone, but a cup too. Dump the "extra" ice cream in the cup, let the kid lick the remaining half inch from the top of the cone until they get sick of the whole idea and beg for the cup and spoon.

4:18 PM  
Anonymous Richard said...

I don't have kids.... I'm still trying to figure out what you did wrong....

12:22 PM  

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